Don’t be Spooked by These 5 Retail Consumer Behavior Trends this Holiday Season

It’s that time of year again when the pumpkin and ghost decorations that adorn shops and marketing materials get switched out for turkey and tinsel faster than you can say Rudolph. With Halloween underway and the holidays just around the corner, retailers are preparing for the influx of holiday shoppers. 

The pandemic has been one of the key influencers of retail consumer behavior over the last two years, but as attitudes towards Covid continue to relax, other questions on spending habits take center stage this year.

What new trends can retailers expect in terms of consumer behavior this holiday season? With whispers of a recession on the horizon, should brands expect this season’s spending to trend downward?

In this blog, we’ll take a look at some of the most impactful consumer trends this year that are likely to influence purchasing decisions. Don’t be scared! Keep reading to understand this retail consumer behavior this year in order to optimize your strategies for the holidays.

1. Inflation is a concern among shoppers, but not a deterrent 

The impact of inflation is one of the most significant financial worries this year, and those concerns are sliding over to retail holiday spending. While the cost of living has gone up along with the cost of supplies for businesses, many brands and retailers are concerned inflation might result in decreased holiday spending this year. However, while spending trends are shifting, that doesn’t seem to be the case. According to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, 62% of shoppers still agree that it’s important to keep the status quo when it comes to holidays, meaning spending on gifts as in previous years. Rather than cutting costs on holiday spending, consumers are more likely to hold back on other luxuries, such as travel or eating at restaurants. 

It’s good news for brands and retailers that consumers aren’t planning on slowing down their holiday spending. However, as we’ll see in the next consumer behavior trends, inflation does have an overall impact on how and where consumers shop this year as well as their expectations.

 

2. Shoppers are increasingly relying on alternative payment options

According to a survey by Bluedots on holiday spending habits, 4 out of 10 consumers are planning on using buy now, pay later options when shopping during the holiday season. It’s suggested that this year, shoppers will take on more debt than in previous years, demonstrating the actual financial impact of inflation.

Aside from financing options, consumers are also more likely to sign up for retailer loyalty cards this year in order to take advantage of savings through special sales, point systems, or gift cards. For brands, this presents a good opportunity to incentivize shoppers before the holiday season to sign up for loyalty programs.

With cash flow also being a ‘significant’ challenge for brands, sellers are inclined to utilize next-day payment solutions this season (instead of waiting the traditional 30-90 day pay cycle) to improve efficiencies and liquidity, putting their money back to work fast with next-day payouts. Learn more here –>>

3. Consumers are spreading out where they shop this year

While the last two years saw consumers opt for online shopping over in-store experiences due to the ongoing pandemic, the same survey by Bluedots found that this year, shopping in-store is making a comeback. In fact, 38% of those surveyed said they plan on doing their holiday shopping in a store compared to 36% online.

Another popular avenue for shopping this year is apps, with 75% of consumers expecting to do at least half their holiday shopping on mobile devices. This increase in app usage this year is a win for eCommerce businesses that focus on online sales, meaning it’s more important than ever to have strategies in place to convert online shoppers quickly and efficiently before they shift to another online competitor. 

When it comes to shopping for gifts, Google and online search is still the main way people find ideas. When strategizing a digital marketing strategy to convert online shoppers this year, it’s therefore important to focus on paid ads, PPC strategies, and placing in the ad carousel to help capture consumers in the early stages of shopping.

4. Consumers are putting value over loyalty

With inflation as a main concern for nearly all consumers this year, it’s no surprise that shoppers are changing how they make purchasing decisions. According to a McKinsey report, more shoppers this year are making the switch to different brands as compared to the last two years. The driving factor for this change is that shoppers are looking for good value and are more concerned about prices than before. While this behavior was mainly studied for the purchase of essential goods like gas or groceries, we might see similar trends hold for holiday shoppers.

40% of consumers intend to look at new brands this year while holiday shopping, leaving a whole lot of space for new brands on the market to make an impression. This implies to focusing on brand awareness through selling on the right marketplaces and digital channels, providing good value, and creating an efficient order experience early on in the holiday season can prove to be profitable later during the peak shopping season and in the new year as well. 

5. Shoppers are aware of potential supply chain challenges

In previous years when Covid was rampant, supply chain delays were a major issue. In fact, in a PwC survey in 2022, a lack of stock was the second most significant roadblock to shopping both online and in stores after inflation. In previous years, a lack of inventory could have been attributed to panic buying and media hype, but this year as brands are more prepared, new concerns have sprung up.

To prepare for possible supply chain issues, retailers started preparing for the holiday season earlier this year by bulking up their stock. However, this is likely to pose a different problem of brands that are left with overstock during and after the holiday season. According to the Bluedots survey, customers are split on overstock issues, with 44% expecting better prices due to high inventory and the same percentage of shoppers still expecting price increases due to inflation.

