We’ve rounded the corner into Q4 and that means the most wonderful time of the retail year is just about here- holiday shopping season. This season, analysts are projecting over $1.1 trillion in holiday shopping sales. And e-commerce sales, in particular, are expected to grow 18% to nearly $150 billion. Needless to say, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to maximize revenue during this make-or-break time of the year.
The only problem is that all of your competitors are pushing to capture these opportunities, too. If you want to stand out from the crowd, you need to capitalize on the trends that will drive holiday shopping this year.
Getting out ahead of these 4 trends will help you deliver the experiences your customers expect in 2019 holiday season and beyond:
1. Blending Online and In-Store Experiences
If you sell both online and in traditional brick-and-mortar locations, it’s never been more important to blend the experiences together. Research from Adobe found that buy online/pick up in-store programs have grown by 50%, showing that holiday shoppers are increasingly bringing physical locations into their e-commerce shopping.
But this trend isn’t just about giving consumers more options for bridging the gap between e-commerce and in-store shopping. It’s about shoppers wanting to trust that what they buy online is what they’re really receiving. And that all comes down to the consistency of your product information. Providing accurate, consistent product descriptions will ensure you meet customer expectations when they use programs like buy online and pick up in-store or simply do their research and make purchases at the “old fashioned way” brick-and-mortar locations.
2. Treating Every Day Like Black Friday and Cyber Monday
There’s no denying the fact that holiday sales will spike pre-Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. However, the continued growth of e-commerce shopping has made these major shopping days less important than they once were. Now, consumers are treating every day like these shopping holidays and expect your e-commerce experiences to remain consistent.
As retailers focus on building out promotional campaigns for the big holidays, standard e-commerce experiences can fall by the wayside. The result can be inconsistencies in product details and workflow inefficiencies that diminish the customer experience.
Scaling out your product information management processes is essential if you want to deliver Cyber Monday-caliber experiences throughout the entire holiday season.
3. Delivering Experiences That Hinge on Convenience
One survey of holiday shoppers found that 84% of customers believe their shopping experiences are just as important as the products they’re purchasing. But what does that really mean during the holiday shopping season? At such a stressful time of the year, convenience is everything to customer experience.
Consider how convenient the buying process is for your customers. When they switch between channels, are they met with contradictory or confusing product descriptions? Are they receiving information that helps them make purchase decisions? Or, are they seeing overly promotional material that will only increase return rates later?
Your goal should be to make life as easy as possible for your customers. By managing product information efficiently and maintaining accuracy across your entire product portfolio, you can build trust with customers and streamline their purchasing processes.
4. Focusing on the Omnichannel Buying Experience
There’s a major difference between retailers who take a multi-channel approach and those that deliver truly omnichannel experiences. As more and more platforms are introduced, the multi-channel retail trends emerged, telling you to make sure you had a presence on the social media platforms and marketplaces where your customers spend time. Now, there’s a more pressing need to integrate all of those channels.
Research shows that 64% of your customers use multiple channels to make a single transaction. That’s why you need more than just a presence in each channel—you need to facilitate purchases no matter where your customers choose to engage with your brand.
The mistake that many retailers make when building omnichannel experiences is focusing heavily on the channels themselves, and not enough on the product stories they’re publishing. If you can’t deliver complete and consistent product stories in every channel, you risk seeing increased cart abandon rates and return rates this holiday season. And that impacts the bottom line as well as negatively impacting customer experience.
Want to set yourself up for success during the holiday shopping season and beyond? It’s time to embrace product information management (PIM). Download our white paper to learn what a dedicated PIM system can do for your business.