The National Retail Federation predicts a robust holiday shopping season for 2015 with as much as $630 billion in sales revenue. Consumers plan to spend more time shopping on mobile devices over the entire 2015 winter holidays as stores examine the top trends for another end-of-year experience in stores.
Holiday spending appears to equal the total from 2014, notes the NRF. Consumers should spend $805 per person during the 2015 winter holidays, up slightly from $802 per person spent in 2014. Retail sales should rise 3.7 percent from 2014, a good sign that the economy is in full swing.
Retailers need to realize a few factors driving sales during the last two months of 2015. Price remains a huge consideration for consumers, but sale options that tout time-saving and value also come into play. Stores should consider a gift card with certain purchases, such as those offered by L.L. Bean. Complimentary gift wrapping, price matching, free shipping and a robust rain check system also give shoppers reasons to like one store over another during holiday shopping.
Stores must have their omnichannel presence synced and ready to go. This means consumers who buy online and pick up items at the store should do so seamlessly and with very little extra effort. Any snafus may present problems for revenue streams as 46 percent of shoppers plan to peruse and purchase items online in the 2015 holiday shopping push. Stores should create simple and easy-to-use shipping policies that get items to a store within 24 hours. Best Buy announced in October 2015 that anything ordered online has free shipping, while Crate and Barrel has in-store pickup options on every product page.
Nearly 54 percent of consumers plan to use a smartphone as part of the holiday shopping experience. This means people use the mobile device in-store to comparison shop and to find the best deals. Retailers should thoroughly test any shopping apps and have their best deals ready in case someone finds a less expensive option somewhere else. Stores should place more inventory online so consumers can see what's in the store as they browse.
Black Friday weekend looks to be less impressive during the 2015 holiday shopping season thanks to more ways to shop online. As many as 141 million people took part in Black Friday 2013 promotions, while 134 million participated in 2014. One trend remains among die-hard shoppers who brave the stores the day after Thanksgiving, and that revolves around the purchase of non-gift items. Up to 77 percent of shoppers bought non-gift items in 2014 for Black Friday, which leads retailers to place another emphasis on regular everyday items on sale during Black Friday beyond just consumer electronics and toys.
Retailers can do simple things to make holiday shopping more enjoyable for consumers, employees and shareholders. All stores have to do is expand on their operations from 2014 and note how shoppers use their store to find great deals.
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