augmented reality will be an online shopping and commerce trend this holiday season.

Retailers Are Going Experiential For 2019 Holiday Shoppers

From mock showrooms to augmented reality experiences, retailers are aiming to entice consumers this holiday season with experiential shopping experiences.

That’s the main finding from a survey of 403 U.S. retailers in October, 56% of whom said they expect to add experiential elements to attract customers. The “Adobe Holiday Retailer Survey” also found 66% of retailers believe their loyalty programs are key during this busy shopping period.

“Gone are the days of sell, sell, sell in retail,” said Gary Specter, vice president, global head of GTM, Commercial Business, at Adobe. “Today’s consumers want to experience a brand, and these more immersive moments are playing a role in driving actual transactions. The good news is this survey finds that more than two-thirds of retailers understand this consumer expectation, and they have a few experiences up their sleeves for the holidays.”

Retailers also indicated that social media influencer programs (62%) are going to be important for driving holiday sales, as are mobile apps (73%).

The survey found the majority of retailers appear to be optimistic about holiday sales, with almost two-thirds expecting 2019 to outperform 2018. In addition, two-thirds have gotten a jumpstart on offering deals, given there are six fewer shopping days between Cyber Monday and Christmas than in 2018, and just 41% of respondents indicated concern about the shorter shopping timeframe.

The survey also dug into the use of voice technology and found only 7% of retailers use it as a sales tool. However, 62% are investigating or have plans to use voice for sales in the future.

2019 Holiday Shopping Trends
2019 Holiday Shopping Trends
2019 Holiday Shopping Trends

We analyzed more than a trillion visits to over 4,500 retail sites to arm you with the most comprehensive and accurate insights for retail and e-commerce. Check out our holiday 2019 predictions, actuals, and analysis.

Meantime, BOPIS–buy online, pick up in-store–will be a popular service for increasing shopping cart size. A whopping 94% of retailers surveyed said a physical presence gives them an edge over those that just sell online, and 55% offer the BOPIS option. Additionally, 46.5% said BOPIS already represents a significant portion of their sales.

Retailers acknowledged some challenges they expect to face during the holidays. Forty percent expressed concerned about staying price relevant, 23% are worried about shipping to consumers on time, 22% are focused on converting online visits, and 20% are most concerned about competing on perks such as free shipping.

“Key to jumping these hurdles is going to be driving more engagement during the holidays, especially since the season is shorter,” Specter told CMO by Adobe. “Increasing communication and experiences with people is going to help drive sales.”

Indeed, 78% of retailers surveyed said they plan to do exactly that, with the shorter shopping season being a primary driver. Sixty-one percent plan to send holiday-specific marketing emails, text messages, and social posts.

“There’s going to be a lot of noise this year during the holidays,” Specter added. “Standing out is going to be tough. Retailers will need to find fun, new ways to win consumer hearts and minds because in today’s experience-led age, that’s the only way to win wallets.”

See the full findings below, or click here to view it on SlideShare.

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