Consumers across America are seeing green as they dream of digital deals this holiday season. President-elect Trump has armed shoppers with bigger budgets and more confidence thanks to record highs on Wall Street on the view he'll revive the sluggish U.S. economy. Now Americans are poised to spend more with a focus on online platforms. The National Retail Federation estimates holiday sales will grow 3.7% from last year as shoppers dole out $630.05 billion. About $105 billion of that sum is expected to be spent online –which would represent a 6% to 8% increase from 2015.
Often brands do not listen to their customers, which can cause frustration and negative perception about the business. So, a new survey that considers both sides of the brand consumer relationship has got to be worth a look if your business is trying to sell to consumers. Austin, Texas-based promotional media company RetailMeNot has released its 2019 Retailer Playbook looking at trends this year. It asked 200 senior marketers at major retailers and over 5,000 consumers in November 2018 what they considered to be important this year. It uncovered some interesting trends for 2019.
They're forced to compete with shops from around the world that can give customers steep discounts, creating a "race to the bottom" that most retailers can't afford to win. The article calls out the consumer addiction to discounts and touches on the strategies retailers are experimenting with like personalized pricing. It also noted that most merchants simply can't or don't want to compete on price points since offering discounts isn't necessarily the best strategy to engage with customers. The retail experience is equally, if not more important to shoppers than low prices are and can provide more value in the long run. Seeing the customer experience as an ongoing relationship instead of a single transaction is a must for online merchants to attract the fastest-growing retail audience: millennials.
The latest Payments And The Platform Economy Playbook examines how marketplaces are using technologies like AI to innovate the customer experience. Much has been written about artificial intelligence (AI)-powered tools for fraud detection and security. What else can it do, though, especially for online marketplaces? AI is being increasingly focused on visual search and personalization. The popularity of Instagram and Pinterest demonstrates the rise of visual platforms.
With the vast majority of consumers planning to do their holiday shopping in stores, retailers need to be prepared. Shopping in-store is shifting toward the younger shopper, and the gender gap is closing too, as more men plan to shop in stores. Sterling, V.A.,-based cloud-based workforce management platform Natural Insight recently conducted a study to find out where people want to shop this holiday season. It surveyed 1,200 customers in August 2018 to discover who shops in stores, what motivates them, and what stress factors influence their holiday shopping experience. The survey revealed that almost nine out of 10 shoppers (88 percent) still intend to shop in stores this holiday season.