The pandemic-influenced ecommerce boom is quickly transitioning into the 2020 holiday season of online revenue growth. Even with the uncertainty so many consumers are facing, the holidays remain an exciting time for gift giving, and consumers are browsing online sites with the intent to purchase. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), this year, consumers expect to spend roughly $998 on “gifts, holiday items such as decorations and food, and additional ‘non-gift’ purchases for themselves and their families.”
As more holiday predictions begin rolling in, a rise in ecommerce transactions looks to be at the top of many charts for what to expect. “With worries around product availability and health concerns heavily impacting the in-store shopping experience, consumers are more likely to shop online for gifts this season — and they are starting earlier than in previous years,” said Brian Walker, chief strategy officer of Bloomreach.
New Reports Hint At Significant Spike In Ecommerce Holiday Sales
Traditional brick-and-mortar retailers were hit hard amidst the pandemic, leading many businesses to invest in strong online presences in order to reach consumers. The positive results of expanding ecommerce offerings became clear early on for many retailers. During the first two quarters of 2020, stores like Ulta, Macy’s and Kohl’s experienced dramatic spikes in their ecommerce revenue, rising roughly 200%, 53% and 60% respectively. The International Council of Shopping Centers predicts a 25% rise in ecommerce sales in 2020.
Now entering into the last months of 2020 and the highly anticipated holiday shopping season, new data shows that the surge in ecommerce transactions will continue. ACI Worldwide data recently revealed that, in September alone, global ecommerce transactions rose 21% year over year (YOY). Among the top-performing areas were gaming and retail, experiencing 71% and 45% ecommerce sales increases.
Further data from ACI Worldwide projected a 27% rise in global ecommerce transactions throughout the holiday shopping season (October-December). In a similar vein, NRF shared that this year, 60% of consumers expect to buy their holiday-related items entirely online, while Deloitte shared it expects “holiday ecommerce sales to surge by 25% to 35% this season.”
BOPIS, Free Shipping & Related Offerings Will Help Drive Ecommerce Sales During The Holidays
As a natural result of increased online shopping, consumers are also taking advantage of brands’ seamless and safe purchase offerings, like the buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) model, free shipping, curbside pick-up and more. According to the NRF, 91% of online shoppers expect to use free shipping offerings, 44% will rely on the BOPIS option and 16% will take advantage of same-day delivery. Data from ACI Worldwide revealed an anticipated 40% spike in consumers utilizing the BOPIS model throughout the holiday shopping season.
Debbie Guerra, executive vice president of ACI Worldwide, credits the emergence of options like BOPIS to brands’ ability to reach wider audiences and improve the overall “buying journey experience.” Guerra stated, “The accelerated use of digital payment channels due to the pandemic has resulted in both cross-channel journeys such as BOPIS as well as the blurring of the channels themselves — such as the usage of mobile devices and mobile check-out inside physical stores.”
Major retailers have already responded to consumers’ increased demand for these convenient purchase options during the holiday season. Recently, Target announced its plans to hire 130,000 seasonal employees, specifically doubling the amount of employees it has working its “Drive Up” and “Order Pick Up” offerings. MarketingDive reporter Kaarin Vembar notes that Target is also preparing employees to “support omnichannel services,” which saw a 273% spike in Q2 2020. Similarly, Walmart shared plans to hire 20,000 seasonal employees in preparation for increased demand surrounding its “ecommerce fulfillment efforts.”
Retailers & Brands Should Invest In Strong Ecommerce Presences & Fulfillment Options This Holiday Season
The need for retailers and brands to enhance their ecommerce and fulfillment capabilities in order to compete with industry peers and entice consumers is high this holiday season. By expanding their ecommerce offerings and providing seamless and convenient buying options (like BOPIS), retailers and brands can create engaging online customer experiences and connect with consumers right where they are as they actively discover new products during the 2020 peak buying season.
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