Holiday Shopping – Better Gifting with Technology

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Category: Andy Marken's blog Published on Saturday, 16 November 2013

Nothing to Wear – How often does your significant other stand in the closet and say he/she has nothing to wear? Lots! To prove how bad the financial situation was a store in Berlin opened their doors to folks who were willing to shop in their undies. Seems like a great way to show your government how bad things are this year, but only if you do don’t visit the mall’s food court first!

 

You probably didn’t realize it but the minute the Halloween goblins leave, people start going online to shop for Christmas.

 

Well, at least that’s what Wal-Mart has found, so they cranked up their holiday buying season on November 1 with a great selection of “Early Bird Online Specials.” Not to be outdone, so did Macy’s, Target and Toys-R-Us.

 

Everyone is saying, “Hey, we know you really want to shop early.”

 

For the people who are on diets, Macy’s, Penney’s and several other retailers – this obviously includes all the great online sites –will be open Thanksgiving.

 

Almost Here

It doesn’t much matter that Ipsos Research reports that 41 percent of shoppers won’t do most of their holiday shopping until mid-December.

 

Of course, 24 percent of the folks just let Christmas sneak up on them and don’t complete their shopping until the last minute. Then there’s the eight percent of the people who get their shopping done after Christmas Day – it’s a great way to ensure the recipient doesn’t get a duplicate.

 

Even though retailers are hoping for about a four percent increase in sales this holiday (up from 3.5 percent last year), and a 15 percent increase in online sales, they aren’t taking any chances because the last quarter determines if make a profit for the year.

 

Storefronts have seen the ecommerce numbers – projected to be $61.8B this year – so every retailer will have a robust tricked out online presence, not just folks like eBay, Amazon, macsales and others.

Click Shopping – While the percentage of online holiday shopping has declined slightly over the past few years, the total volume of ecommerce has steadily increased. The amount of money folks spend online hasn’t gone unnoticed by storefront retailers who continue to build out websites and a growing array of mobile device services to attract your loyalty … and money.

 

Since there are only four weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas, retailers aren’t taking any chances. They’re going to encourage you with free shipping, personalized services, reminders on all of your devices and a wild barrage of online/mobile coupons.

 

Shopping Assistants

Retailers understand that people (63 percent) are going to shop around a lot more for price, and a specific brand doesn’t carry as much weight as it used to.

 

They also know your tablet and smartphone are your new shopping assistants.

 

Researchers found that people will do their holiday shopping in all of the environments – in-store, PC, mobile – and 80 percent will use more than one channel/device simultaneously.

 

Mcommerce has become an integral part of today’s retail spending. In fact, according to eMarketer, retail mobile or mcommerce sales will reach $41.8B this year.

 

Mobile Hunt

That’s why you see a lot of mobile apps and websites from all of the really smart retailers.

Personal Shopper – Since you’re going to keep your trusted shopping companion – smartphone/tablet with you this holiday season, retailers are beefing up their apps and mobile sites to provide you with information, ideas and discounts to improve their sales for the year.

 

Mobile devices not only produce direct sales, they help bring the consumer into the store, enable them to do product research while they’re in the store or drive them to their PC where they make the purchase.

 

Tablets have edged out smartphones for mcommerce but I have to admit I’m still “a little” uncomfortable taking mine into the store. But sitting comfortably on the sofa and using it to scour the web fun … when the apps and sites are there BAM!

Tool of Choice – The tablet may be your second (some call it first) entertainment screen of choice; but when it comes to finding gifts for friends and family, it quickly changes into the preferred shopping guide.

 

If it isn’t there instantly, hey I’m outta’ there because the holiday is fast approaching.

 

Mobile store windows are an integral part of today’s consumer buying expectations.

 

It’s rather sad that whoever got paid for that work didn’t bother testing them across all platforms … they probably had to move on to the government insurance project.

