In-Store Retail will ‘Make or Break’ Omnichannel Success During the 2020 Holiday Shopping Season


For years, mobile and digital commerce have dominated the holiday retail headlines. But signs suggest we’re on the brink of an in-store retail renaissance as coming-of-age consumers increasingly favor the experiences leading physical stores provide.

Today, every generation—including Millennials and Gen-Z — generally prefers physical stores when making a purchase. Physical stores are evolving as a result, driven by customers whose holiday shopping behaviors have gradually spread from Black Friday across the entire season. In 2020, shoppers are forging their own customer journeys, transforming in-store shopping from a transactional experience to one where customers expect inherent value and rewards to be part of their visit. In-store sales are increasingly the end result of a greater omnichannel customer journey as well.

In this way, customers themselves are shaping how in-store retailers approach holiday sales. “Promotion-driven shopping events like Black Friday are no longer anchored to a single day,” says Think with Google. “Consumers are now in the driver’s seat—researching to find the best deals of the season before, during, and after Black Friday, and hatching a game plan to determine what, where, and when to buy.”

Now, retailers are building cross-channel capabilities, increasing opportunities to build more organic relationships with customers throughout buying journey. But last year marked a notable change in how retailers anticipate the outcomes of their customer journeys. During the 2019 holiday shopping season, 41% of omnichannel retailers reported that they have more opportunities to connect in-store and digital experiences compared to the 2018 holidays, “allowing customers to engage them from anywhere at any point in the buying cycle.” Their journey increasingly ends in physical retail stores, where connectivity, customer data, in-store technologies that connect digital and in-store experiences are paramount.

In fact, 52% of omnichannel retailers claim content driven by in-store technologies was either “important” or “critical” to their holiday product presentation strategies during the 2019 holiday shopping season. Retailers must face an inevitable future where omnichannel success is made or broken in their physical retail stores.

Q3 2020 eTail Report: 2020 Holiday Preparedness and Success: Capitalizing on the Growing Appeal of In-Store Shopping with CX Innovations

In our 2020 Future Stores Holiday report, we explore how leading retailers are transforming in-store experiences to capitalize on this emerging trend. Starting with an exploration of successes and failures from the 2019 holiday season, we look into how retailers will use in-store technologies, staff, connectivity, and customer data to create meaningful, memorable experiences for their customers. As consumers move seamlessly between digital and physical environments, we investigate how retailers will measure their in-store retail success. Finally, we separate gimmicks from trends to identify unique holiday strategies that may impact holiday shopping for years to come.


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