The 2015 holiday season is shaping up brightly, with seasonal sales expected to increase 3.7 percent this year, according to the National Retail Federation. This healthy spending prediction of approximately $630.5 billion across November and December is welcome news for retailers, as the last two months of the year can account for as much as 30 percent of annual sales.
Among this revenue, the National Retail Federation expects that $105 billion will be spent through online sales this season. That means a sixth of your holiday sales revenue could come from online orders. But to take full advantage of seasonal spending, brands and retailers must have the technology and tools in place to handle the multichannel retailing trends of today.
A sophisticated, enterprise-level order management system (OMS) enables the consumer to find what they need, at an experience they expect, while saving time and money. It can simultaneously offer you enterprise-wide inventory visibility, drive traffic into retail stores and create more loyal customers.
As the leading SaaS platform for distributed order management, Kibo is in the unique position to understand consumer spending preferences. In a special seasonal study, Kibo surveyed 3,000 consumers across North America and the United Kingdom to get the most recent facts about what consumers expect this holiday season:
No. 1: Convenience is King
Long lines, parking headaches and a limited number of hours in the day have encouraged many to skip the stores and shop online. Kibo’s seasonal survey reports that a whopping 56% of Americans and 57% of Brits plan on using delivery-to-home this holiday season. With many retailers offering low-cost or free shipping, who can blame them?
Unfortunately, retailers and brands can struggle to fulfill these online holiday orders. With distribution centers historically acting as the go-to fulfillment location, brands and retailers are missing big opportunities by not utilizing store and dealer networks as additional fulfillment locations.
Time is of the essence for holiday orders and distribution centers tend to be inconvenient to shoppers’ actual locations, resulting in longer shipping times and higher shipping costs. In fact, Kibo’s research has found that retail and dealer storefronts are 47 percent closer to customers than warehouses or distribution centers, making the ship-from-store fulfillment option faster and more affordable.
Additionally, ship-from-store capability eases the burden of the warehouse seasonal employee frenzy. According to Forrester Research, warehouse square footage and associated pick-and-pack staff for seasonal peaks that last just a few days of the year is a major investment for any retailer. The opportunity to offload some of the work from existing web fulfillment locations and spread this load across hundreds or thousands of stores can reduce temporary worker costs, potentially remove the need for investment in fulfillment center expansion and reduce customer support volumes by reducing fulfillment center backlogs.*
Ship-from-store is a highly efficient solution for retailers and manufacturers because it allows them to better optimize their dealer or store networks and ship from every possible storefront available. A distributed order management system is key to orchestrating the most efficient and timely fulfillment from all possible locations, enabling retailers and brands to make the sale and consumers to receive the items they want in a timely manner.
No. 2: The Storefront is Not Forgotten
Despite the strength of online shopping and in-home delivery, the storefront has not been forgotten. Nearly one-third of the American and UK consumers polled in the Kibo seasonal survey plan to purchase gifts online this year and pick them up in-store. This is good news for retailers as 40 percent of shoppers make additional purchases when they come in for pickup.
Unfortunately, only 21 percent of United States retail executives said they had the technology in place to handle in-store pickup, according to a 2015 study by RIS News. Even worse, that 21 percent doesn’t address whether the company can handle same-day pickup, a fulfillment option that is rapidly becoming an expected consumer preference.
With a distributed order management system, all storefronts in your network can become in-store pickup locations, without the need to have inventory data from each of them. Retailer stores can fulfill in-store pickup orders with their inventory, or have the items shipped to them by a distribution center if they don’t have the item in stock. In-store pickup ensures that customers get their orders quickly, with no shipping costs, while simultaneously driving shoppers into retail locations.
No. 3: Shopping on the Go
Finally, this season’s busy shoppers plan to do a lot of purchasing on the go. More than a quarter of American and British consumers will be using their smartphones and tablets to make purchases this holiday season. Forrester Research found commerce transacted on smartphones today already comprises 10 percent of eCommerce, up from 6 percent in 2013 and 3 percent in 2012.** And while all online sales may seem equal in the eyes of the manufacturer, they are not. As consumers become more technologically advanced, so must you.
With digital savvy consumers, brands and retailers must constantly evolve new ways for consumers to shop on the go. New technologies such as Local Product Search can provide consumers all local product availability, with or without retailer inventory feeds, and deliver search results directly to a shopper’s mobile phone. Through one text message, the shopper has the ability to choose the most convenient stocking retailer to make their purchase, then head into the store to pick it up.
Consumer shopping habits are evolving. They don’t care how or from where they receive their products, as long as they can receive them quickly and through the fulfillment option that they prefer. Do you have the competitive technology and tools in place to give the consumer what they want? An enterprise-level order management system from Kibo can put the power in the hands of your business users.
*Why Every Online Retailer Should “Ship-From-Store”, Forrester Research, Inc., May 1, 2014.
**Forrester Research eCommerce Forecast, 2014 To 2019 (US), Forrester Research, Inc., April 22, 2015.