What Does Holiday Shopping Look Like In 2020?

Posted by on Dec 7, 2015 in Innovation, Retail

Holiday Shopping as we know it has been a swarms of eager shoppers waiting in long lines for huge sales the day after Thanksgiving, and the day typically marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season. But with the advent of spin-offs like Black Friday and Cyber Monday to create more sales opportunities, and as shoppers’ become more digitally intense, the holiday retail landscape is changing quickly. Shoppers are able to take advantage of online deals from the comfort of their home and they can often find the similar deals online.

Because of this, we see plenty of media attention on the decline of Black Friday sales each year. We’re always hearing “Black Friday is dead,” but Black Friday isn’t actually dead; it’s evolved into something shaped more by the customer rather than the retailer. Black Friday shopping is, according to Think With Google, increasingly spread throughout the season, with the last Saturday before Christmas growing as one of the highest foot traffic days. What’s clear is that shoppers are forging their own journeys. They are becoming less likely to follow the predictable path constructed by the retailer, which means retailers must learn to navigate this tradition in the digitally-driven world.

There are some retail trends we’re already seeing that are changing what it means to shop through the holidays, and there are a few trends we’d love to see more of in the future.

Trends We’re Seeing

Showrooms Over Traditional Spaces

Retail spaces are going to be significantly smaller while endless digital aisles will continue to expand. During the holidays, brands want to showcase all of their products but will have less physical space to do so. By 2020, more brands will adopt showroom-type locations to exhibit 5-10% of the most popular inventory items on the floor while branded in-store tech or apps display the rest. This will be a win-win for both brands and shoppers: brands get more interaction with product without all of the cost of inventory while shoppers get a better brand experience while being able to purchase online at their own convenience.

Measuring In-Store Marketing Performance

In-store engagement metrics have started to make their way into plenty of higher-end retail stores, but we’d like to see this trend expand into more traditional retail stores. In 2020, retailers will be using both digital and in-store metrics to prepare for holiday shoppers: pathing and placement, staff and on-call predictions, inventory planning. And as retailers become more familiar with the vast amounts of data they’re gathering, they will be able to complement both data sets to understand how their customer shops and the best time to engage with them based on their behaviors.

Emerging Trends We’re Starting To See

Active Beacon Experiences

Many retailers use beacons now, but they’re almost always hidden. There’s really no reason for beacons to be hidden. By 2020, we’d like to see beacons become an interactive part of the shopping experience. By being more transparent with in-store technology, brands can help dispel some of the negative connotations around “push marketing.” Shoppers know they’re there and should have the option of communicating with the beacon for relevant content that helps them shop and gives those who want it a more streamlined experience.

Tech Enabled Staff

Many retailers already have websites and apps that give shoppers access to product details, inventory information, and shopping carts but they require a few extra steps from the shopper. In 2020, we envision shoppers using retailer customized technology that let’s shoppers the same thing, but with less friction than today’s digital experience. This technology is especially valuable when there aren’t staff readily available, as is likely to happen during the holiday shopping season. This makes it easier for brands to handle the inevitable overflow of shoppers to staff, and still keep them engaged with the products.

The landscape for just about any industry will be different in next five years, but retail is on the cusp of some amazing opportunities. What are some other trends you’re seeing in retail? Let us know on Twitter @cloudtags.