When it comes to holiday shopping online, one of the biggest concerns of consumers next to getting the best price is getting the item by a certain time. Since holidays create specific deadlines for when an item must be received, it's vital that business owners offer the best and fastest shipping options the importance of shipping for driving online sales was seen in a recent study about consumer holiday shoppers.

Kibo recently surveyed more than 3,000 U.S. consumers and used the data to create their  Holiday Consumer Trends Report: 2017 Edition. The report is useful for business owners and marketers since it provides further "guidance on consumers' omnichannel expectations for the holidays, from ecommerce site functionality to shipping speed and returns."

"It's clear that consumer expectations for this holiday season are as high as ever, and retailers need to prepare by providing connected and seamless experiences across online and physical channels. BOPIS fulfillment and accessible inventory information are going to take center stage this season for the seemingly obvious reasons of saving busy holiday shoppers time and money," said Tushar Patel, CMO, Kibo.

Besides looking for the best deal, consumers want to save time. The easiest way for retailers to make shopping easier for consumers is by having convenient shipping options. According to the Kibo research, 58 percent of consumers say they'll rely on the buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS) fulfillment option this holiday shopping season, an increase of 25 percent over last year.

The report identified several reasons and sentiments that get customers to shop online and have the items shipped to the consumer or a store. According to Kibo, two thirds of consumers (66 percent) use BOPIS during the holiday include saving on shipping costs, the majority (53 percent) cited saving time while in-store, and nearly two out of five (39 percent) find getting the product through BOPIS as convenient.

Major services that offer free shipping, such as Amazon Prime, have changed consumer expectations. Now, 70 percent of shoppers have the expectation of receiving free shipping during the holidays Similarly, two-thirds (67 percent) of shoppers expect free shipping when gifts are returned, and 65 percent expect to be able to return an online purchase to a store..

Over half of shoppers (54%) said they use online inventory information to justify a trip to a store during the holidays.

The report has information on how these tactics can help in-store retailers. Almost half of the shoppers surveyed by Kibe (46 percent) indicated the top way to improve their experience is for retailers to provide offers and promotions that are relevant to their current gift search. And 70 percent of shoppers indicated a relevant discount will make them more likely to visit or shop on a website during the holidays.

"Retailers can further enhance their odds of winning more consumers by providing better personalized and relevant product recommendations and promotional offers," Patel continued. "Consumers are shopping on the behalf of others this time of year. Personalization solutions that rely only on typical past behaviors will seem completely irrelevant while shopping for gifts. Only retailers using real-time individualization solutions can predict buying intent and change the offers in response to consumers' real-time shopping behaviors. The benefits of this continues beyond the holiday season, as consumers fall back into more normal shopping behaviors. No shopper wants be haunted for the next six months by the doll they purchased for their niece at Christmas."

With the holiday shopping season nearly upon us, now is the time to make sure that retailer's website is promoting the best offers and best shipping options. For more recent information on preparing your holiday marketing campaign, read this article on when people will start their shopping campaigns.

Published on: Nov 13, 2017