BFCM marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season, and retailers are looking for the best way to capitalize on the busiest shopping season of the year. The BFCM sales rush shouldn’t be the only goal of your holiday marketing strategy. With the proper planning and strategy, you can maintain peak Q4 sales throughout the month of December and keep that success going into Q1.
Adjusting to post-pandemic consumer expectations and changes in the technological landscape over the past couple years, is vital for a business to successfully navigate the holiday shopping season this year. With that said, here are the top trends influencing holiday shopping this year.
Experiencing an uptick in returns after BFCM is relatively unavoidable. In fact, approximately 1 in every 3 shoppers return what they buy on Black Friday. Manage your return rate by using high quality images, providing thorough and accurate product descriptions and implementing a size guide. However, when returns do occur, they provide the opportunity to exemplify great customer service and leave a lasting positive impression. Providing a seamless return process and after-sale support will encourage customers to revisit in future, potentially turning a one-time BFCM sale into a life-long customer. eCommerce businesses should consider extending their typical return window until after the holiday season is over. Additionally, having to pay for return shipping can deter customers from making a purchase. Therefore it is optimal to offer free returns or BORIS (buy online, return in-store), when possible.
For businesses that offer both online and in-store shopping, consumers expect a seamless connection between the online and in-person shopping experience. Consumers are increasingly using multiple channels to enhance their shopping experience, such as online product research, price comparisons, and opting for omnichannel fulfilment options like buy online and pick up in-store (BOPIS) or curbside pick-up. To enable growth and success in a highly competitive retail environment, businesses must adapt to consumer preferences by offering more fulfilment options like BOPIS or curbside pick-up. These pick-up options are particularly important during the later half of the holiday season, as shipping times become the deciding factor for many customers.
Thanks to social media platforms, such as TikTok, promotion through short form video content has gained immense popularity among business owners over the past couple of years. With over 1 billion monthly active users, TikTok has become a powerful tool for brand and product discovery. According to Hootsuite, 67% of users say TikTok inspires them to shop, and 73% of users report feeling more connected to the companies they interact with on the platform. Ecommerce brands can capitalize on TikTok’s powerful organic reach and viral hashtags to interact with an engaged audience, without competing for the limited and expensive ad space available during the holiday season. TikTok is also a great platform to continue engaging and cultivating a relationship with customers who may have discovered your brand during BFCM or the holidays.
As mentioned above, more consumers are discovering brands and products on social media. As a result, social commerce has also grown exponentially. Social commerce enables customers to browse and purchase products directly from their favourite social media apps. According to Statista, more than 55 percent of social media users in the United States aged 18 to 24 made at least one purchase through social media in 2021, and this trend is expected to continue. Social commerce offers the opportunity for eCommerce companies to connect with shoppers while they’re already browsing and hunting for other promotions. Use social media to showcase your best sellers and seasonal specials.
Customers are no longer satisfied with payment options being limited to only credit and debit. With tighter consumer spending this holiday season, enabling your customers to defer payments via a Buy Now, Pay Later plan could be the deciding factor in them choosing your brand over another. In fact, retailers offering BNPL options see a 2.1% higher conversion rate than those that don’t.
With consumers looking to cut back on frivolous spending this holiday season, shipping costs will likely play a large role in consumer purchasing decisions. Shopify’s Future of Commerce of Study, found 59% of consumers believe free shipping is the key to a positive online shopping experience. Implementing a free-shipping threshold will help offset costs and prevent free shipping from drastically impacting your profit margins.
Get expert eCommerce insights sent to your inbox every week.
The Locker Room