In terms of retail holidays, 2022 is expected to be bigger than ever. With Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s, and more quickly approaching on the calendar, it’s a great time to get ahead and start planning for the busiest time of the year. What can retailers expect this holiday season? Keep reading to learn what experts are predicting for retail holidays in 2022 — from an increase in cost-consciousness to growing demand for retail delivery, and more.
1. Retail customers will be more cost-conscious
Research disagrees on whether customers will be spending more or less this holiday season (Forbes reports that a third of customers plan to spend less this year, while Wells Fargo predicts a 6% increase), but one thing is clear: your customers are likely going to be much more cost-conscious this year. In fact, online searches for the term “save money” have increased in the US and hit a five-year high globally.
With inflation on the rise, affecting everything from groceries to medical care costs, many customers are looking to be more strategic about where they put their money. This might mean that customers are planning to buy fewer gifts: according to the 2022 Deloitte Holiday Retail Survey, the average shopper plans to buy an average of nine gifts this year, compared with the sixteen in 2021. Other customers may be looking to spend less per gift.
2. Retail holidays aren’t just seasonal — and sales are starting much earlier
This year, many companies will be launching their holiday sales earlier in an effort to capture customers — a growing trend that Adobe has tracked since the 2020 holiday season.
This has extended the timeline for traditional retail holiday sales, like Black Friday, which now span weeks — or months. In an article for Newsy, Anna Rathbun, Chief Investment Officer at CBIZ Investment Advisory Services, explained, “Black Friday traditionally used to mean the Friday after Thanksgiving over the last several years, and this was even before the pandemic. It kept creeping earlier and earlier. You might as well have called it Black November, and now we should be calling it Black October.”
In fact, Deloitte reports that 50% of consumers started their 2021 holiday shopping before Thanksgiving.
3. Mobile checkout is becoming a key driver for retail holiday sales
As a local retail store, offering easy mobile checkout is becoming increasingly more important to driving sales. As mobile phone use increases, many customers are using their phones to find, research, and purchase retail items.
Today, Tidio reports that roughly half of consumers use their smartphones to compare the pricing of products or services, and that by 2024, there will likely be over 187 million active mobile shoppers in the US alone.
Is your store’s online shopping experience ready? Adobe’s E-Commerce Holiday Playbook advises that improving your smartphone checkout could be worth more than Cyber Monday, explaining, “There is effectively up to a Cyber Monday’s worth of potential revenue that retailers could unlock by improving their smartphone checkout experience.” Common complaints include too-small text, unclear checkout processes, and links that are hard to click.
4. The out of stock streak continues, driving customer dissatisfaction
With the prevalence of supply chain issues, customers are more used to seeing “out of stock” on your website or in your local retail stores.
Adobe reports that customers are receiving the “out of stock” message 5x as often as they used to before the beginning of the pandemic. While many customers are understanding about the role the pandemic has played in disrupting supply chains and affecting retail items in stock, they’re still frustrated. As Paul Boyle, CEO of Retail Insight, explained in a recent Chain Store Age article, "Poor stock availability — whether in-store or on the digital shelf — is one of the biggest drivers of customer dissatisfaction, and where baskets get abandoned and long-term loyalty can be lost."
Often, this has pushed customers to consider alternate sales channels — with in store customers looking to purchase retail items online, and vice versa. The 12th Annual Global Shopper Survey from Zebra Technologies reports that 75% of millennial shoppers have left a store without purchasing an item and instead bought the item online, with 53% of Gen X shoppers doing the same.
5. Quick retail delivery is a key differentiator
Offering quick — or free — retail delivery will continue to be an important differentiator for local retail stores, including offering retail same day delivery with a partner like DoorDash.
Over a third of merchants surveyed in ShipStation’s The Holiday Shopping Trends Report are planning to increase delivery costs, and more than a quarter will extend delivery time frames, in an effort to preserve profits. However, this is a missed opportunity: the report found that delivery speed and cost are the two most important conversion factors for online shoppers.
Offering quick, reliable retail delivery is one way to provide a high quality customer experience — an important element when 66% of Americans are likely to abandon a brand after a poor customer service experience.
How retailers can make the most of retail holiday trends
Despite these tumultuous changes, there are plenty of tactics local retail stores can take in order to keep holiday sales strong. Here are some ideas to get you started, including advice from Lakesha Lymon-Ellerbee, owner of Kesha Beauty Supply in Douglasville, GA, who offers local beauty product delivery through DoorDash:
Advertise your holiday sales and offerings early: Don’t miss out on the extended holiday sales season this year — start advertising your discounts and unique product offerings early across all of your store’ sales channels, including email marketing, social media, collateral, and signage as early as October and no later than November. For example, Lakesha plans to host Kesha Beauty Supply’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales a week before the actual holidays hit as a way to capitalize on sales. “It’s also our one year opening anniversary, so I might make it an annual tradition to have a big sale then,” she explains.
Provide an easy mobile checkout experience: If you sell retail items through your website, now is a good time to make sure the process is smooth and that your site can handle an increase in traffic. If you work with a retail delivery partner like DoorDash, our platform can help facilitate all of your DoorDash retail orders during the busy holiday season. Learn more about how DoorDash retail delivery works.
Offer local retail delivery to capture last-minute sales: During the busy holiday season, convenience is king. Having extra staff on hand to manage local deliveries or working with a partner like DoorDash retail can provide your business with a competitive advantage, especially during the peak holiday season.
Have alternative retail items available: Out of stock? Make it easy for your customers by offering alternative recommendations, and moving out of stock listings to the bottom (or off) of your website so customers are less likely to feel like they are missing out.
Provide a variety of gifts for every customer and every budget: With consumers most cost-conscious this year, consider offering a range of options — including affordable items and gift sets — that will appeal to all budgets. For example, Lakesha saw sales of gift cards spike during the holidays last year. “Around Christmas, we got a lot of people coming in looking for gift cards,” she explains. Gift cards offer a great flexible option for any budget.
Above all, provide great customer service: With how hectic the holidays can get, remember that your customers are likely feeling the pressure too. Taking a moment to greet your customers or adding a personal touch to your delivery packaging can go a long way in helping customers feel seen and taken care of. For example, Lakesha’s business has grown steadily over the past year due to her commitment to her customers. She explains, “Our motto is to make the customer feel at home. We give them one-on-one service and provide information on how to take care of their hair. I always have an automatic spray diffuser running through the store so that it smells good, and I have a ‘Kesha corner’ which is a selfie corner with beauty affirmations to help my customers feel their best.” More than just selling beauty supplies, she offers a place for her customers to relax, connect with their beauty, and feel good about themselves.
As long as you’re serious about doing the work and fulfilling orders for your customers, DoorDash is an amazing entity to have. It’s the mobile convenience you didn’t know you needed. With a business like mine, you’d be kind of crazy not to do it. – Lakesha Lymon-Ellerbee, Owner of Kesha Beauty Supply
Need more ideas? Check our guide on how to prepare for the retail holiday rush, with advice from real DoorDash merchants on making the most of holiday sales.
Looking for a partner to help you through the holidays — and beyond? Consider signing up for DoorDash for retail delivery, which makes offering online ordering and same day delivery easy and convenient for businesses like yours.