Pop Those Tags! Holiday Shopping Season is On

Have you finished ⎼ or even started ⎼ your holiday shopping? If you are like the majority of U.S. consumers (57%), odds are you won’t finish until sometime in December. But, procrastination is good for your pocketbook according to Deloitte’s 2018 holiday retail survey results. Why? Procrastinators don’t spend nearly as much. In fact, late shoppers on average spend $370 less than their early bird counterparts.  

With Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday only a few days away, the shopping season is just beginning for a lot of people. According to RetailMeNot’s 2018 Holiday Insights, American consumers will spend an average of $803 on holiday shopping over the extended weekend—a nice bump from the $743 average in 2017 or the $505 average spent in 2016.

Capturing the Consumer

Forbes reports that millennials are quickly becoming the most important consumers encountered by most businesses, with a spending power that is worth more than $10 trillion over their lifetimes. It’s no surprise that retailers are focusing on millennials more than other groups, and businesses are reaching them where at least 88% of them spend a lot of time: social media. And with improved access to data and analytics, businesses can hyper-target millennials.

RetailMeNot reports the majority (93%) of millennials are looking for deals, and not just online. In fact, millennials are more likely to visit brick and mortar stores than baby boomers or Gen X.  

But price isn’t everything. More so than any other generation, millennials prefer to shop (and ultimately spend more) with businesses who provide an exceptional customer experience.

The refined experience they desire is the direct result of providing quality customer service. And this happens only when you have enough trained staff in place—whether that’s seasonal or year-round.  

Meeting the Online Boom

Although e-commerce has yet to accomplish the pure dominance many predict, its presence is definitely changing the landscape.  

The Deloitte survey results show that 77% of consumers turn to online shopping because of the convenience. And, as RetailMeNot found, retailers are well aware of the growing trend—and it’s shaping their approach. More than half—54% to be exact—say that capturing sales on Cyber Monday is more important to their companies than attracting the traditional Black Friday business.

And with the fever pitch of Black Friday, accurate shipments, including timely home delivery, are top drivers for online sales—putting an increased emphasis on warehouse and home delivery staffing.

Gaining Steam

Unlike the other shopping holidays, Small Business Saturday spotlights the local business rather than the national big box business. As American Express reports, consumers in the U.S. are spending an estimated $85 billion at local, independent retailers and restaurants since its 2010 inception.

What’s more, 90% of consumers surveyed said Small Business Saturday has had a positive impact on their community. This rings true to millennials. As Forbes reports, millennials are driven by their desire to give back. For instance, 84% of millennial employees gave to charity and 70% of them donated more than an hour to a charitable cause.

In 2017, data show that 70% of U.S. consumers were aware of the newest shopping holiday, and 58% said they shopped or dined at more than one independently owned business. And interestingly, support for small businesses went beyond brick-and-mortar with 35% saying they shopped with a local, independent business online as well.

Again, the customer experience plays a pivotal role in attracting consumers to the independent business. And great customer experience depends on great staff.

Big box, online, and small biz… are you ready for the rush?

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