After a number of difficult years in the global economy, retailers finally have a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of the 2013 holiday shopping season. According to a recent report issued by retail and business analysis firm Deloitte, shoppers are planning on increasing the amount of spending for the first time since the now-infamous 2008 global economic downturn. While the Deloitte forecasts are specifically for the United States, it's not unreasonable to project these expectations across a broader audience of North American and European retailers.
The best news in the report was directly geared towards e-commerce retailers, as for the very first time since its inclusion in the survey, online shopping became the number one purchase destination for consumers. A whopping 47% of all shoppers said they would be making online purchases for this holiday season, compared with the more typical leader from previous years, discount/value stores, which came in at 44% for this year. The convenience of online shopping was considered the most compelling draw for customers, with 76% of respondents listing it as their main consideration, so retailers should take note and ensure that their infrastructure is capable of scaling to meet increased demand this year. Nothing is more frustrating for customers than having gifts arrive late because of a logistics problem, and unprepared businesses could lose huge profits to the competition if they run into similar snags.
As we've discussed in the past, omni-channel consistency is one of the most important things for companies to implement, and the reasons couldn't be more clear in this report: those customers who bridge the gaps between mobile, online and in-store shopping reported planning to spend as much as 76% more than those who shop in-store only. It's possible that this sales boost alone could allow businesses to quickly recoup the investment costs associated with expanding into multiple channels.
Overall, the picture is generally rosy for retailers across the board for the first time in many years, but retailers, especially those who focus on e-commerce, should note that another critical sales driver for customers is holiday promotions, with 73% of respondents saying it would influence their shopping decisions. Make sure that you stay on top of the discounts and price changes that are typical of the retail holiday season by using a robust price monitoring solution, and you can ensure that your business will have as joyous a holiday season as your satisfied customers!