Holiday 2015 will be less and less about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, predicts retail price and product intelligence solution provider 360pi. “Traditional ‘must win’ holiday dates will continue to lose relevancy,” opines 360pi in its press release.
“Over the past few years, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have devolved to regular holiday shopping days as an extended promotional frenzy has taken hold,” 360pi noted. “This has led consumers to question the actual best time to purchase. 360pi suggests putting discount plans in place long before and after Black Friday and Cyber Monday to capture the greatest share of shoppers’ minds and wallets.”
- Start campaigns early, RetailMeNot advises. Last year, Nov. 1 was a low point for offer volumes, but a magic shopping date, “with consumer interest in deal seeking trending up more than 20 percent compared to the October 2014 search average. Forty-eight percent of 2014 holiday shoppers completed the majority of their shopping on or before Cyber Monday. Fifty-four percent of shoppers expect retailers’ holiday promotions to begin in October or earlier, and 85 percent expect these deals to begin before Black Friday.”
- Retailers should be aware that bargain shoppers are strategic, RetailMeNot noted. Be ever present. These consumers won’t buy all at once, but they’re “easily persuaded” by free shipping, free gifts or in-store pickup. Retailers selling electronics, for example, may want to note that the average discounts for these products are 38 percent to 40 percent off, so other incentives may help them differentiate their brands during the peak time of Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, through the first week of December.
- Smart retailers will avoid price wars, 360pi says. This refers back to RetailMeNot’s second point: “More exclusives and differentiated products” will help retailers “avoid direct head-to-head price battles.” In addition to offering different colors and sizes, consider offering free shipping. “A recent survey from Pitney Bowes reported that 88 percent of consumers find free shipping with a five- to seven-day delivery window more attractive than paying a fee for a one- to two-day delivery guarantee.”
- Mobile matters more. “Thirteen percent of mobile app users browsed for apparel deals via their phones from October-December 2014,” RetailMeNot reported. Consumers are also using multiple devices to find and evaluate deals before entering stores, where 90 percent of sales still happen. “RetailMeNot data shows that shoppers tend to visit certain retail categories more often on their mobile devices. … [For instance], ‘apparel,’ ‘home and garden’ and ‘multicategory’ are the top three categories shoppers request for more in-store promotional content on the RetailMeNot app.”
- Know and control inventory closely. “Winners will capitalize on competitive out-of -stocks,” 360pi predicted. “With online and mobile information influencing nearly 70 percent of all retail transactions this season, online product availability becomes a key factor in shoppers’ purchase decisions. Now more than ever, retailers must consider the influence and impact that online availability has on offline transactions and store traffic.”
360i suggests retailers take the following actions in-store:
- Connect store associates with online data and insight. “By giving customer-facing employees the tools to be informed on their relative competitive position in real time, including pricing and product availability, winning retailers will better connect with shoppers and garner more holiday sales.”
- Targeted regional pricing will matter. “Several major retailers” are targeting prices down to the ZIP code, “often to capitalize on a physical store footprint that offers shoppers immediate gratification. Online product intelligence with zone (or regional) insights into competitive pricing and product availability lets winning retailers offer the ‘right product’ at the ‘right price’ for the local market.”