Retail spending is set to hit a new high this festive season. But research has found that store-based retailers will very likely miss out on a large portion of those sales. That’s why it’s important that retailers learn to embrace omni-channel marketing this festive season.

Shopping to increase this festive season

Holiday spending is expected to increase 10 percent compared to last year, largely on online channels, according to PwC's Holiday Outlook survey. The reason for the decline in store-based shopping was attributed to consumer’s preference for buying and receiving gifts of travel and entertainment. However, there is a silver lining. Digital sales are expected to increase by 25 percent with shoppers increasingly choosing to use their smartphones to make purchases.

Some findings of the survey include that customers are used to the hassle free process of checking out online. Customers want a similar, fast and simple checking out experience while in stores. They also want Wi-Fi access in stores so they can check the availability and prices. Knowledgeable sales associates in stores to assist in finding products and explaining features are an added bonus.

“Some 60 percent of retailers indicated they will provide both free shipping and free returns this holiday season – a must-have for consumers. Retailers are offering a variety of online and in-store ordering and delivery (or pick-up) options to provide the optimum mix of convenience, price, speed, and variety.”

Using omni-channel marketing in big ways

A number of retailers are using this festive season to try out new strategies for implementing omni-channel. One such idea is by US-based retailer Crate and Barrel. It’s using tablets in store so customers can email details about products they like, but aren’t in stock, to themselves. The store is then able to retarget people using banner ads to remind customers of the items they liked. The decor store attributes a 10 percent sales increase to the 2-month-old test.

Quick wins for this festive season

The festive season is just around the corner, so while there are a number of fancy measures you could take to improve your marketing strategies for next year, there’s only so much you can do now. Here are some examples:

  • Install Wi-Fi in store.
  • Ensure staff are fully trained and can answer questions about products and availability.
  • Offer free shipping and returns over the festive shopping period.
  • Ensure customers can easily switch from mobile to tablet or desktop without losing information or preferences.

If you’d like to learn more about why omni-channel marketing works best, read our recent blog post which explains three specific reasons why you should embrace this strategy.

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