84% of shoppers are concerned about packages arriving on time in 2022, Loqate holiday survey finds.
84% of shoppers are concerned about packages arriving on time in 2022, Loqate holiday survey finds.
In ecommerce, the path to a sale starts with marketing and a great customer experience that communicates how a brand intends to serve a customer. But when it comes to delighting customers and building loyalty, it’s the brands that follow through with their commitments that really deliver.
As peak season gets underway in 2022, considerations like free shipping, on-time delivery and product availability are continuing to rise on shoppers’ lists, according to the results of a recent holiday survey from location intelligence service Loqate.
“Consumers continue to become more demanding and sophisticated with their delivery expectations. Retailers face the very real risk of losing a customer forever if they let them down,” said Matthew Furneaux, the director of location intelligence at Loqate and a retail and ecommerce expert who has worked with Nordstrom, Sephora, Kohl’s, Ralph Lauren and Michaels through his role.
These rising expectations are the result of two years of change in retail that is reshaping how people shop going forward.
In 2020, ecommerce became more widespread with the onset of the pandemic, leading shoppers to become more comfortable with not just the convenience of ordering from a mobile phone and the selection offered by the web, but also the tools embedded in online shopping experiences. Now, delivery guarantees and package tracking are checklist items for what a consumer wants from a retailer, right alongside the product details and reviews.
In 2021, supply chain backups made consumers more aware than ever of the processes that bring packages to their door. Global shipping issues may have mostly resolved this year, but people don't just forget what they learned, and how it impacted them. As a result, shoppers now may be more apt to consider whether items are in stock, and delivery times.
These factors are shaping how shoppers plan out their holiday shopping in 2022. According to Loqate’s survey, 87% of consumers globally plan to start shopping before December, showing that many plan to get an early jump on the season to address these concerns.
In doing so, they are picking the brands and retailers that they know will be able to provide the items that they want. In America, 52% of consumers report that availability of products impacts their loyalty to a brand or retailer.
“As we all live more of our day to day lives online, many consumers are prepared to extend high levels of loyalty to brands that can meet their needs in a timely way,” Furneaux said. “And in the era of one-touch, next day or even same day delivery, our expectation of stock availability has never been greater. Retailers should be leveraging the power of location intelligence solutions to ensure that inventory is where it needs to be, in relation to their customer locations, to optimize the purchase experience.”
Matthew Furneaux. (Courtesy photo)
At the same time, shoppers want to ensure they will receive items when retailers say they will deliver them. The survey found that 84% of shoppers are concerned about packages arriving on time. This can be make-or-break, as many aren't willing to give second chances after late deliveries. To be sure, it can be a matter of generational expectations, as 46% of Baby Boomers are unlikely to purchase from a retailer after a late delivery. Meanwhile, it’s only a deciding factor for 38% of Gen X, 28% of Millennials and 29% of Gen Z. The point is that delivery is an area that is closely watched by consumers, even though it comes after a sale is already made.
A customer's worries can be addressed on the frontend of a purchase, Furneaux said. Retailers can enhance their checkout with tools such as address auto-complete.
“The good news is that online brands can mitigate many of the risks associated with late or failed delivery by ensuring accurate address and location data is quickly and efficiently captured in the checkout,” Furneaux said. “Even if consumers wish to use their preferred digital wallet, it’s still vital to ensure the address for that particular purchase, especially if it's a gift, is accurate.”
In the end, these data points all offer a reminder that the details are important. This year, inflation is getting the headlines as the force that is shaping holiday shopping, and discounts will surely be a factor in an environment that is expected to be exceptionally promotional. But the back-end of a purchase can matter just as much as the front-end offers that pull them in. Loqate’s survey found that 18% of consumers consider free shipping to be the most important factor in a purchase, while promotions and discounts were at the top of the list for 17% of shoppers.It’s going to be a unique year, but shoppers are carrying the experiences of the last two with them. Nail the basics and meet their expectations, and it’s an opportunity to build relationships that last beyond this season.
Plus, check out peak holiday shopping weekend results shared by Klaviyo, Wayfair and Ace Hardware.
At Amazon, 2022 delivered the "biggest ever" Thanksgiving weekend to date.
ustomers purchased a record number of products from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, the company said in a news release Wednesday. Amazon did not disclose sales figures, while sharing that “hundreds of millions” of products were purchased.
"This was a record-breaking holiday shopping weekend for Amazon,” said Doug Herrington, Amazon’s CEO of Worldwide Stores, in a statement. “Customers shopped millions of deals this weekend and we have many more amazing deals to come.”
It came as record sales and traffic were reported for US ecommerce as a whole during the peak shopping weekend.
Despite the growth, Amazon is still expressing a cautious approach that led it to forecast more tepid sales growth over 2021 for the all-important holiday quarter. According to Bloomberg, CEO Andy Jassy said Wednesday that inflation is leading shoppers to seek deals.
