Tomorrow is November 1, and that means that if you aren’t already hawking your holiday wares, you’re late. But don’t worry. MarketLive just published their 2011 Holiday Shopper Survey and it’s loaded with information that will help online retailers see black this holiday season.
83% of those surveyed said they were planning to buy at least some of their gifts online. This is a small rise over last year. One in four said they plan to do most of their shopping online.
Even if they aren’t buying, consumers are using the internet to research products. 61% said they’d use their computers and mobile devices to get the lay of the land before plunking down their hard-earned cash.
Which brings us to saving money. 79% of shoppers said saving was one of the reasons they preferred shopping online. Saving time, the ability to locate hard-to-find items and avoiding crowds also made the list.
Shipping was a key point with 73% saying they like the ease of shipping gifts when you buy online. But that doesn’t mean they’re willing to pay for it. 83% of shopper said that free shipping is the feature most likely to influence their decision to buy.
Marketlive recommends an emphasis on shipping, with clear holiday deadlines and cut-offs for delivery zones. Not only will your customers feel more secure, there’s that added bonus of the ticking clock. Nothing helps a consumer make a decision faster than the knowledge that time is running out.
A similar tactic is the “scarcity play.” Feature hot items along with reminders that it’s better to buy now rather than scramble for those popular gifts later on. This year, 32% of people said they’d be willing to pay full price for the “perfect” gift, up from only 17% a year ago. Proof that great customer service can trump a low, low price.
Finally, for those with a brick and mortar store, Marketlive points out the importance of linking both the “e” and the “brick” sides of the business. Offer buy online, pick up at the store options so customers can save on shipping. And be sure to take full advantage of mobile with constant updates on in-store promotions and events.
Sure shoppers want a bargain, but you don’t have to give your stock away in order to make the sale. Says Marketlive,
There are ways to engage shoppers beyond simply instituting deep discounts. The key is to communicate the value of the brand and the products on offer, during every phase of the holiday season.