With tomorrow marking the first day of October, I think it’s fair to say that the holiday shopping season is already upon us. Disagree? Take a look at the Google Consumer Survey below that indicates that 30% of consumers will begin their holiday shopping before Halloween – 9% even began their holiday shopping before Labor Day!
When I was contemplating what the most crucial aspect of marketing this holiday season is, mobile seems to be the number one focus. This is because consumers are not only using their mobile devices to shop online, but because they are also using their devices when they shop in-store for comparison shopping, coupon hunting and checking inventory. According to the Google Shopper Marketing Council, Mobile In-Store Research, as many as 84% of shoppers use smartphones as in-store shopping companions, and a third of shoppers turn to their phone for research instead of asking a store employee.
So what’s the most important thing we can do as marketers? Research from Retail Systems Research (see below) says that we must try to provide customers with a consistent experience across all channels. Some ways retailers can do that is by keeping their in-store offers consistent with their online offers, allowing customers to shop online and ship to the store for free, or have a merchandise locator to find where an out-of-stock item may be purchased or shipped from.
Other ways to make your aligned channel holiday shopping experience stronger than online competitors include: price-matching, advanced inventory and distribution management, and cheaper, faster fulfillment options.