An estimated 151 million people visited a mall over the weekend of last Black Friday. According to a report by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), retailers with an omnichannel sales strategy were the preferred destination for buyers, as they captured 88% of sales.

What are customers looking for?

Each nation has its own unique cultures and behaviors and therefore its own unique attitudes towards shopping. Depending on the different parts of the world, interesting differences can be seen in each region, but also many striking similarities.

For retailers it is necessary to know which aspects are most important both on online and mobile shopping portals and in physical stores. According to the Wirecard Holiday Shopping Report, it should be noted that the main criteria to buy in store and online are the same:

  • Price was the number one priority, with more than half of respondents scoring it among its “3 most important factors.”
  • Followed by the quality of the products.
  • Special offers and seasonal discounts came in third place
  • This was followed by brand affinity, the ability to return items and get refunds easily, shipping time and the flexibility to pay with the currency you choose or use the local currency.

From a retailer’s perspective, it’s fascinating to see how online and in-store shopping is blurring international lines.

Which channels do customers prefer to buy?

From retailers’ point of view, video advertising bureau (VAB) believes all channels are worthwhile, and states that working with a number of them is the best way to attract hard-to-reach consumers. 29% of companies adopted a multi-step channel in 2014, number that has grown to the 62% of today.

Data corroborated from the other end, where the staggering rise of mobile devices continues to accelerate. Four out of ten consumers choose to use one app or a mobile site to make yourpurchases, thus unsoftening purchases through a computer.

However, it is not a “channel-versus-channel” fight, in fact, 82% consumers are very likely to combine different channels during their purchase process.

However, if there is an outstanding finding it would be that almost all buyers use different channels as a matter of routine since, throughout the customer’s journey, they discover, research, comparing between the different options and finally buying in the one that offers them the best results.

The 75% of the British, 77% of the Germans and 79% of the Americans confirm edife this finding, and the figures on other continents were even higher, 86% in Singapore, 90% in Hong Kong and 92% in Brazil. But, if one figure is to be highlighted is that of Malaysia, where a 96 % of the consumers said that it was likely or very likely that they would combine several channels when buying.

To better understand the desire for omnichannel experiences, it’s interesting to evaluate buyers’ main reasons for combining channels. More than half of said who focus their attention on the price difference, and the 18% says it compares similar product offerings. Others said they use the combination of different channels to test products before buying, to avoid shipping costs, to get their products faster or to look for discounts.

Black Friday is still in the lead

On the other hand, it is imperative for retailers to understand how to meet the needs of customers and also remain c-ompetittive and relevant in the market. This is important not only during major sales peaks, but to cultivate customer loyalty to come back again and again.

Black Friday is the undisputed star of global commerce, and this day has become an international phenomenon. In fact, in the seven main countries for which the Wirecard survey was conducted, nearly four out of ten respondents said that it is on the day is when they spend more. Highlights include Brazil, with 67% buyers, willing to spend more during Black Friday.

In addition to Black Friday, which is of great relevance worldwide. Different purchase events have different levels of success depending on the region. For the vast majority of consumers, Christmas shopping plays an important role, so retailers should use this event as a driver for their sales, with attractive offers and defining the right approach for each consumer. However, these are not the only dates indicated:

  • The CyberMonday, despite being so close to Black Friday, is growing in popularity, in fact, the 11 shoppers plan to spend more during this day than on any other holiday.
  • The Advent season has loyal fans such as the United Kingdom, Germany and Brazil, although it is less popular in the United States.
  • However, while Black Friday has the world’s biggest appeal, in the Asian area it is overshadowed by its less-known rival, China’s so-called “11st Shopping Festival”, also known as the “Singles Day”. Therefore, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong planned to participate in this event. Due to their absolute dominance in China, during this event, more than double the sales of Black Friday and Cyber Monday are generated together.

Why is “Single Day” treading hard?