“Consumers are spending, but they’re being careful about trying to stretch their dollar,” Jassy said at the New York Times DealBook conference.
This year, Amazon sought to get an early jump on the shopping holidays to reach bargain hunters. It began Black Friday deals on Thanksgiving, as many shoppers turned to their phones after dinner. For Cyber Monday, deals started on Saturday.
Over the Turkey 5, the best-selling categories were home, fashion, toys, beauty and Amazon devices. Electronics including Echo Dot, Fire TV Stick, and Apple AirPods were the best-selling items. Other top sellers included Hasbro Gaming Connect 4, Burt’s Bees Christmas gifts, apparel from Champion, apparel and shoes from New Balance, the Amazon smart plug, Echo Show and Nintendo Switch.
Amazon said that more than $1 billion in sales were generated for US small businesses through the weekend. This includes third-party sellers that offer goods on Amazon’s marketplace and access its logistics services through Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA).
“If the news of Amazon having the best Black Friday weekend in company history is any clue, it was historic for 3P sellers in many ways,” said Jon Elder, who consults with Amazon sellers as founder and CEO of Black Label Advisor.
Elder said that the vast majority of FBA sellers experienced “tremendous” year-over-year growth through the weekend.
“Sellers noticed that customers were hungry for deals like never before and coupons played especially well,” Elder said. “Some sellers opted to not sign up for deals and still experienced historic traffic and sales.”
Sellers also ramped up PPC, or pay-per-click, in which brands and sellers access sponsored product space to appear in prominent positions on the highly-trafficked marketplace.
“With inflation on the rise, it was more important than ever to increase brand awareness through PPC ads, including video ads. Expect to see brands make this a ‘best practice’ going forward,” Elder said.
Despite all the sales ringing up, Black Friday did bring one curve ball, as a glitch in Amazon’s ad tools led to inaccurate reporting of spend that misled brands and advertisers. According to Business Insider, the sitewide reporting error caused agencies and other ad buyers to either overspend, or miss out on sales as a result of underspending. While a spokesperson said the issue was fixed, it caused a state of confusion on retail’s most important day of the year, as many were forced to wait for a fix.
Nevertheless, the weekend's overall results serve as a reminder that the Thanksgiving shopping period remains the largest weekend of the year for ecommerce, even as Amazon has introduced Prime Day and this year’s early October holiday kickoff event, which it dubbed Prime Early Access Sale.
The Prime sale events are “unique to the Amazon ecosystem, but many Americans simply don’t show up for those events as much because of the time of the year," Elder said.
"Black Friday weekend remains king and the numbers prove that."
Here are a few more key data points over the Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend that were shared this week:
How many sales do the volumes of messages being sent by brands account for? One of the largest platforms is offering hard numbers. Klaviyo, which serves direct-to-consumer businesses, said revenue attributed to its SMS and email marketing messages reached $2.2 billion during Black Friday-Cyber Monday. That represents a 46% increase in dollars over 2021, while total order count reached 34% year-over-year. The growth was even more staggering in SMS-attributed sales alone, which grew 200% in dollars and $190 in order count.
Black Friday was the highest day for message sends, but Cyber Monday closed the gap from 2021, with 47% growth.
This came after businesses using the platform sent a combined 10.7 billion emails and text messages—up 41% from 2021.
While Klaviyo’s growth is likely a factor, it’s a fair bet that a shift toward owned marketing channels following Apple’s App Tracking Transparency played a role in this growth.
A pair of retailers in the furniture and home improvement categories released sales results showing growth.
Wayfair, the furniture home goods marketplace, reported a “low single digit sales increase” over 2021 for Thanksgiving weekend. Over the five days, 73% of the orders were from repeat customers, while “hundreds of thousands” of new customers ordered from Wayfair for the first time. Wayfair said its revenue strengthened following an early November earnings call, in which the company shared its revenue was down 10% quarter-to-date.
Ace Hardware, meanwhile, may known for its local stores, but ecommerce was the focus of its holiday update. Black Friday brought a record online sales day for the home improvement and tools retailer, posting 45% growth over 2021. Cyber Monday also saw a year-over-year jump of 33%. Ace said demand spiked for grills and smokers, electric mowers and snow blowers, while power tools also remained a popular category. In all, Ace saw a 33% increase in ecommerce sales over 2021 during the five-day weekend.
Ace sells through its ecommerce site, but its omnichannel model remains heavily linked to its neighborhood-level stores. The company said that 90% of online orders are either picked up in store, at curbside or delivered by store associates.
“Our continuous investments in the digital and omnichannel shopping experience make it easy for customers to shop Ace any way they prefer," said Bill Kiss, head of digital at Ace Hardware, in a statement.