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Deloitte: Holiday shoppers hooked on these two shipping preferences

BY Marianne Wilson

Free consistently trumps fast when it comes to holiday shipping.

That’s according to Deloitte’s 33rd annual “Holiday Survey” of consumer spending intentions and trends. The survey found that while holiday shoppers are hooked on fast and free shipping, 88% of respondents prefer free shipping over receiving their packages faster. The majority (61%) of holiday shoppers report they will buy items that qualify for free shipping this season. For free shipping, 66% are willing to wait three to seven days for their merchandise.

Interestingly, 62% of respondents define “fast shipping” as two days or less, up from 54% in 2017. One-quarter (25%) define three to four day delivery as fast shipping, down from 35% in 2017.

“The same percentage of shoppers prefer fast shipping over free compared with last year, but perceptions about delivery speed have changed considerably,” said Rod Sides, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and U.S. retail and distribution leader. “The expectation for delivery has become two days or less. Fast and free used to be considered incentives, and now they’re just table stakes.”

Here are other highlights from the report:

Most shoppers willing to trade personal information for discounts:
• More than half of consumers are comfortable sharing basic demographic information with retailers, such as their gender (56%) and first and last name (53%).

• Retailers have a smaller chance of obtaining certain types of personal information from consumers like geolocation (18%), financial history and credit scores (16%) or biometric data (12%).

• People may be willing to share information if they get something in return: Sixty-one percent of respondents say they would take a promotion or discount in exchange for sharing personal information.

Shopping on PCs and tablets flattening, while mobile continues to accelerate:
• More than two-thirds (67%) of smartphone shoppers plan to use their phones to make a purchase, up from 59% last year.

• This holiday season, 76% say they’ll use their desktop or laptop to shop, making it the most preferred device, but down from 83% in 2017. Tablets remain relatively flat, at 22%.

• Newer technology has yet to capture attention. Only 5% surveyed said they’d use voice assistant for shopping, 5% for social commerce, and 4% said they’d engage in virtual reality technology.

Younger generations more likely to gravitate toward discount shopping days and sustainable products:
• More than half (54%) of Generation Z (ages 18–23) and Millennials (ages 24–41) (53%) say they’ll rely on Black Friday compared with only 37% of seniors. Those numbers are higher for Cyber Monday, where 63% of Generation Z and 62% of Millennials indicate they’re sticking with Cyber Monday shopping as in the past.

• Younger shoppers appear more willing to consider a higher price tag for social responsibility at checkout. Nearly nine in 10 (87%) of Generation Z and three quarters (75%) of Millennial shoppers are willing to pay more for sustainable products. By comparison, almost half (47%) of Baby Boomers are not willing to pay extra.

No lumps of coal for retailers impacted by past data breaches:
• Of the 77% of shoppers who are concerned about retailers who experienced breaches, 91% say they would continue to shop those same retailers. Almost half (46%) indicate they would return if the retailer acted to regain their trust, and 34%) say they would change their method of payment. Only 7% said they would never shop at that retailer again.

“People seem to understand that breaches are unfortunately more common, and are willing to give back business to retailers who step up to regain their trust,” said Matt Marsh, partner, Deloitte & Touche LLP and global and US risk and financial advisory leader for the retail and distribution practice. “For retailers, having the response plan in place ahead of time can help prevent them from getting crossed off shoppers’ lists.”

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Here’s how NYC’s Hudson Yards plans to spur shopper spending

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

As Manhattan’s newest mega-neighborhood inches closer to its promised grand opening, the destination has made a new move to attract visitors.

Hudson Yards, the mixed-use development that will be home to more than 100 shops, is partnering with Visa on a “connected commerce” program. Through the deal, Visa will develop “only at” payments experiences for cardholders on the property. In addition to offering access and perks to cardholders, the program will allow customers to tap to pay with their contactless card or payment-enabled device at checkout.

The partners are focusing on contactless payments because more than 40% of Visa domestic transactions – excluding the U.S. – occur with a single tap, according to data from VisaNet.

All Visa-Hudson Yards-specific programming will be aimed at a global audience, and showcase the speed and convenience that contactless technology offers both retailer and consumers, according to Hudson Yards.

“Hudson Yards is the neighborhood of the future, bringing together brands and companies at the forefront of their industries to create an entirely digital ecosystem for visitors,” said Stacey Feder, chief marketing officer, Hudson Yards. “Visa’s leadership in contactless transactions makes them the ideal partner to help shape this new center of commerce for the next generation.”

Manhattan’s newest neighborhood, which will feature stores including New York City’s first Neiman Marcus, Banana Republic, Coach, Lululemon, Zara, and H&M, is on track for its promised grand opening in March of 2019.

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Benefits more important than ever to retail job seekers

BY Marianne Wilson

A new report sheds light on how retailers can fill open positions in today’s tight labor market.

More than half (52% ) of all retail candidates say that benefits are one of the top two factors when making career decisions, up 5% from the last year, according to a study from ManpowerGroup Solutions and the Retail Industry Leaders Association that was revealed at Groceryshop 2018 in Las Vegas. Benefits are now ranked second behind compensation and tied with type of work.

Interest in benefits is especially high among candidates for in-store positions (56%) and warehouse and distribution positions (60%). Paid health insurance is the leading benefit preferred by all retail candidates and is desired by 65% of retail candidates versus 56% of U.S. candidates across all industries. Financial education and saving plan opportunities ranked second (37%), followed by food or lunch onsite (27%) paid maternity leave (25%) and continuing education (23%).

The report, “What Retail Employers Need to Know about Candidate Preferences,” also revealed that a retailer’s brand or reputation is more important than ever among retail job applicants. One in five (20%) retail candidates say an employer’s brand or reputation ranks among their top three career decisions criteria, up 7% from last year. Though employer brand still ranks behind factors such as compensation, type of work, schedule flexibility and benefits, the brand/reputation of the company is the fastest-growing factor in career decisions among retail job seekers.

In another finding, virtually all types of retail candidates desire more flexibility. Forty-two percent of e-commerce workers prefer full-time work from home. Twenty-two percent of warehouse and distribution workers want choice and control in their work shifts, and 30% of corporate candidates want flexible arrival and departure times – nearly twice that of candidates from all industries.

“Retail job seekers are looking to fit a job into their lives and not their lives into their job,” said Melissa Hassett, VP of client delivery at ManpowerGroup Solutions. “Sales representatives are in the top five hardest roles to fill in the U.S..  That means that in this competitive labor market, employers should understand that candidates are consumers too and need to work hard to attract people using a strong employee value proposition. What’s bringing retail workers into the role is the need for flexibility, an attractive benefits package and opportunities to upskill and earn more. ”

The report, What Retail Employers Need to Know about Candidate Preferences, provides retail insights and practical tips on how to attract and retain workers. ManpowerGroup Solutions surveyed nearly 2,500 retail workers across the U.S. to understand how they want to work.  For more, click here.

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