Holiday Shopping 2019: Brands that go omnichannel will win the season
by Paul Davenport Paul Davenport on

Bargain hunting has become nearly as synonymous with Thanksgiving as turkey and football, thanks in no small part to the rise of omnichannel retail. In fact, a recent study found that consumers who shop both online and in-store over the holiday season are prone to spending twice as much compared to buyers who only leverage a single channel in the leadup to Black Friday.

Still, while shoppers who interacted with brands through digital and physical channels are taking up a larger share of the total holiday spend, omnichannel consumers only made up 10.3 percent of the retail customer base during the 2018 holiday season. But as the share of brick-and-mortar spending dips (1.6 percent drop from 2017 to 2018) at the expense of online merchants (a 1.3 percent year-over-year gain), it’s safe to assume that omnichannel will enjoy an even larger share of the spoils during the 2019 holiday shopping spree.

The growth of e-commerce platforms that help complement the larger omnichannel ecosystem was another trend that gained steam last year and will likely continue to accelerate during the 2019 season. While the gains for physical-first brands that leveraged complementary e-commerce platforms edged up to 8.4 percent of total holiday sales in 2018 (compared with 8.2 percent in 2017), it’s safe to say the gains will be even greater this year as the number of physical-first retail behemoths have shrunk significantly of late compared to years past.

Overall, the study from Cardlytics referenced above found that holiday spending increased 2 percent last year from 2017, and similar growth is expected in 2019. But perhaps the most meaningful stat for established retailers is that repeat customers, on average, drive 70 percent of holiday sales and spend 43 percent more than new customers during the holidays.

A key component of driving brand loyalty is meeting consumers on their terms and interacting with them via the channels they use most. While brick-and-mortar shopping still dominates spending over the holidays, for instance, a separate study has found that 64 percent of in-store sales are influenced by digital interactions.

How do retailers build this digital loyalty that translates into sales? Tactics include building an enticing presence on social media, for instance, while also supporting easy-to-use (if not downright joyful) shopping platforms or apps that buyers will readily turn to versus competing tools.

It’s also a matter of brands effectively and seamlessly connecting their physical and digital touchpoints. This requires teams manage the connections between their various branch locations, warehouse/inventory stores, and the teams managing retail apps and enterprise IT. When all of these stakeholders are aligned, buyers never have to explore other avenues or deviate to a different brand, since they can leverage a number of channels to find exactly what they’re looking for.


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Filed Under: Industry Insights

Tags: online store , online shopping , multichannel retail , multichannel , ecommerce , holiday shopping , holiday season , holiday , thanksgiving , black friday , digital transformation retail , digital transformation , retail , omnichannel retail , omnichannel