The tinsel has been hanging and holiday music playing for some weeks now. However, retailers everywhere are continuing to benefit from a bumper winter holiday shopping season. The US based National Retail Federation reports that sales will be up almost 5% over 2017. When taking into consideration the same increase seen last year, this totals an impressive 10% increase in holiday spending in just 2 years (1). That is a significant boost despite an unstable world economy.

Brick and mortar retailers who employ an omnichannel strategy are again the prime beneficiaries of the boom. So just how can savvy retailers get their stores ready for holiday shoppers?

Buy in one channel - return in another

Selecting gifts is a notoriously difficult job. The NRF calculates that one out of three gift recipients returned at least one item during the holiday season (2). The returns process has been historically tedious for all involved. However, omnichannel strategies come to the rescue and provide a gorgeous opportunity for consumers. Just as products can be purchased via any channel, they can also be returned via any channel.

For example, a purchase may have been made though a website. In the omnichannel world the receiver of the gift can simply return it to the nearest brick and mortar store. The store that accepts the returned item then logs the return transaction in its cloud database and all records are updated in real-time. A painless return for both retailer and consumer.

However, consider what the retailer stands to learn from this transaction. The customer has returned an item purchased via another channel. Does the customer cite a reason for the return? Is this item frequently returned? What channel was used for the purchase? Could there be a lack of clarity in the product description used in that specific channel?

Omnichannel technologies allow the retailer to connect the dots regardless of the channel used for the purchase and return.

Further, statistics show that many people returning an item to a brick and mortar store will purchase an item in the same store. It is well worth investing in the technology to make multi-channel returns possible.

Click and collect culture

NRF estimates that 1 in every 2 consumers will choose to pick up their purchase in store after purchasing online (3). The reason often given for this is the opportunity to avoid shipping costs. Savvy omnichannel retailers look to reap the benefits of this.

Evidence shows that shoppers who come to collect their items from a physical store often also choose to benefit from attachments sales. Retail technologies that enable order management and fulfillment make it possible to provide click and collect services regardless of the channel the consumer chose to click on.

Further, collection from a store means that the consumer will not be subject to anxieties regarding the arrival of items via the postal service, with delays reported in many countries this year because of disputes.

Conclusions

The NRF report calculates that the average expected spending per person during these winter holidays will be more than $1000 (4). Retailers that have chosen to invest in the digitalization of their merchandizing processes will have more satisfied customers before and after the gifts have been given. Shopi retail cloud will help you digitalize processes, orchestrate your orders and make sure you fulfill orders from all channels with the same experience and satisfy return processes from everywhere. Don’t lose time, get your business ready for the next holiday season.