What a year it has been! As we clinked our glasses to the start of 2020, nobody could have predicted the sheer disruption the pandemic would cause. In this article, we highlight five key trends affecting retailers over this Christmas shopping period and beyond.
With many consumers forced to stay at home and unable to visit the high street, we can be sure that many will rely on their digital devices to find Christmas gifts this year. However, laptops and computers will not be the only devices used in the hunt for Christmas gifts, and mobile apps play an increasingly important role when online shopping.
A recent study by Salesforce revealed consumer interest in using mobile shopping apps has increased by 37% compared to last year. “Given that in-app shopping activity skyrocketed during the pandemic in Q2 2020, surpassing the 2019 Q4 rush, we can expect the 2020 holiday season to be one for the record books,” adds AppsFlyer, the mobile attribution and marketing analytics platform used by the world’s leading brands.
With forecasts that mobile shopping transactions will reach $3.36 trillion by 2021, representing an incredible surge from the $1 trillion figure in 2016, retailers need to assess their mobile shopping strategy.
With Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok all developing native ecommerce ‘shops’ and allowing influencers to promote products on posts and live streams with a revenue-share model, “social commerce” is the latest buzzword in the industry and one that retailers cannot ignore.
As Gen Z and millennials accumulate more spending power, retailers are thinking of new ways to leverage influencers to promote their products in a way that feels natural and authentic. Social commerce has opened the floodgates for a brand new form of shopping: today, teenagers can shop for clothes by watching their favourite influencer style different outfits; and purchase natively on the social network with one click.
Per a report by GlobeNewswire, the global market for social commerce is estimated at US$89.4 billion in the year 2020. This is projected to grow to US$604.5 billion by 2027, with China representing the fastest-growing region for social commerce.
Customers will have to plan ahead of time to avoid disappointment this Christmas. Delivery networks were over-stretched from the moment the COVID-19 crisis began as consumers rapidly shifted online to make the purchases they needed. Black Friday and Cyber Monday only accelerated this, and some experts have warned delivery networks could collapse under the weight of online orders this Christmas.
To avoid disappointing customers, retailers have already set the deadlines to ensure deliveries arrive on time, with final dates falling between 2 and 13 days before Christmas. The only shopping platforms that accept same-day and next-day deliveries up until the 24th of December are the two giants, Amazon and Argos, who can lean on their extensive logistics process to ensure they meet delivery deadlines.
As many consumers will shop early this year, brands and retailers will need to engage customers with Christmas deals and marketing efforts earlier than they would have in previous years.
With the high street suffering from lockdown closures, and consumers worried about hygiene and safety, retailers have had to invest in new ways to engage consumers and keep up with the competition. Augmented Reality (AR) has become one of the most adapted solutions, particularly with apparel brands, to maintain the consumer experience and allow consumers the opportunity to ‘try-before-you-buy.’
51% of consumers are willing to embrace AR in their routine, according to a global survey conducted in 2019 by Neilsen, and a study by Shopify has found that products with AR content see up to 94% higher conversion rates than products without AR. We can only expect these numbers to have increased given the impact and restrictions of COVID-19.
To strengthen the relationship with consumers and increase the likelihood they shop with you, it will come as no surprise to retailers that you must invest in a solid marketing strategy.
However, many retailers do not give enough thought to personalising the customer experience, according to Forbes. A recent survey showed 49% of consumers tend to buy from retailers that send them personalised content and offers for this holiday season over retailers that do not.
To win shoppers’ hearts this Christmas, don’t forget to engage them with personalised content and offers designed with them in mind!
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