Free shipping and promotions are the most popular online steps retailers can take to increase holiday sales this year.
That's according to data from on-demand fulfillment platform Ware2Go, a UPS company, in which 15% of 1,000 surveyed consumers rarely shop in store and will only shop online for their holiday gifts this year. Eight in 10 (81%) surveyed consumers plan to purchase some holiday gifts online last-minute.
When asked what online steps retailers can take to entice their holiday business this year, consumers said:
Offer free shipping (56%).
Offer deal days, coupons or promotions for online products (55%).
Offer one-to-two-day shipping on all online purchases (42%).
Reward customers with extra loyalty points (37%).
The survey also asked consumers about their expectations for online holiday shipping:
Sixteen percent of respondents have lower expectations around one-to-two-day shipping due to COVID-19, compared to 57% in 2021.
Three quarters (76%) of respondents said they are more likely to make a repeat purchase based on a fast shipping experience.
Three quarters (74%) of respondents also said sustainable shipping is an important factor in online purchase decisions.
Other interesting consumer findings include:
Seventy-four percent of respondents plan to adjust holiday spending due to a possible recession on the horizon, including prioritizing lower-priced gifts, purchasing fewer gifts in general, or purchasing different typed of gifts.
Almost seven in 10 (68%) respondents plan to start their holiday shopping earlier this year.
Small retailers face shrinking inventory, margins
Ware2Go also surveyed 1,000 small-to-mid-sized businesses (SMBs), finding 59% report that margins have shrunk, largely due to supply chain issues. Eight in 10 say supply chain costs have risen, while 46% have increased prices to cover costs, 42% cite elevated freight costs, and 19% are simply absorbing elevated supply chain costs.
Two-thirds (67%) of surveyed SMBs have faced inventory challenges in 2022, including overbuying inventory (23%) and buying the wrong inventory as consumer buying habits have changed (19%).
In response, 68% of surveyed SMBs are changing their inventory ordering strategy for the 2022 holiday season. The top three challenges are:
Changing the type of products they’re purchasing (33%).
Ordering inventory more than in previous years (23%).
Ordering inventory earlier than in previous years (21%).
In July/August 2022, a survey of 1,000 SMBs and a second survey of 1,000 US consumers revealed their holiday and shipping preferences. See results here.
Sustainability remains important for back-to-school shoppers A recent Sensormatic survey also reveals that sustainability continues to sit at the top of shoppers’ minds this back-to-school season. More than three in four (77%) respondents said sustainability initiatives will play at least a modest role in their back-to-school shopping choices this year.
The 77% of respondents who said sustainability initiatives will influence their back-to-school shopping choices also said that they plan to reuse as many of last year’s purchases as possible, and 70% said they plan to do at least some shopping at secondhand stores.