With Christmas Eve only a week away, the shopping countdown begins in earnest. Despite the successes of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, there’s still the contingent of shoppers that will still be frantically shopping all week—both online and in stores.
Is it possible to know anything about these shoppers—and then to connect with them during these last few days?
Early in November, the National Retail Federation’s holiday consumer spending survey reported that over half of Americans, eager to snag good deals and exclusive items, had already gotten a jump on holiday shopping.
But just in years past, not everyone is ahead of the curve. In a recent survey conducted by Office Depot, nearly half (49 percent) of shoppers admitted to getting 16 percent of their holiday shopping done at the last minute—within 10 days of the holiday.
Other findings—this time from a CashStar-Harris Interactive survey—concur, and also provide some possible insights into who may be out doing last-minute shopping—and what they might be shopping for. According to the survey conducted online in November, nearly 56 million Americans are likely to forget to buy a gift for their mail carriers, and nearly 44 million are likely to forget to buy a gift for their neighbors. Others most often forgotten include people who care for children, including teachers and babysitters.
The survey also found that:
- Men are twice as likely as women to forget a gift until the day of an event.
- Eight million in the U.S. will likely to forget a holiday gift for their parents.
- Thirty-six million Americans forget their bosses; 26 million forget their employees.
The reasons behind last-minute shopping can be as varied as shoppers themselves, behaviorists say. Some find it hard to get started, while others say they’re taking a ‘wait-and-see’ approach to the economy and especially, the ‘financial cliff’ negotiations. Savvy shoppers may have already done some shopping and are now watching for new last-minute deals. Many individuals just don’t like to shop!
Whatever the reasons, last-minute shoppers are not likely to be disappointed this year. Many retailers are scrambling to offer them deals and incentives to buy. The obvious: additional discounts, and some retailers are slashing prices as much as 40%. Industry watchers predict that hold-out shoppers and extreme procrastinators could find better deals than those who shopped over Black Friday weekend.
But the game-changer this year seems to be deals on shipping, including free expedited shipping through this week and free regular shipping for purchases made even later. In fact, things like same-day delivery and in-store pick-up—bigger than ever this year—are apparently transforming the very ways we shop.
As a small business, you may not want or be able to slash prices or pick up the tab for shipping. But there are some other things you can consider. An email blast or two to your customer list could provide the nudge some last-minute shoppers need. Extend your hours—even on the weekends—and be sure that information is pushed out in social media channels, like Facebook or Twitter. Mobile tools are becoming increasingly important to businesses and shoppers alike. And depending on your merchandise, promoting specific gifts or gift categories may connect with shoppers who, based on survey findings referenced above, may be looking for gifts for teachers, babysitters, mail carriers. And you can count on some last-minute purchases—for everyone from wives to parents to business associates—by male shoppers, if you can get them in and help them through the shopping process.
Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net