Looking down a shopping mall corridor during the winter holidays. Consumer behavior seems to be in a hurry.

Consumer Behavior: 2021 Holiday Edition

Despite inventory issues and rising inflation, consumers plan to shop for and celebrate the holidays as usual.

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With news of rising record inflation and clogged ports, brands are making contingency plans to meet consumer demand for the 2021 holiday shopping season. While consumers are aware of the challenges facing merchants, consumer behavior remains largely unchanged.  

According to a recent Scalefast survey, nearly 63% of respondents said they expect global supply chain issues to negatively impact their holiday shopping. Despite consumer awareness and rising inflation, respondents did not report changing their shopping behavior or adjusting their budgets accordingly. A little more than 60% of people said they are shopping at the same time this year – not earlier – and 61% said they plan to spend the same amount of money that they did in 2020. 

So if customers are aware of supply chain issues but didn’t get a jump on their shopping, and despite inflation, don’t plan to up their budgets, what can brands do to delight their customers? 

Looking down the aisle at a Toys R Us. All the shelves are empty

Offer Omnichannel Options

Shoppers are set on making the holidays merry and bright. Consumer behavior this season can be boiled down to a word – determined. According to our surveys, if a shopper cannot find what they are looking for on one website or in one store, they would rather seek out that same item from another site or store.  

Brands and DTC merchants can take advantage of consumer channel surfing by making sure that available products are searchable and findable across channels – eCommerce, social media, marketplaces and in-stores where possible.  

Personalize the Shopping Experience

A personalized eCommerce storefront lets brands prioritize featured products based on consumer behavior. Brands should collect zero- and first-party data to ensure the best personalization. Brands should feature in-stock products to customers most likely to purchase those products. Personalized emails and social media experiences reinforce the product offering. 

Data shows that successful DTC merchants hold personalization as de rigueur, and customers expect personalization and find it valuable to their shopping experience. In a November 17, 2021 Scalefast survey, 56% of respondents say they find the level on eCommerce personalization usually satisfactory.  

Commit to Transparency

No shopper wants to see that something is out of stock but if a brand has to deliver the bad news, it should offer as much helpful information as possible to help the consumer. Brands should give shoppers the facts and options. 

  • The item you wanted is out of stock 
  • The item should be back in stock on this date  
  • Offer to let the consumer buy it and receive it later 
  • Offer similar alternatives 
  • Offer to email them when the item is available for purchase 

Shoppers may be disappointed that an item is out of stock, but brand affinity will remain intact as long as the shopper feels like they are being dealt with in a straightforward manner. 

Host Private Sales

Invitation-only online events draw your biggest fans to merchandise they had not considered or perhaps even seen, but that they’ll love. Private or special online events give shoppers a sense of exclusivity and entice them to make a purchase. 

Targeting sales to a select group of customers lets brands customize the experience, including product selection, pricing, inventory and the duration of the sale. At a time when so much of the brand and retail business is unpredictable, hosting special sales gives brands a sense of control. 

As consumers gear up to open their wallets this holiday season, merchants can take intentional, proactive steps to ensure that, despite logistic and economic challenges, customers have the exceptional experiences they have come to expect. 

Launching a secure private sale is easier, faster and less expensive than you might think. Download Scalefast’s latest eBook, Flash 2.0 to see how eCommerce events have evolved and how technology makes events more accessible and successful than ever. Then, talk to one of our eCommerce experts to learn how you can maximize your online sales this holiday and beyond. 

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