As the holiday season begins to come into view—Black Friday is only a few months away, if you can believe it—I’ve been thinking about what trends and activities could impact the shopping experience later this year.
Before Domo, I worked at Target for 13 years and in the retail industry for 16 years. Between what I learned over that period, and what I’ve taken away from events such as NRF Big Show, I’ve arrived at seven predictions for retail’s busiest time of year.
Prediction #1 – Experiential Treatment Will Drive Traffic
Committing capital to improve the in-store experience through store remodels and refurbishment is expensive but has proven to be effective. It’s consistently driving more traffic to stores, where there’s tremendous opportunity to upsell the consumer. When retailers can drive incremental traffic year-over-year and increase basket size, they’ve got a winning formula.
Prediction #2 – Retailers Will Become More Nimble in How They Deliver to the Customer
In other words, how, when and where customers want to receive their purchase will impact retailers’ approaches to fulfillment. A few methods shoppers can expect to see more of:
- BOPUS – A few years ago, retailers dipped their toes in the water with BOPUS (Buy Online, Pick Up in Store). That’s where the customer secures an item online, then picks it up in the store. It’s great for the customer because they secure the items they want/need and don’t have to navigate the store to get those items. And it’s great for the retailer because a customer still makes a trip to the store and inevitably buys more than just the items they ordered online. So, both parties win.
- Same-Day Shipping – A lot of retailers are now offering same-day shipping, or same-day delivery. They’re processing an online order and having a third party—whose core offering is to physically take an item or items to a buyer—get it to the customer within a few hours of ordering it. Amazing.
- Back Rooms as Distribution Centers – Retailers with a brick-and-mortar presence have become really clever in how they use their physical stores and inventory within those stores. Fulfilling online orders from a traditional fulfillment center is no longer the norm. Retailers now use most of the back rooms in their network to not only fill the sales floor but to ship directly to the customer for the rapidly increasing online business. This achieves a few key objectives including leveling the playing field with Amazon.
- Curbside Pick-Up – Retailers realize that customers are taking on a lot these days. Americans are busier than ever and often have an overwhelming amount of things to juggle in their daily lives. Often times, we just can’t make the time to go into a store and indulge in the full shopping experience. We need somebody to bring the item out to us, or we just won’t bother. This is ramping up in the marketplace, and I think we’re going to see more of it this holiday season.
For the remainder of my retail predictions for the 2019 holiday season, click here.