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Last-Minute Strategies for Holiday Retail Success

BOPIS, AI and returns loom large as shopping season winds down

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As the holiday shopping season ticks down to its final few frenzied days, strategies for making the most of last-minute sales and being ready for an avalanche of returns loom large, says data crunched by Salesforce.com. Here are some major recent seasonal findings by the e-commerce giant:

As the shipping cut-off window closes, shoppers are turning to BOPIS: The Buy Online Pick Up In-Store (BOPIS) option has increased as shoppers look to avoid in-store lines and shipping deadlines ahead of peak holidays. BOPIS accounted for 25 percent of online orders during the three weeks following Cyber Monday, and reached 28 percent of all orders placed the weekend of Dec. 16.

Salesforce predicts BOPIS usage will surge during Christmas Week (Dec. 18–Dec. 25): With the ground shipping window closed, one-third of online orders will be for BOPIS.

AI is driving shoppers to hit the buy button: 17 percent of all orders have been influenced by AI since Nov. 1. Salesforce now predicts that AI is on track to influence $194 billion in holiday sales for the full holiday season.

The returns tsunami is back: Following a busy Cyber Week, the percentage of returns more than doubled in the week following and has remained high. As consumers become more discerning about discretionary spending, this indicates that consumers may be thinking twice about their purchases and returning those that don’t provide the value they’re looking for.

Salesforce now predicts over $131 billion worth of orders purchased this holiday season will be returned in the next year.

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“Seamless fulfillment and easy returns will be key strategies for retailers looking to increase loyalty and profitability through the remainder of the holiday,” says Rob Garf, Salesforce’s VP and GM of Retail and Consumer Goods. “Retailers that are efficiently fulfilling online orders from physical stores, especially during these peak shopping days, can extend their shipping cutoff date and win market share.”

Click here for more holiday-related shopping insights from Salesforce.

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