eCommerce Smudging The Holiday Shopping Seasons Former Retail LusterEvery year, the holiday shopping season loses a little more of its fabled retail luster. That’s according to a growing number of retail and ecommerce industry analysts who believe that the bargain-rich holiday shopping experiences of old no longer exist today.
Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at The NPD Group, says consumers can “get good deals all year long if you do a little homework.” In other words, the holiday shopping season is no longer the “perfect time” for consumers to get the best deals imaginable on clothes, electronics, toys, and digital media. Instead, it’s simply the one time of year that brick-and-mortar retailers come a little closer to matching the superior product pricing available to online shoppers year-round.
If anything, the convenience and affordability of online shopping are making life harder than ever for traditional retailers without an electronic storefront. Increasingly, says tech blogger and business analyst Mike Randazzo, ecommerce is “spoiling” consumers with efficient shopping experiences that aren’t as easy to come by in the brick-and-mortar realm of retail.
“It’s an interesting dichotomy playing out in retail today,” says Randazzo, “you’re going to see record retail revenue this holiday season but a calmer and less frenetic retail scene. To the casual observer, it’s going to look like things are ‘slow,’ but that’s just the illusion created by the evolution of ecommerce.”
But ecommerce will only continue to flourish if online retailers simultaneously continue to step up their game.
eCommerce Smudging The Holiday Shopping Seasons Former Retail Luster
The findings of a recent comScore/UPS study point to key consumer insights regarding elements of the online shopping experience that drive lasting brand preference, customer loyalty and the type of social chatter that equates to modern digital word-of-mouth recommendations.
Nicolas Dorget, vice president of customer solutions for UPS Canada, says the study highlights the critical three Cs of today’s retail online customer experience – channels, choices and convenience.
“Retailers can win shoppers over by providing a consistent and positive omnichannel experience,” Dorget explains. “From mobile apps to social media platforms, today’s consumers value – and even expect – services to work together across the entire shopping continuum from pre-purchase to post-purchase.”
The hugely attractive advantages unique to ecommerce are essentially ending the holiday shopping experience as we once knew it.
While this may come as a disappointment for those who enjoy the bustling crowds and holiday cheer – though they are rarely found in tandem – market analysts and retail experts say that ecommerce has and will continue to profoundly change the retail holiday season until it’s no longer recognizable.
“There is very little that most retailers can do during the holidays that will top or even competitively challenge the prices consumers can find any time of year,” Randazzo sales. “These ‘holiday sales’ are really just everyday prices online.”
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles, marin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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