Using Omnichannel Ingredients to Perfect the Recipe for Holiday Sales Success
Believe it or not, the holidays are here, and businesses everywhere are getting ready for their biggest season of the year. The National Retail Federation (NRF) expects holiday retail sales in November and December to increase between 3.6 and 4 percent for a total of $678.75 billion to $682 billion, up from $655.8 billion last year. What does that mean? It’s critical for businesses to set themselves up for success so they can get their piece of the proverbial holiday piece. And creating a seamless omnichannel experience is the way to do that.
According to a new study from marketing firm Fluent, and highlighted by Business Insider’s Intelligence team (BI), omnichannel experiences will be absolutely critical to seeing increased sales this holiday season. The study found that seventy-one percent of Americans plan to purchase their gifts in-store, while 47% said they’d shop for those gifts online.
However, perhaps more importantly, 67% said they’ll research products online before buying on either channel. According to BI, “this makes online channels the first touchpoint for reaching shoppers, meaning that if retailers don’t make good impressions via digital, it could affect offline sales.”
So what does a good impression mean? First and foremost, it means having an easy-to-navigate website that keeps the process simple and clean. This 2017 Baymard study found that 1 in 4 shoppers will abandon their cart due to a complicated experience online. Fast-loading times, search capabilities enhanced by artificial intelligence (AI), and listing in-store product availability or facilitating holds online are all necessary or “above and beyond” components that can give a brand they edge they need.
Other notable omnichannel experience retailers need to consider is allowing their shoppers to easily return items whether bought online or in-store. This study found that nearly half of shoppers who receive a gift that was purchased online expect to be able to return it in-store.
While these are just a few of the interesting stats highlighted in this report, Jonathan Camhi, a research analyst for BI Intelligence, listed out his key takeaways from the report:
- “Brick-and-mortar retailers must cut delivery times and costs to meet online shoppers’ expectations of free and fast shipping.”
- “Omnichannel fulfillment services can help retailers achieve that goal while also keeping their stores relevant.”
- “However, few retailers have mastered these services, which has led to increasing shipping costs eating into their profit margins.”
- “In order to optimize costs and realize the full benefits of these omnichannel services, retailers must undertake costly and time-consuming transformations of their logistics, inventory, and store systems and operations.”
So to all the retailers gearing up for the holidays, take the time to think about every touchpoint your customers will notice and appreciate this holiday season, and make whatever adjustments you can to meet their needs. Happy omni-tailing!