Holiday shopping news you should know

Every day customers log on to the iBuying website.

By Stephanie Luce, Junior Online Marketing Associate and Erika Bruno, Online Marketing Intern.

It’s late November and Friday is getting closer. Before you jump into your Christmas shopping mode, though, let’s start by assessing the omni-channel trends of this holiday season.

First of all, for online retail, this year is shaping up to be a historic one. If retail sales hit the high end of the estimate, Black Friday could end up surpassing last year’s record-breaking day. And that would make this holiday season the best shopping season on record so far, according to a report by ShopperTrak.

When choosing between online and in-store shopping, people are picking the in-store route by a majority. Last year, 72 percent of Americans shopped online, while only 30 percent of them went to stores, according to a recent Javelin Strategy & Research survey. This year, the same survey found that 73 percent planned to do some holiday shopping online, while 28 percent planned to go to stores.

Shopping trends

Despite the large number of people who say they shop online and spend more on their holiday spending when it’s done online, it’s a small percentage of those who actually make their shopping decisions online. Only 25 percent of online shoppers plan to visit a store when they make a purchase, according to a recent survey by QuoVadis.com.

At the same time, we’re also seeing a thriving e-commerce market worldwide. While mobile shopping accounts for more than 20 percent of all online transactions, the market will continue to grow, with more than 50 percent of shoppers expecting their mobile purchases to increase this year, according to IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark.

For example, international travelers are increasingly using e-commerce services to shop, eMarketer estimates. Since going online in the first place, their habits have changed. Consider that 64 percent of travellers use online research sites while planning their trips, rather than travel agents or tour companies. International travelers are also seeking out items with longer shipping times, with 63 percent searching for products available for immediate delivery.

Another reason why physical stores remain popular is for others to connect with the businesses. 65 percent of customers say that a physical store better integrates with their social media presence, according to a recent report by shopify. So, in order to reach these customers and make it an all-in-one shopping destination, click-and-collect services like Ingo Pickup are becoming more popular.

Due to Christmas falling on a Friday this year, two online sellers specifically cater to that purchase. Both Snapdeal.com and Amazon.in offer 24-hour shipping options as a gift. While more than 41 percent of all online retailers said they’re offering 24-hour shipping this year, Amazon, Snapdeal, and select other platforms seem to be stepping up their game.

While stores like Zara are already making it easier for shoppers to shop for clothes online, Cyber Monday is becoming the day to do it. Now at 23 percent, Black Friday is expected to continue to rank as the largest shopping day of the year.

JCPenney is planning a new online shopping experience

Retailers realize that shoppers’ expectations are evolving rapidly. The answer to this problem? Present online shopping with an online experience. Retailers like Wal-Mart and JCPenney are finding new ways to make online shopping as hassle-free as possible.

Many online retailers are offering product previews, making purchases easier to find. A growing number are going even further to make customers feel as if they are in a store, while others are testing out in-store pickup and grocery shopping options, as well as loyalty programs.

Entertainment stores are also making online shopping easy. Most notably, entertainment retailers are showcasing in-store purchases on their websites in order to simplify the shopping process. For example, BuySeasons has been experimenting with the concept of displaying “wet” apparel and “dry” apparel side-by-side, with both shops on its website.

The upshot

The bottom line is that 2016 is shaping up to be an amazing year for online holiday shopping. Whether it’s through online marketplaces or through brick-and-mortar retailers, there’s no reason for online consumers to feel restricted or frustrated this year. But, before you make your purchase, remember to think about all the options and use some of the tools available to you.

Author provided by iBuying.

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