Holiday shopping is like ‘having a tooth pulled’ for some customers
Retailers eagerly anticipate the holiday shopping season each and every year, as it represents a significant portion of their annual revenue. A successful holiday season can single-handedly reverse the misfortunes of a slow year, or it could catapult the growth of a retailer significantly. A lot rides on the holiday season, and for that reason, many merchants look to put their best foot forward during the last two months of the year.
However, many customers don't look at the holiday season in the same light. While it's generally a joyous and festive time of the year, filled with family reunions, gift giving and holiday parties, shopping for presents can be an extremely unpleasant experience.
Retailers run out of stock on hot items, customers need to wait in long lines at the checkout counter and, to top it all off, many people are spending upward of $500 on gifts for various people.
One recent report from research unit Truth Central illustrated just how frustrating the holidays can be. Americans are twice as likely as the global average to liken holiday shopping to "having a tooth pulled out" in terms of annoyance. Meanwhile, shoppers in the U.K. said the amount of planning and preparation that goes into their holiday shopping efforts is akin to a "military operation." As many as one-third of customers polled said they would even "outsource" holiday shopping if they could get someone else to do it for them.
Making holiday shopping less of a pain
The fact that such an enjoyable activity – shopping – can be turned into such an annoyance during the holidays should speak volumes about some of the hurdles that people have to jump over just to get things done during the last few months of the year.
Brands should do all in their power to make end-of-the-year shopping experiences as seamless and convenient as possible. In fact, two-thirds of respondents said that retailers could help them make their holiday shopping a lot easier by taking simple steps to improve the overall shopping experience.
This begins with retailers simply ironing out any kinks in the shopping process. Hiccups such as inventory mismatches between channels, poor supply chain management, botched orders and other mistakes simply add further complication to holiday shopping outings. Nothing is more frustrating than ordering an item online, only to discover there wasn't enough inventory to fill the order and having to wait an extra week.
Even worse is when the item finally comes and it's the wrong size or color.
This is where eCommerce software can come into play. When it comes to multichannel retail operations, technology is a key piece of the puzzle. Operations such as order management and inventory management can be consolidated, unified and streamlined with a solution such as SalesWarp.
For example, an inventory management system can help retailers keep an accurate, up-to-date, real-time inventory count across various channels and platforms. Regardless of whether they are selling across various channels (such as brick-and-mortar and online) or different online marketplaces (such as Amazon and eBay), an eCommerce solution will allow retailers to gain visibility on which products are selling and where. This prevents awkward scenarios such as an Amazon shop running out of an item even though the same item is readily available through a different marketplace.
For some customers, holiday shopping can be tedious. Retailers can alleviate some of this pressure by simply ensuring they are fulfilling their end of the bargain and delivering a hassle-free shopping experience.