As part of our Seasonal Commerce Research Programme with Internet Retailing, we asked retailers what new trends they were seeing with regards to how customers were behaving:
This was identified by a number of respondents as improved fulfilment and greater customer trust that a retailer can deliver is meaning customers are often leaving their purchasing decisions to the last minute – despite the nerve wracking pressure this puts on the retailer concerned and their best efforts in persuading them to buy earlier. Shop Direct’s Chris Haighton admits this is a problem for many businesses. “Every year our capabilities improve, however the challenges also become harder each year as peaks become higher and sharper and as customer expectation of our ability to fulfil an order placed at the last minute grows and grows”.
Increasing research before buying
Respondents realise that customers are naturally searching more before they buy – whether they are looking for the best price, product recommendations or just product explanations, they now want to be better prepared than ever for the customer who thinks they know it all .
New season peaks
Some retailers pointed out that new behaviour patterns and the increase in seasonal activities meant it was harder than ever to predict peaks. “Seasonal peaks are no longer associated with expected holidays, such as Christmas, but there is also a greater impact coming from proms and wedding seasons depending on where you are in the country, for example,” said one respondent. This is the case at Austin Reed whose seasonal peaks include weddings (spring/summer) and black tie events (end November/December).
Get your copy of the Internet Retailing Seasonal Commerce research report.
Credit: Liz Morrell and Internet Retailing