Retailers can feel good about the 2019 holiday shopping season. Even with the anticipated growth in online sales, predictions based on a number of consumer surveys all seem to be saying the same thing: shoppers want the person-to-person, in-store experience.
According to the 13th Annual Holiday Shopping Survey from Accenture, which surveyed 1,500 US consumers across the country, a national average of 72% compared to 65% of shoppers plan to do their holiday shopping in-store versus online. In a phone interview with Fortune Magazine, Jill Standish, senior managing director and head of Accenture’s global retail practice, said that “54% of shoppers reported that they get inspiration from browsing in the stores.”
The National Retail Federation has online shopping at 56% and only slightly ahead of department store shopping at 53%, which is really good for brick and mortars. According to the NRF report, an additional 51% will shop at discount stores, 44% at grocery stores/supermarkets, 34% at clothing stores, 23% at electronics stores, as well as 23% at local businesses, and between 17% and 4% at a variety of other retail destinations. Katherine Cullen, senior director of industry and consumer insights for the National Retail Federation’s research team, says that “People are spreading out their shopping across different destinations. They don’t necessarily distinguish between in-store and online.” Among the online shoppers surveyed, 73% plan to research or make a purchase using their smartphone or tablet.
Standish stated that while “having a strong online proposition has become table stakes, physical stores will still play an important role in the future.” The First Insight Report, that was released earlier this year, indicates that shoppers actually tend to spend more in-store than they do online. Online retailers have opened up physical stores to take advantage of this to attract more sales. The most noteworthy is Amazon. Its Amazon Go stores feature “Just Walk Out Technology” that uses a combination of deep learning, overhead cameras, and sensors to detect what customers put in their virtual carts and then charges their online Amazon account. But increased sales are not the only reason for the physical stores. Beauty brand Glossier, that developed its cult-status through social media, created physical spaces to strengthen brand loyalty and connections with its brand ambassadors.
Consumers Choosing Brick and Mortar Stores to Avoid “Porch Pirates”
In addition to finding inspiration through the sensual experience of touching, seeing and smelling items, consumers are returning to brick-and-mortar stores to avoid having their delivered packages stolen by individuals known as “porch pirates.” Remember Mark Rober’s glitter package video, where he punished thieves who stole packages from his porch by setting off a glitter bomb when the packages were opened? With 14% to 30% of respondents reported having been a victim of “porch pirates,” a national average of 79% of consumers, according to Accenture’s survey, said they were taking steps to combat these thefts.
Buy Online Pick-Up in Store (BOPIS)
Many retailers, like Bed, Bath & Beyond, Kohl’s, Walmart and Target, to name a few, offer consumers the option to buy online but pick up their purchases in the store. BPOIS programs are mutually beneficial to the retailer and the consumer. Retailers have the opportunity to build customer loyalty and to sell more items to the shopper who comes to pick up his purchases. Some stores, like Macy’s, offer a 15% – 20% savings coupon for in-store pick-ups. Consumers, on the other hand, benefit not only from in-store pick-up discount incentives but they don’t have to wait in a check-out line to make their purchase, they don’t have to wait for delivery, and they avoid delivery theft.
There are six fewer holiday shopping days this year and Standish cautions retailers to plan their holiday strategy carefully. “With creativity and ingenuity around the store footprint, retailers have an opportunity to leverage the surge in holiday foot traffic not only to increase holiday revenues but also to find those special customers who will be the loyal ones they depend on all year.”
Infographics courtesy of Accenture.com – 2019 Annual Holiday Local Shopping Survey.
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