Holiday season 2014 is now upon us, and it’s always fun to study what consumers are buying each gift-giving season. The numbers point to more online shopping than ever this year, but that doesn’t mean mean shoppers want to shun the buying experience. They just want a different one.
These days, it’s all about discovery. Browsing online, making a trip to the big box store to feel it with your own hands, going back online to compare prices and making the final purchase. Discovery shopping is a part of a larger idea called omni-channel retailing, a trend that calls for engaging the consumer through all steps of the discovery shopping experience. One part of this experience is showrooming, where customers visit shops before buying online.
Mark Hiller, general manager at Lexmark SA, told IT Web that retailers need to sync their customer service and products across all channels. Potential customers shopping online have questions, just like physical shoppers have questions. They could even be one and the same. It’s about making the shopping experience not only consistent, but personal.
“The reality is the price tag isn’t the only factor that impacts a purchasing decision,” Hiller said. “Trust, ease of use and service level is equally important. If retailers can provide knowledgeable, accessible staff and easy access to goods and services via any channel in a consistent manner, at a competitive price, they can ensure customers will showroom and shop from the same store.”
So, what are consumers purchasing this holiday season?
Just like with the shopping experience, consumers want to know the story behind what they are buying. Right now, online and print media are touting all things local, handmade and organic. Why? Because these items have meaning. If it’s local, the consumer is boosting hometown economy. If it’s handmade, someone took time to craft it and if it’s organic, then it’s helping the environment.
Vintage items, like jewelry, decor and clothing, are also trending. Gadgets, especially those for cooks and athletes, along with mobile devices and gaming consoles continue to dominate consumer holiday trends this year. Unique and offbeat accessories are everywhere this season, from beard baubles to lavish, colored stones.