 

eMarketer found that 76 percent of smartphone owners will use the device when shopping this holiday season, up 17 percent from last year. In fact, one in four smartphone owners plan to use their devices to make a purchase, up 21 percent from the prior year.

 

ShopperTrak projects you’ll make fewer store visits this year, so you’ll want to make every visit count.

 

Sure, there are still those people who need the excitement and adrenaline rush of Black Friday and Super Saturday; but since Christmas falls on Wednesday, you really need to be focused, driven and … organized.

 

According to the recent CEA (Consumer Electronics Association) management conference, 74 percent of the people surveyed across the country will be buying CE products as gifts this year, dropping about one-third of the gift budget on the products.

 

Family’s List

They reported that the average gift budget is $1,431, which means someone isn’t spending their share when I look at my family’s “Santa Dearest” list.

Tablet Fever – While a lot of experts were less than enthusiastic when Apple unveiled the iPad Air, consumers didn’t quite agree and it will probably be on a lot of folks “really want” gift list this year. Of course, tablets of every shape/brand will be in demand this year.

 

I was doing O.K. until Cook introduced the iPad Air and my daughter read up on it. The drama queen will just die if “Santa” doesn’t have one tucked under the tree for her Christmas morning … I really hate that pouty pretty-please look she has.

 

Our son is O.K. with his pretty new Samsung Galaxy and Asus tablet, but a new game system and/or ultrabook with SSD would really be neat. After all, both would help his eye/mind/hand coordination and be “very” useful for school.

 

The wife couldn’t think of anything she really “needed” until we visited one of the stores and she saw the images on the new 4K or UltraHD TV sets. Naturally, they were showing Galaxy on it, which we had recently seen at a Dolby special preview so it looked really good. The only thing it lacked was the Dolby Atmos 128 channel sound, but I suppose that’s a little too much to hope for in a home set.

 

But that made me think about a product I had recently seen at NanoTech Entertainment.

It would be a great way to ditch the cable company because it provides 4K movies and online TV/web content streamed to the set.

 

Cord-Cutting Gift – This could be the year we join the millions who have decided to cut (completely or partially) their TV cable and fully embrace the world of online entertainment content that’s available (games, videos, shows, movies, you name it). New boxes combined with super 4K TV sets at terrific prices are going to make it easy for more and more people.

 

NanoTech’s Nuvola looks a lot like the long-promised Apple iTV, but it comes with a much more open set of options like a decent selection of games. And since it includes Android, I can tap into an even bigger set of games on Google’s site.

 

It addition, it supports Nvidia’s GeForce GTX GPU PC games, so I’d be able to check that off the son’s wishlist.

 

So getting the NanoTech unit and 4K TV set they’re going to bundle with it seems to meet all of our needs plus the added bonus of not paying the cable company any more like the hundreds of thousands who have cut their connection.

 

Get in Shape

I’ll probably get Santa something in the fitness technology category; because next year, I’m really going to get serious about getting into shape.

 

I just wish the economy would improve “a little more” and that the guys (and gals) in Washington were as interested in shaping up.

 

Can’t dwell on that too much because the holidays are just around the corner and we all have a lot of work to do.

Planning Your Moves – People everywhere are finding that they can save time, energy and money by going online to research their potential purchase – product info, reviews, best prices, coupons, service/support – at home and in the store. To keep your money where it belongs, retailers have increasingly introduced price-matching policies, so don’t be afraid to use your mobile device … even in the store.

 

Deloitte’s Holiday survey found that consumers will primarily use smartphones to find store locations (56 percent), research prices (54 percent), gather all of the product information we need (47 percent) and browse product lines (45 percent). They also found that two-thirds (63 percent) of tablet owners plan to use their tablets for holiday shopping this year, with “shop or browse online” ranking as the No. 1 activity.

 

Looks like they’re all convinced that technology really does pave the way to better gifting.

 

So get online ... fast. Then hit the stores like the savvy shopper you are!

 

If you don’t, next year Wal-Mart will open their virtual doors after Labor Day. Hits: 927