Although retailers can count on a general increase in sales over the holiday season, the nuances of consumer shopping habits can offer useful insights for retailers. Consider the following three most important statistics from recent studies and surveys, with action-guiding retail takeaways.
- Mobile use is up
According to research from Google and Ipsos MediaCT, 52 percent of online smartphone shoppers used their phones throughout the shopping process during the 2013 holidays. This includes actually making the purchase online as well as using mobile devices in-store to compare prices and read reviews.
Takeaway: Now is the time to optimize your mobile presence with user-friendly purchasing platforms and improved customer service, particularly via social media.
- Longer store hours are the norm
Black Friday isn’t quite so literal anymore, as major retailers like Walmart, Kmart, Target, and Macy’s all plan to start their seasonal sales as early as Thanksgiving Day. Though there’s been some pushback against this controversial choice, retailers state that their decision is in response to last year’s high consumer demand.
Takeaway: Although staying open longer hours would improve your store’s competitive standing, another strategy retailers are using is beginning sales even earlier.
- New payment methods emerge
New payment apps like Apple Pay and Google Wallet are starting to gain popularity among shoppers, and are accepted by some of the most prominent retailers in the country. Still, a recent Bankrate.com survey found that 38 percent of in-store shoppers plan on paying with good old-fashioned cash, while 34 percent will use debit cards and 24 percent credit cards. Among millennials, only 11 percent planned on using credit cards.
Takeaway: Accommodating payment apps should be on the horizon for retailers, but you can rest assured that consumers this year overwhelmingly prefer more traditional methods.
Remember that since crime increases over the holiday season, you’ll want to update your security system as you make changes to ensure a safe and profitable shopping experience for you and your customers.