50% will finish their holiday shopping before Cyber Monday
parcelLab has recently conducted an in-depth study on how US consumers plan to do their holiday shopping this year. What can this research into consumer behavior tell us about how brands should prepare for the busy holiday season?
Did you know that the term ‘Black Friday’ has been used for over 150 years? In 1869, the term was first used after two Wall Street financiers bought huge amounts of gold in the hopes that it would increase demand and consequently raise profits. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened. Instead, the market collapsed completely, and the plot ended in bankruptcy.
The term was used later to describe the busy post-Thanksgiving shopping season where retailers would go from ‘in the red’ to ‘in the black’, practically overnight. It is around this time that ‘Black Friday’ became a promotional holiday, with retailers using sales to drive customers into their stores. Soon after, ‘Cyber Monday’ was popularized by e-commerce retailers to complement the mostly in-store promotions of Black Friday.
Holiday shopping in 2021
Now, Black Friday is synonymous with holiday shopping across the world. It has become an extended sales season that takes place online and in-store. In fact, the holiday is now sometimes referred to as ‘Black November’, with brands offering promotions throughout the month to maximize sales.
Our research reveals that 1 in 4 (23%) consumers received incorrect items last holiday season and 42% said their packages were delayed - meaning that customers are more prepared for the 2021 holiday season than ever before, to avoid any repeats of their poor experiences from previous years.
With the demand for e-commerce sky-high and growing, most brands now offer promotions both in-store and online throughout November, and the same research found that 50% of US consumers will complete their holiday shopping before Cyber Monday.
Prepare now for the holiday shopping season
So, what does this tell retailers about consumer behavior? In context, it is unsurprising that customers want to get their shopping done early. Significant disruption to the supply chain in the past year has created anxiety for customers. They are concerned about stock availability, delivery times and delays due to increased demand. It seems that customers would rather miss a saving on Cyber Monday than risk a delayed package. Essentially, customers would rather pay more to get a parcel on time.
With this in mind, retailers must do what they can to reassure their customers after checkout. This is the most emotional time for the customer - so it’s important that brands take accountability for the experience they deliver. But, for most brands, there is too much complex data and operational processes to manage in order to own the end-to-end experience of the customer journey.
How Operations Experience Management can support brands
Fortunately, Operations Experience Management platforms, like parcelLab, work with brands to connect the dots of data to translate operational complexity into customer happiness. With total control of every interaction, brands deliver an experience of their own design, within their own ecosystem. They deliver proactive, individualized updates.
For brands, new touch points keep them connected to the customers they’ve worked hard to win. And for people, the customer journey becomes a happy cycle, where they are engaged and ready to buy again.
In an interview with Inc., Tobias Buxhoidt said:
To me, it's clear that we all deserve a better experience after we’ve handed over our money. Customers deserve relevant and accurate updates, proactivity around delays and exceptions as well as experiences that are enriched with embedded content like a video tutorial or how-to guide, anything that will add value.
We monitor both customers expected delivery date and an order as it goes through all operational stages. We identify delays in real-time and alert both brands and customers to this. For customers, this provides peace of mind. They know all updates will be communicated proactively, so they don’t worry. This increases trust in the brand. Customers stay closer to the brand throughout the journey, through proactive touchpoints that improve transparency.
For brands, this means new touch points to build customer relationships and encourage additional purchases, and for customers it means seamless experiences that add value and bring joy. Brands today compete on an experience battleground for attention and loyalty. So, it’s mission critical to improve during fulfilment, shipping, delivery and returns, as 23% of consumers won’t order from you again if they have a negative delivery experience.
Full report coming soon
We will release the full results of our US consumer research, so watch this space. For more information about the upcoming holiday season and our key advice on how to maximize your success, read our guide here. If you have any questions, please contact us or request a demo here.
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