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Retail Holiday 2021: 6 Key Trends and Insights

It's hard to believe it's that time of year again – Holiday Season! This year, retail brands have been navigating through the shifting buyer behavior that they will incorporate into their holiday plans. In 2021, we have observed many inquiries on retail trends as it has taken center stage as the revenue driver for brands.

This blog will explore the key trends with massive growth potential to consider.

A New Approach for the Early Seasonal Shopper

Last year has been a reminder for us that people can adapt to any situation, and technology helps do it faster. In the face of disruptions, customers adopted new behaviors that have shaken the entire world of retail trends in a couple of months.

In 2021, when a customer is making a buying decision, they aren't bothered about channels, touchpoints, and purchasing paths. Instead, the modern customer is more interested in brands that add value to their lives. This could be free content, relevant and exciting ads, a seamless omnichannel experience, expedited shipping, and privacy over their personal information.

However, a bounce back to the old trends isn't likely in the works. For instance, global chains are currently in shambles, which denotes a strain in shipping routes, ports, and factories. This will only complicate the shipping delays and stock-outs as shoppers place last moment gift orders. Deloitte's latest survey says that 43% in Denver are concerned about not finding the gifts they want because of the supply chain disruption.

Pro tip: Save yourself the holiday heartache by getting your gift orders soon. Brands are expecting weeks or months of delays right now.

Top Retail Trends for the Peak Season

As we embark upon this year's holiday season, the question will be - will the holidays return to normal ever again?

Well, a few of the trends seem to be heading our way. While we have aided overall average spending around health and wellbeing, there will be a surge in in-store shopping and more spending on experiences. However, we are still optimistic that people are ready to embrace the holidays again and are eager to find better opportunities. Let's have a look at the key findings -

Maximize an Omnichannel Approach for Holiday Shopping Success

Customers are blending the best of online and in-store to create their ideal hybrid shopping experience. People explore products on their phone, research online at their desktop, check out products in store, etc. Hence, it is crucial to create a seamless omnichannel offering. Nielson says omnichannel shopping in the US has grown by 50% since the last year.

A solid omnichannel approach can immensely help drive your customer lifetime value (CLV) while also maximizing your physical store and digital presence to win in a cutthroat retail marketplace this holiday. But why is this approach so successful? Here are the reasons -

  • Consumer retention is 90% higher for omnichannel vs. single channel

  • 98% of Americans keep on switching between devices every day.

  • Retailers using three or multiple channels for one campaign earned a 287% higher buyout rate than brands that used a single-channel drive.

  • 75% of shoppers have admitted using several channels to find good deals, compare prices, or utilize in-store tablets to shop online.

  • HBR says omnichannel consumers will always spend 4% more on every shopping trip and 10% more than one channel consumers.

Help Holiday Shoppers to Tap into Online Discovery + Context

Creating digital ads – discovery aides – that help customers decide what to buy based on what they are likely to love (thanks to context clues and audience groups, for example) is crucial for success. Maximizing contextual targeting and context-driven optimization will ensure your ads and content find your target shoppers. Make your consumers' holiday shopping job easier. Don't just meet them at their needs; anticipate them.

87% of the customers think it's essential to buy from retailers that genuinely understand "the real me". Therefore, personalized experiences are significant whenever someone interacts with a brand. Because it creates the ultimate façade of the brand by putting the most relevant message at the right time at the right place.

Discovery ads are great for creating retargeting pools and products in the carousels to decrease conversion paths. Thus, brands are going to make informed decisions and improve the CX.

Customers Will Keep Using BOPIS

Since last year, health and safety concerns forced brands to provide a click-and-collect option like BOPIS and curbside pickup. Surprisingly, even with the quarantine being lifted, this trend hasn't decreased. As a result, the YOY growth rate for click-and-collect will be upward of 10% this year.

Throughout last year, shoppers chose BOPIS shopping and contactless pickup. With delayed deliveries, BOPIS shopping has become the most preferred option that offers the ease of ecommerce with a personalized experience. Beyond the comfort and gratification of this shopping, many customers supported their local small businesses while also reducing unnecessary wastage. It is an excellent option for both retailers and shoppers.

Brands need to embrace a dynamic and rapidly shifting landscape to stay relevant by incorporating such options. Given the increasing popularity among customers, it should come as no surprise that BOPIS will be the game-changer for this holiday season.

Social Commerce is Impacting Retailers Now More Than Ever

Most customers experience difficulty deciding what to buy for others, showcasing the need for discovery aides—especially during the holidays. Of those who explored something online last season, 45% of shoppers said it was a gift for someone.

This concept of online discovery is nothing new, but the way it happens is evolving. Many are turning to social media apps, especially for personalized recommendations, one of the top retail trends. Some of the essential statistics that showcases the popularity are -

To help brands leverage their promotional efforts, Instagram has launched a new guide focusing on the usage of Instagram's shops and key eCommerce features. This guide provides a range of insights and tips on shopping tags, ads, product details, and more. By taking advantage of these features on social media, retailers can bring their products closer to the potential audience while building excellent brand awareness. Done right, social commerce can help in increasing a loyal customer base and boosting growth for the brand.

Roles of Stores & Digital Are Evolving

Since last year we saw a significant decrease in in-store shopping as it became more intent-based and transactional. Alternatively, online shopping became more immersive, with people looking to mimic much of the in-store experience at home. Think about augmented reality try-ons, styling and how-to videos, and personalized curations. It is now crucial to offer a convenient and seamless experience that brings the store experience in this hybrid reality.

Although customers spend less time in stores, they browse more on their mobile, researching, finding, and planning their purchases. Hence, the in-store roles of discovery and exploration have shifted online increasingly. Most savvy brands are adjusting to this change by improving their app or online experience.

For example, Swedish home furnishing retailer IKEA has launched a unique feature in its app, and it enables shoppers to visualize a realistically rendered 3D product in their houses. Live commerce has also become popular as it lets consumers shop via live streams and see product demonstrations in real-time.

The Rise of the Digital Gift

With maximum people shopping online and looking for ways to buy unique gifts without any hassle, there is a rise in digital gift options such as gift cards. Since last year, the sale of digital gift cards has increased by over 106.1%. The trend became popular as consumers steadily shifted from paper vouchers to digital ones. Brands that haven't explored them yet would be wise enough to take a look.

As consumers rely on their mobiles, they become more reliant on digital payments and expect retailers to accept them. This has created a particular revenue stream for retailers and brands by expanding the assortment of products available on gift cards.

Throughout the last year, digital gifts have generated a major portion of retail's overall revenue. For instance, Singapore-based digital gifting platform Giftano saw a whopping 350% surge in the number of gifts purchased by consumers. Because of the rapid growth of the digital gift industry, stores are getting ready by equipping themselves with sufficient options to provide the shoppers. These retail trends also indicate that gen z consumers are more likely to buy more due to the comfort of purchasing online without any hassle of delivery.

Wrapping Up

In 2021, holiday shopping is gearing up to be an exciting one. We believe the lessons learned from last year about business agility will position the retail industry for another successful holiday season.

To help your brand create the right momentum for people during the peak holiday season, schedule a call to know more.