Bizrate Insights· Author
The time is now for retailers to put their best foot forward online. The holidays are a time to showcase innovative merchandising and exemplary customer service. Looking at how one’s peers push the envelope can empower every retailer. We will examine how select retailers exemplify the findings from Bizrate Insight’s 2023 holiday survey of 1,000 online shoppers. Remember, there’s still time to accelerate your selling, and if not for the upcoming holidays, there’s always next year.
- Plan for early bird selling
Thirty-four percent of survey respondents suggest they will shop earlier than they did in 2022, knowing that delivery may take longer. 6 in 10 shoppers plan to start their holiday shopping before Cyber-5 activities kick in. It is for these shoppers that early deals can have the most significant impact.
Ulta is undoubtedly ready with up to 40% off early Black Friday Promotions. Note that these offers are available online and in-store, ending less than a week before Thanksgiving.
- Push the Sale Agenda
Shoppers favor sale prices, so pushing sale products early in the season can help hook them in. When asked how shoppers will use the internet/online shopping to power their 2023 holiday shopping, 48% indicated they will monitor retailer offerings to get more gifts on sale. Additionally, when shoppers discussed the most important factors in selecting online retailers, valuable promotions (beyond free shipping) came in at 36%. These two together can add to the importance of a savvy sales strategy.
Knowing that some shoppers will wait to buy until sales start, pre-season sales put shoppers in the buying mood early and hopefully keep them there throughout the entire season. QVC bolsters the savings by giving first-time shoppers $20 off their first order all season long.
- Showcase gift guides early
Timing is everything. Be ready when shoppers are poised to purchase. J.Crew launches its early gift guide just as shoppers begin to replenish their fall wardrobes.
- Test New Tactics
Inspiration is on the menu. Just in time for the heart of the holiday season, retailers are taking their presentations up a notch. This is a fun time of year to look at how savvy retailers decorate their sites for a festive and profitable holiday season.
Target goes the extra mile, inspiring shoppers as they encourage them to explore the top toys in a virtual holiday shop. Shoppers can find this tool as they look to discover top toys by age and budget. Perusing the experience means seeing products in this virtual environment with shoppable rooms that range from Barbie’s Dream Lounge to Bulley’s Top Toys-Wonder Truck. It makes for a more fun shopping journey while still showing shoppers product imagery, information, and, ideally, the buy button.
- Efficiently capture shoppers’ attention
Retailers are vying for shopper attention. Kate Spade encourages shoppers to browse by category to provide a navigational point of entry replete with merchandising. Shoppers can see everything the store has to offer, from best-selling gifts to trending ones. Gifts by price point (including lower-cost stocking stuffers) showcase the best picks for budget-minded shoppers. And just in case they don’t find exactly what they need, the gift card is ready to save the day.
- Embrace individuality with custom gifts
Specialty food is an important holiday gift category for friends, family, and corporate gifting. Garret, a Chicago-based popcorn seller, allows shoppers to build their tins using up to three types of popcorn. One can also select tin sizes and designs along the way. It’s a winning approach. It makes it fun to customize for the gift giver, and recipients get what they like.
- Edit the assortment
Shoppers are often happy to have retailers guide their gifting. No one knows their product better, and aggregating products into merchandising groups is appealing to shoppers. Urban Outfitters pulls together an excellent display of their “Top Picked Gifts for You.” Of course, we all know they might not be the most gifted items, but they can inspire us to make a good selection nonetheless.
- Smart labeling keeps shoppers on-site
In keeping with the theme of shoppers needing advice, Lego cleverly labels products in their holiday shop. They call out exclusives so shoppers know they won’t be able to find the item anywhere else and will be more likely to buy. From a different vantage point, highlighting the hard-to-find items also makes shoppers pause and reconsider spending significant time looking for products not likely to be found elsewhere. These tactics are sure to help drive conversion.
- Make free shipping a bonus
When we asked shoppers about the most important factors they weigh when choosing an online retailer, free shipping topped the list at 75%. Pairing free shipping with other tactics we discuss in this post can only compound the appeal.
- Be logistically-minded
Best Buy moves beyond products to highlight delivery options. In Bizrate Insights 2023 holiday surveys, 48% cited speed of delivery when selecting a retailer.
Taking a cue from our survey respondents, 30% said they plan to use either in-store or curbside pickup. At Best Buy, shoppers can be confident of the brand’s promise that if they choose in-store pickup, it will be ready in an hour, or they can opt for same-day delivery at a nominal fee. They smartly include free shipping with orders over $35, so shoppers are sure to find a delivery option that appeals to them.
- Virtual appointments connect customers to retailers.
Shoppers appreciate retailers who are willing to go the extra mile. One of the positives that came out of COVID-19 was the ability to book a virtual appointment with a retailer. This comes in handy during the holidays when you need extra help to guide your gifting. Retailers know their selection well and can help with suggestions to ensure you make a better choice.
Leverage chat to sell
Not all retailers will be in a position to staff virtual appointments. But most already offer chat functionality and can leverage it to help holiday shoppers. This is where merchandising comes into play. Bath and Bodyworks calls out to customers who might need help and connects them to Nora, their digital assistant. This convenience is hard to beat among time-starved shoppers.
Creative solutions are sure to engage online holiday shoppers. They start with offers that target shoppers early in the season. Using these tactics puts shoppers in a better position to buy. Inspiration and efficiency will always help shoppers achieve their goals. Creativity, editing, and customization are also welcome among shoppers. Strong logistics should not be an afterthought and can be integrated into the shopping experience. Now is the time to make those final tweaks to help ring in holiday sales in the coming months.