For retailers and brands, this indicates that retail consumer behavior surrounding the holiday season has changed in that shoppers are more aware of the issues retailers are facing because it directly affects their total spending. To help diminish the burden on the customer, retailers might start offering deals and shipping promotions earlier in the season.

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Navigating Consumer Behavior This Holiday Season

Inflation may be scarier to some retailers than the average goblin or ghoul, but by understanding how to adapt your business to emerging trends and by using the right tools, brands can easily navigate these trends and enjoy a successful holiday season.

While there are a number of ways brands and retailers can work to minimize the effects of changing customer behavior, tackling issues on multiple fronts can demand time, effort, and resources that some companies may wish to invest elsewhere. To help with challenges related to shipping, supply chain, and reporting, consider turning to a third party to lighten the load.

Tools such as Cymbio can help brands automate their marketplace maintenance and monitoring, freeing up time to focus on other things, like how to provide your customers with the best value. Cymbio allows you to automate manual order cycle tasks, such as shipping label creation, handling returns and refunds, and real-time inventory tracking. During the hectic holiday season when orders and returns are rolling in and inventory seems to fluctuate by the minute, having a solution like Cymbio on your side can make the difference in helping you meet your targets this year.

Schedule a call with one of our experts today to find out more about how Cymbio can help you reach your holiday goals.

Learn How Lemlem Doubled Their Orders and Increased Their GMV by 167% in Just 2 Years!

Meet the Brand

Lemlem is an artisan-driven brand of beautiful women’s resort wear made entirely and responsibly in Africa, with a core mission of preserving the local art of weaving in Ethiopia and inspiring economic growth on the continent.

Founded by supermodel Liya Kebede in 2007, Lemlem was born to help preserve the ancient art form of weaving to create a fashion label of love, celebrating women and nature.

The Challenge

Lemlem found the majority of their workload and processes being undertaken manually by a limited-sized team. While this allowed for tight controls, they reached a point where this was no longer sustainable. Seamless integration between ApparelMagic and Cymbio’s platform allowed them to not only save time and money – it also helped improve data quality, streamline metrics, reduce errors and lift employee morale.

The Solution

Since 2017, Lemlem used ApparelMagic’s apparel management software to centralize their operations. ApparelMagic’s software offers leading apparel accounting, inventory control and logistics solutions. Due to Lemlem’s growth and success with ApparelMagic, they were also able to extend their wholesale business with J.Crew and Farfetch. Commencing in 2020, Cymbio provided automated, integrated support to help manage and process orders associated with J.Crew, Madewell plus many more retailers, which has been essential for growth.

This upgraded eCommerce platform elevated the user experience for consumers with an improvement in the ability to personalize their shopping journey. It also allowed Lemlem to enjoy growth in other significant areas, such as design and strategy, given that they had more time.

Only with the effective technology offered by Cymbio was this possible. Cymbio worked closely with Lemlem, maintaining the same team, to support their niche product integration into the eCommerce market.

Recipe for Success

With excellent product quality, inspired by the unique Ethiopian hand-woven patterns and the vibrant, colorful combinations in the streets of Africa, Lemlem is all about happy colors and stripes, creating new casual and chic pieces that are easy to wear on all occasions.

The brand’s products are made entirely and responsibly in Africa inspiring economic growth on the continent.

Lemlem understood the importance of partnering with eCommerce platforms in order for their niche product to reach a global market. Moreover, given their relatively small team, they needed successful retail connections and automation to ensure systems ran smoothly with very little hands-on effort.

 

“Onboarding with Cymbio has been key to securing our partnership with J.Crew and the ability to manage the increase in orders. Without Cymbio, this just would not have been possible.”

Janise Vargas, Sales Assistant, Lemlem

 
 

“We enjoy the ease with which we are able to collaborate and integrate systems with Cymbio. Collaboration isn’t just a strategy but essential for long-term business success, which we feel defines what we have with Cymbio.”

Nicoll Leighton, Operations & Strategy, ApparelMagic

 

The Results

The successful integration of Cymbio’s eCommerce automated solutions to ApparelMagic’s powerful ERP offered significant growth for Lemlem. This included:

In addition, the upgraded platform increased the quality of the customer experience (by segmenting and personalizing offers) while simultaneously allowing Lemlem to prioritize and allocate time for other more important tasks such as designing, strategizing and sourcing more (or better) suppliers.

 

 

WEBINAR: Future Proofing Your Operations

A lot has changed in the last few years. Increased competition, elevated shopper expectations, and macroeconomic disruptions are driving merchants to make strategic changes in their supply chains.

In 2022, trends are continuing to adapt and revolve around how to reach more customers while minimizing delays. How can brands expand beyond DTC? How can brands bring products offline and into retail marketplaces? How can brands future-proof themselves to continue to meet their customers everywhere?

