Retail’s busiest time of year is just around the corner. Are you ready for the 2022 holiday season?
While consumers once waited until after Thanksgiving to begin shopping in earnest, their purchasing habits have shifted in recent years. Peak holiday shopping season starts in October, meaning retailers must take action and begin preparing now to meet consumer demands.
Sophelle’s omnichannel retail strategy experts have compiled a list of the top trends we’re tracking to help retailers maximize sales during this critical time.
Here are three predictions for the 2022 retail holiday season.
1. Seasonal Shopping Starts. . . Now!
Inflation in the US is at a 40-year high, and to stay ahead of rising costs, savvy consumers have been searching for holiday sales since the summer. We saw a bit of this “early shopping” trend in 2021 when 50% of consumers reported that they planned to get a head start on their shopping before Thanksgiving—starting as early as July.
Competitive retailers have encouraged this behavior with massive sales events, such as Amazon Prime Day in July and holiday campaigns that roll out mid-September.
Jeff Melton, Senior Consultant at Sophelle, says, “Black Friday will no longer be the ‘day for deals’ for November. I would think of it as ‘Cyber Month’ instead. Retailers must offer weekly and daily deals throughout the entire month to compete and capitalize on the best opportunity to capture the sale.”
Black Friday and Cyber Monday will likely continue to have the most significant promotions of the year, at least for now. Still, we predict that similarly to 2021, retailers will see a very slight decline in year-over-year Thanksgiving weekend sales due to shoppers hitting the stores earlier to snag deals as soon as possible.
Our advice? If your brand has been sitting on a special promotion or holiday campaign—launch it now. Many retailers have also successfully introduced their Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales events in mid-October. Brands that start promotions early will be on track to do well this holiday season.
Brands should also have follow-up campaigns prepared for newly acquired customers and be ready to ready to roll those campaigns out in December. Immediately after the holiday shopping season, the focus should turn to customer retention.
2. Shoppers Love BOPIS and BOPAC Options
Today’s consumers want convenience. Demand for buy online pick up in-store (BOPIS) and buy online pick up at curb (BOPAC) options continues to soar in the protracted COVID-19 era, enabling shoppers to maximize their time, avoid crowds, and save on shipping costs.
These “click and collect” strategies are so successful that Statista predicts sales generated from BOPIS and BOPAC will increase at an annual rate higher than 15% until 2024. Retailers should leverage these strategies to help ensure their success during the holidays.
Part of that success comes from making sure to staff up appropriately. Tammy Mueller, Practice Leader, Store Operations at Sophelle, says, “It’s important for retailers to have a specific process for BOPIS and BOPAC options to improve employee productivity and exceed customer expectations.”
3. Alternative Payments Are on the Rise
Alternative payment options have been growing in popularity over the last few years, but this holiday season, they’ll be table stakes instead of “nice to haves” for retailers. Customers want more buy now, pay later (BNPL) options, which allow them to spread out their spending more evenly over time. In the 2022 back-to-school season, approximately 40% of customers took advantage of BNPL, and that trend is expected to increase for holiday shopping.
Joe Dela Cruz, Executive Vice President, Group Leader, Retail Solutions at Sophelle, says, “Alternative payment spending will increase. The usage of Klarna, Affirm, PayPal’s Pay in 4, and Sezzle are now being accepted by major online retailers, including Amazon, and in-store via virtual credit cards through Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. This trend should result in earlier and increased holiday spending.”
Here’s to a Successful Holiday Season
There’s still time to implement strategies to maximize sales and set your business up for success this holiday season.
Competitive retailers will entice inflation-weary shoppers with early promotions, convenient pickup options, and alternative payment options. Are you ready to jump on these opportunities?
Sophelle’s Practice Leaders have years of experience developing complete omnichannel retail strategies to help brands compete and win during the busy holiday season. Get in touch today to learn more.