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Why Holiday Shopping 2020 Will Be a Season Like No Other

2020 Holiday shopping seasonConsumers have discovered new ways to shop in 2020. The coronavirus pandemic made people wary of social interactions, standing in lines in busy stores and using shared devices such as PIN pads – and, ultimately, it drove new consumer behaviors. This has set the stage for a very different holiday shopping season than those in years past, both for shoppers and for merchants.

Here are five things you can expect in retail’s Q4 2020:

  1. A spike in e-commerce
    For the past several years, holiday shoppers have been making more of their purchases online. According to eMarketer, e-commerce sales grew by 13.2 percent in 2019. This year, Deloitte predicts e-commerce holiday sales will grow 25 percent to 35 percent year over year, representing an even bigger share of retail sales.

  1. Omnichannel shopping
    Although this is set to be a record-setting holiday shopping season for e-commerce sales, some customers will still want to see and try items first-hand before finalizing a purchase. Due to health concerns, however, customers may do their browsing and payment online before going to a potentially crowded store. Expect “buy online, pick up in store” (BOPIS) to be a go-to strategy for many shoppers. In addition to supporting social distancing, BOPIS also has the benefits of saving delivery charges and allowing customers to inspect their items at the store and return or exchange them immediately if necessary. Some consumers may prefer curbside pickup to eliminate spending time in the store.

  1. Gift card sales
    The National Retail Federation reported in 2019 that, for the thirteenth year in a row, gift cards were the most popular item on people’s wish lists, requested by 59 percent of people surveyed. Expect the trend to continue this year, especially with gift cards that can be purchased and used online. Consumers committed to “shop small” may also want to buy gift cards from local businesses to boost their revenues after a challenging year.

  1. A demand for self-service
    In 2019, a SOTI survey found that 73 percent of shoppers prefer retail self-service rather than engaging with a sales associate. Self-service kiosks and checkouts that enable shoppers to maintain a safe social distance and limit interactions with others are likely to be more popular options this year.

  1. Safety-first in-store operations
    In-person shopping will also look quite different during the holiday shopping 2020 season. Stores will use low-tech solutions such as one-way shopping aisles, floor stickers that encourage social distancing, plastic barriers between cashiers and customers, and continual disinfecting.

Provide the solutions your clients need for holiday shopping 2020

Because merchants won’t be able to fall back on tried-and-true strategies for holiday shopping due to the pandemic, your clients will be looking for new ways to capitalize on the peak season – and the stakes are high. About one-third of retailers’ annual revenue comes from holiday sales, and after a difficult year, those sales are critical.

ISVs and VARs will play a crucial role in helping their clients make the most out of the holiday shopping season with:

  • Fully integrated solutions for managing customer experiences on all channels from one platform. Disconnected point of sale (POS) and e-commerce solutions add complexity to store processes, make inventory management more difficult and can provide disjointed experiences for customers who shop both online and in-store.

  • Third-party solutions and value-added services to enhance experiences and help merchants operate competitively. Must-haves for the holiday shopping 2020 season include gift cards, loyalty, and customer relationship or marketing solutions.

  • Optimized hardware. Your clients may benefit from tablets or other mobile devices for curbside pickup and line busting and kiosks for self-service.

  • Integrated omnichannel payments that enable consumers to pay on any channel, using their preferred payment methods. An integrated omnichannel payment solution will also save reconciliation time for the back office and allow staff to focus on customers and making the holiday seasons successful, instead of multiple reports.

There’s still time to help merchants deploy and optimize technology that can help them operate more efficiently and profitably during the busiest time of the year. Reach out to your clients and discuss which solutions and services your clients need for the new demands created by holiday shopping in 2020.  

Help your merchants get ready for the holiday shopping season!