Will this holiday season leave retailers with the gifts they desire, or lumps of coal? As consumers look to engage with their favorite brands across all channels this upcoming holiday season, retailers will need to find ways to bridge the gap between in-person and online to provide seamless experiences.
In this episode of The Experience Evolution, John Federman, CEO, and Adam Percival, National Sales Leader at luxury menswear retailer, Harry Rosen, break down the recent holiday shopping trends they believe will impact the upcoming season, and provide tips to find success.
Appointments can eliminate lines and provide a safe shopping environment this holiday season
With the anticipated surge in online shopping during the holidays, retailers are ramping up their digital offerings
Consumers are looking for safe, convenient, and seamless shopping experiences
Safety remains a top priority in the 2021 holiday shopping season
One behavioral carry-over from last year is people’s need to engage on a personal and safe level, Federman said. “They want to celebrate the holidays, but they want to do so safely. What’s different from last year is everyone feels a little like a veteran. They feel they know the ways to comfortably and safely get accomplished what they need to get accomplished.”
What’s also different this year is that the responsibility of implementing regulations and creating a safe space has fallen into the hands of brands. Retailers who want to succeed will need to consider how to create safer shopping environments.
“What we're finding is that it's not just a responsibility that we all have personally, but it becomes a brand responsibility and that's what's so interesting in this year versus last year,” Federman said.
The need for a cohesive omnichannel retail strategy
From Harry Rosen’s perspective, Percival said they’d worked hard to develop new strategies for creating a unique shopping experience during the pandemic, and this will be critical during the holiday season as well.
“We see the trend of online shopping continue. Consumers want to shop when and where it’s convenient to them. I do see the appointment business continue to be very strong. People want to shop either at home, or in their office, or online. For us, it’s going to be about these personalized, or private, appointments for customers,” Percival said.
With the online shopping surge last year during the holiday season, Harry Rosen has ramped up their digital offerings in preparation, and is working hard to ensure a seamless blend of highly personalized experiences both in-store and online.
“We really accelerated a lot of our online strategies. A very important strategy that developed over the last year for us, for instance, was creating a team of online digital sellers where they're engaging with customers that are just shopping online,” Percival said. “They may not have even been to our store before. They may be in a market where they can't access a Harry Rosen store yet, but they're still getting that personalized outreach. They have contact with a professional that understands what they’re looking for.”
Federman stressed that the holiday shopping landscape isn’t one format over another. A customer’s journey may start online, but it can, and often ends with someone shopping in a physical store. What this means is that consumers are looking for an efficient in-store shopping experience, and appointments can help provide that experience.
“People want to make the time spent in the physical as focused and as ultimately productive as it can be,” Federman said. “They're assuring through appointments that when a consumer walks in the door, there's an associate ready to give them undivided attention. What that means is that the associate isn't getting pulled into other questions or concerns from other consumers. They're focused to make sure that the brand experience is singular from online to physical.”
The importance of business continuity this holiday shopping season and beyond
With the Delta variant continuing to push retailers to think of new ways to adapt, Federman said it’s a lesson that something like this could happen again, which is why retailers need to focus on business continuity this holiday shopping season and beyond.
“The question isn't how do I get through it this time? The question is, how do I set my business up so it has continuity? The only constant is change and the differentiation between those that win and those that struggle is how adaptable you can be as the consumers themselves have demonstrated they're infinitely adaptable. And they will make their choices based upon what's right for them, their families, and their safety,” Federman said.
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