Despite excessive use of the phrase “in these uncertain times” last year, there was no question that consumers would be making the majority of their holiday gift purchases online. But uncertainty has turned out to be the theme for retailers this year. Last year, retailers questioned whether people would be buying gifts at all. Ironically, recent consumer spending trends suggest shoppers will not hold back this holiday season.
Between the emergence of the delta variant, a volatile supply chain, a historic labor shortage and higher-than-ever consumer expectations, many retailers understandably struggle to prioritize preparation efforts as the holiday season looms in the not-so-distant future.
Here are a few educated guesses on what’s to come, based on quite a few years in the industry, as well as ways retailers can leverage technology to set themselves up for success — both this year and in more certain times ahead.
“In-store pick-up” will become the new “next-day shipping.”
The significant uptick in online shopping, paired with a historic labor shortage, means that providing the convenient fast and free shipping consumers have grown accustomed to may be an impossibility. In that case, buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS), also known as “click-and-collect,” is the next best option. This shopping channel skyrocketed in popularity in 2020, with 65% of retailers now offering the service compared with just 52% in 2019. An astounding 75% of respondents to a recent Bizrate Insights survey reported completing at least one BOPIS transaction in the first half of this year.
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