Some 60% of marketers begin campaigns in September and October when just 24% of shoppers begin holiday shopping, according to a Holiday Shopping Survey from commerce marketing automation company Bronto Software. A bit more than half (53%) of marketers begin holiday campaigns in September or earlier, while about that percentage (52%) of shoppers surveyed say they won’t start holiday shopping till October or November. Millennials are most likely to wait until Black Friday to begin shopping.
Incentives also appear to be misaligned: 38% of shoppers say they won’t shop with a retailer without free shipping offers, but just 28% of all retailers plan to offer free shipping on all purchases, and just 18% of pure-play e-retailers plan to. And while 70% of retailers think “door busters” are excellent tools, only 28% of holiday shoppers appreciate them.
And many marketers appear to misunderstand shoppers plans for mobile. Not even a fifth (19%) of holiday shoppers plan to purchase from a tablet, and 22% from a smartphone. While more than 60% of retailers say they expect shoppers to use their devices to research their return and exchange policies just 19% of shoppers say they’ll do that.
The nerve-racking holiday shopping season leaves little room for error, but retail marketers seem on their way to making a few, according to this survey. The Bronto research shows some serious gaps in understanding holiday shoppers.
It may be difficult to determine how shoppers will actually use their mobile devices in the real world this year. After all, there are more smartphones and more capabilities on those phones than ever. That’s especially true with the increased use and capabilities of mobile wallets from Google and Apple, which can help shoppers access loyalty cards and coupons as well as payment.
“Mobile e-commerce has been growing by double-digit percentages year after year, so as we see this increase in usage and growth, we're also going to see growing demand for apps and technologies that make the mobile shopping experience better,” Ben Wong, VP of marketing at Bindo, told Retail Dive in an email. “So things like more secure payment portals, easier payment methods (tap-to-pay, etc), and more mobile integration into the physical store itself. All of these are things are idea that could be brought together and provided by a proper digital wallet.”
Still, marketers should take care to look at actual shopper expectations, and not just where behavior may have seemed to be going just a few years ago.
“More consumer choices and multi-channel purchasing options have disrupted the traditional timing of holiday shopping,” Jim Davidson, head of research at Bronto, said in a statement. “Retailers must understand when and where their customers are shopping and what promotions resonate with particular demographics. Our research confirmed some assumptions and uncovered a few surprises.”