Shopping expectations and buying journeys can start and end on any channel, which is why revisiting supply chain strategies to create consistent URL and IRL shopping experiences is a must. To stay competitive, brands need to create experiences and build relationships with their customers that only omnichannel can offer.

70% of brands will add new sales channels in 2022. Selling through retailer websites was once one of the more daunting and complicated processes in eCommerce, but by leveraging ShipBob’s direct integration with Cymbio, brands can now fulfill wholesale or drop ship orders automatically. With more control over the customer experience, brands can streamline retail set-up, product data, and open the door to a nearly $6.64 trillion retail market.

Real experts, real growth. That’s our motto.

View our joint webinar with ShipBob for the playbook on future proofing your operations through marketplace and retail drop shipping. With our partnership, it’s now easier than ever to expand to retailers and marketplaces like Target+, Nordstrom and Walmart Marketplace.

On this Webinar, you will learn how to: 

New Feature: Cymbio’s Seller Insights

Leveraging customer data to elevate online marketing in the eCommerce industry isn’t something new. Understanding data helps eCommerce brands to better figure out their customers’ buying habits and adjust online eCommerce strategies to optimize current market trends. 

Discovering insights based on in-depth analysis informed by data helps you know your customers ’choices, behaviors and motivations which in turn, can help shape your business decisions.

 

 

Seller Insights is a new feature that Cymbio is offering to our clients as part of our ongoing service to be more than just your average digital commerce automation platform. With Seller Insights we can share valuable data about your best selling products to help improve inventory decisions e.g. audit and prioritize your inventory as well as set minimum stock levels. 

 

 

This information can be further broken down across specific time periods allowing comparisons and valuable insight across seasons and sales quarters to help improve inventory management control.  

 

See What Cymbio Can Do For Your Brand

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How to Conquer the Ever-Expanding World of eCommerce

With endless choices, speedy deliveries, numerous curbside pickup options, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, online shopping has become a widespread revolution among consumers. Raised and evolving expectations, chiefly established by the global giant Amazon, have also broadened the world of eCommerce and digital communication. 

While some brands have conquered the recent surge in online shopping, many brands lack the logistic and internal organization to handle the varying integration requirements and data specifications necessary to rapidly expand across channels. Additionally, maintaining brand-to-retailer relationships can be challenging in relation to product pricing and maintaining brand image on alternative platforms. 

Here are the 5 best practices to improve your content output and retail media strategy for a seamless shopping experience to elevate your presence in the world of eCommerce.

 

To improve customer retention and loyalty, alter the commonly-used ‘funnel model’ to a flywheel model’ to promote increased sustainable growth. The funnel model works fairly well to acquire new customers and outlines different phases of outreach as well as the optimal strategy to apply to each phase. While this approach suffers from a disconnect between various channels, the flywheel model reorients strategy around consumer intent through connection via social media with customized video content and reward programs. 

 

Another way to create a smooth customer experience is to support consistency across channels. Make data-driven decisions, taking into account feedback from people about your product across various platforms. Leverage this data from one channel to inform another, including popular “key” terms. 

 

Implementing shoppable media technology, a link or piece of digital content that gives customers an actionable experience, is another way to ease the path to purchase. It is also important to use dynamic linking technology, which provides backup products or retailers if an item is out of stock. This is especially relevant in the current state of the economy, which is rife with supply chain issues. 

 

Remain conscious of over monetization, ensuring that you are not overwhelming customers with ads and detracting from their user experience. This requires careful decisions about which channels you want to utilize to advertise your product and brand. 

 

Finally, here are the best-recommended practices for retail media to conquer the world of eCommerce.

  1. Ensure your CTA is visible and quickly delivered so consumers have a clear next step in the purchase process without losing interest. 
  2. Create compelling visuals to design an engaging brand experience while guaranteeing that your content fits marketplace specifications. 
  3. Track how your content performs on retailer sites, as well as how your competitors are being promoted on the digital shelf. 
  4. Ensure that the above decisions are data-driven and constantly tested and tweaked for maximum impact. 

 

Looking for a way to expand in the eCommerce universe without taking on insurmountable tasks and navigating brand-to-retailer connections? Cymbio is here to help. Our automation platform supports all data formats, and we can provide you with a one-to-all connection to join any marketplace! By streamlining the onboarding, set-up, and day-to-day e-commerce operations between brands and their retail partners, inventory and warehouse management systems and more, we make it super easy for our customers to grow comfortably while maintaining their current operational load. 

See What Cymbio Can Do For Your Brand

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How to boost brand reach utilizing diverse eCommerce channels

We recently hosted a webinar in collaboration with NBCU focused on how to develop and grow  eCommerce opportunities via the power of storytelling. Don’t miss this informative webinar which discusses how to optimize reach via a variety of channels such as streaming, linear broadcast TV, and social platforms to help drive increased sales, customer acquisition and enhance brand awareness. 

 

Discover The Power Of Retail Automation

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