Top E-commerce Trends
This Holiday Season

Jake Weatherly

Over the last decade, holiday shopping has slowly evolved, and numbers are now showing that physically going to a store or the mall to shop is becoming a thing of the past. According to the National Retail Federation, 44% of holiday shopping will be done online in 2014. With so many people transitioning to online shopping, the customer’s online experience is becoming as important as customers’ in-store experience. Retail giants as well as small businesses are restructuring their marketing plans to ensure that they can give consumers a consistent omni-channel experience.

Here are the top three trends in e-commerce marketing this holiday season:

 Free Shipping

Online shoppers are well aware that shipping costs may be added onto final purchases, but once they hit check out, the additional cost is enough to make some consumers abandon their cart altogether. According to a recent UPS and comScore survey, 81% of online shoppers thought it was important for retailers to include free shipping. Currently about 50% of ecommerce sites include free shipping with a purchase, but this holiday season this number is on the rise since free shipping helps to increase customer satisfaction and prevent consumers from abandoning their purchase.

In-store Pick Up

While free shipping may be more prominent this holiday season, many companies like Target, Best Buy, and Lowe’s are also pushing in-store pick up of items ordered online. The option of ordering online and picking up in-store has multiple benefits for the retailer, as well as the consumer. Businesses save money on all the orders that do not have to be shipped out. Stores will also be able to drive more revenue from the foot traffic that trickles in to pick up their online purchases in person. According to the UPS and comScore survey, 43% of shoppers buy additional items when they physically go to a store to pick up their online order. In-store pick up also has a positive effect on consumers’ shopping experience because it is convenient. Shoppers can order items online, pick their order up immediately, and they don’t have to go around the store looking for the items they want – everything is ready and waiting for them at the checkout counter.

Targeted Online Discounts

In the past, retailer stores have offered exclusive discounts for groups like the military, students and teachers. These discounts were only available in-stores with proof of affiliation, creating frustration among online and mobile shoppers who were not able to redeem their exclusive discount during the online shopping process.  According to a survey done by SheerID, 71% of military personnel would use a military discount more often if it were redeemable online. Now, stores like Foot Locker, Costco, and Spotify are able to offer exclusive discounts online and make online customers’ shopping experiences even better, thanks to verification software. Adding exclusive, targeted discounts to online stores allows companies to easily reach new customer segments and increase customer satisfaction during their shopping experience.

This holiday season, retailers are working to make sure customers have the same positive shopping experience both in-store and online, making everyone’s gift buying experience merry and bright.

Jake Weatherly is a co-founder of SheerID, the first and only online software platform to provide instant and seamless eligibility verification. As CEO, Jake spends much of his time and energy on the overall vision and direction of SheerID. When he is not concentrating on company culture, channel expansion, and strategic partnerships Jake is consistently pushing to reach company milestones ahead of time and under budget.