First of all, it’s not about sending more and more products at irresistible prices. But this day, it has generated new ideas in the retail sector, as marketing experts create attractive campaigns that not only drive sales, but increase affinity with the brand and attract customers to new and exciting experiences.

New location-based mobile services, virtual reality apps, and things like “smart mirrors” help immerse consumers at the event in a much richer way than standard online shopping, merging elegantly the world of entertainment and shopping.

According to Alibaba on the 11th of 11 he aspires to become something like the Olympics or the Superbowl, an event that marketing experts must analyze and where the brands hreach out to impress the Chinese consumers mainly and the rest of the world.

Festival 11.11 takes advantage of popular culture in new and interesting ways, national television galas define current pop culture trends and attract big global celebrities. Up to 200 million Chinese buyers tune into these shows, gather and turn the night before 11.11 into a national event.

All this drives new forms of payment. Retailers not only have to meet incredible volumes of payments, but they also have to meet a wide variety of pag preferences or, from shopping going through the physical stores up to the mobile wallets. For example, Alibaba attracts customers to get great offline deals when they use their Alipay e-wallet to pay in malls.

It’s time to take a chance

In general, humans are usual creatures, and it is true that once a store or website we like, we often continue to return there. There are several reasons for this, in the online field, one of the most important reasons is the mistrust of entering credit card details in new unknown stores.

Therefore, the most relevant sales events represent a unique opportunity for new retailers to attract more customers through irresistible offers, because during those days shoppers are more willing to try something new, and give them an opportunity for new service providers.

More than half of buyers said they are likely to buy from a new store or try a new brand during shopping on designated dates, and almost a third (77%) says they are very likely to do so.

While this figures help major e-commerce retailers consolidate their power, this is encouraging news for smaller niches and regional retailers, offering a more special and Custom. To do this, they must meet a number of requirements:

  • Enable an exceptional shopping experience based on omnichannel technology; with attractive prices, personalized offers and optimal customer service, not only in terms of advice, but also complaints and exchange.
  • Accept a variety of payment methods to minimize friction. Offering popular payment solutions such as Alipay, which offer a new group of customers to Western retailers.
  • Free shipping is very important for stationary retailers, especially with large or product-based ones.

Mobile shopping adds value to the experience

Finally, as mentioned in a previous section, mobile sales have boomed in recent times, and almost half of consumers choose mobile payments as one of the two best options purchase (46%).

This means that accepting mobile payments is an absolute necessity for traders, as the trend shows no signs of slowing down.

Virtual and augmented reality services with a 26% (such as the ability to “test” a garment) took second place, followed by artificial intelligence.

Today’s consumer is increasingly tech-savvy. Any technology that offer greater value to buy , whether it’s an augmented reality, a mirror or about make products easier to understand. In addition, they are fun and make shopping a memorable experience.

Conclusions

Consumers expect an omnichannel experience, even when most of them would never use the word “omnichannel” to describe what they want. Christmas shopping, Black Friday or any other sales-focused event drives up the profits of the retail industry. That’s why it’s important for retailers to be prepared to meet those expectations, no matter what it costs.

Preparing for these events means much more than sending the first Black Friday promotional email on November 1. It also means making sure your omnichannel strategies are ready and waiting to meet customer expectations.

Some of the essentials when it comes to meeting customer expectations, and what retailers can do are:

  • Global Strategy: You cannot customize every customer journey between October or November. However, there are many steps that can be taken to help tailor each customer’s short-term needs, such as using pop-ups, giving the information they are looking for or a real-time chat.
  • Provide transparency to inventory: visibility not only to the number of products you have, but also to a assessment of the likelihood that the consumer will actually get it. Especially when the ultimate goal is to bring consumers to the store, it should provide some kind of online visibility into inventories to ensure the trip to the physical store is worthit.
  • Mobile experience: A good option is to enable two areas on mobile for shopping events, and more time and effort should be spent ensuring that these provide high-quality customer experiences, card purchases from gift and gift guides.