‘Tis the season to go holiday shopping, an activity that seriously challenges the concept of this being the most wonderful time of the year. Crowded stores, long lines, aggressive shoppers—it’s no wonder consumers have increasingly found solace in e-commerce. Finding great deals from the comfort of one’s home definitely has its perks, and brick-and-mortar stores have caught on. From fashion retailers and department stores to tech giants, companies are making it easier and more convenient for consumers to shop for just about anything.
Before you head to the stores this year, check out three of the top trends in shopping for your most efficient and organized holiday season yet.
Trend: Text Connects Consumers with Brands
Google’s new ad tool is taking the relationship between the brand and consumer to the SMS inbox. The new click-to-message technology is a mobile-only ad extension that advertisers can set up easily. When a consumer types something into Google Search, the ad will pop up with a message icon next to it. Clicking the icon takes the customer to their default SMS app, and opens a text with a pre-set message. Looking to book a hotel for the holidays? Google it, click the icon and instantly start chatting with a customer representative.
Instagram has also upped its ante as a customer service channel with the roll out of a ‘contact’ button that allows customers to text businesses instantly with the click of a button.
According to Criteo, mobile share of e-commerce transactions was 40% in 2015 and is expected to rise to 70% by 2017, so we can expect retailers to further enhance the mobile buying experience, with features such as texting.
Trend: Same-Day Delivery
If you’re someone who ends up scrambling store to store within hours of the holidays, same-day delivery is your saving grace. Same goes for those shoppers that just need instant gratification. Amazon Prime is a pioneer of this game-changing service, and many companies have taken a cue from them. Mega stores have also jumped on this trend, with companies like Best Buy, Nordstrom, Macy’s, and Net-A-Porter offering same-day delivery.
Virtual (In-Store) Shopping
Brick-and-mortar stores are also using technology to compete with the bustling e-commerce industry. Many boutiques offer iPads in fitting rooms, allowing customers to check size inventory, read reviews and ask for help.
Last year, MemoryMirror and a Neiman Marcus branch took that a step further, allowing shoppers to try on virtual outfits without ever changing their clothes. MemoryMirror also lets you capture images and video, so say goodbye to awkward fitting room selfies. Simply share photos and videos with friends via email or social media. Personal shoppers can also use the MemoryMirror to show clients options without putting together a rack of items.
Shoppers also take advantage of the Uniqlo Magic Mirror, a similar virtual dressing room that allows shoppers to see how an item looks on them in various colors without having to change.
Consumers have a dizzying array of shopping options as more retailers experiment with new technologies and promotional offers to capture the attention of the holiday shopper. The one area that brands and retailers are paying greater attention to is mobile. The winning retailers are engaging in the moment with shoppers wherever and whenever they browse and purchase.