How Agile Retailers are Preparing for the 2020 Holiday Shopping Season

Perspectives
Nov 17, 2020
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7 Min Read

The 2020 holiday shopping season is going to look different than any before it. Among those most impacted by the changes are retail businesses, with questions about how the 2020 holiday shopping will play out.  

We’ve seen our retail customers begin to prepare and adjust to the reality of 2020. By looking in aggregate at the terms Quick Base’s citizen developer community has been using more often in tables in 2020, two interesting trends from our retail customers emerged.  

First, so far in 2020, 40% more customers have used the term “Amazon” in their applications when compared to last year. This shows that more organizations in all industries are starting to embrace the potential and value of e-commerce. Since it is obviously much more difficult to reach customers in person, having a strong online presence through Amazon and giving consumers quick access to your product where they already browse and shop is an easy win. 

Amazon showed up in the applications of 40% more customers compared to 2019

Secondly, retail customers were the top users of the term “new hire” in their tables – a change from 2019, where transportation was the top user of that term. As “new hire” saw an overall 48% increase compared to 2019, it appears that retail organizations have both continued to hire and moved their onboarding process to become online. By prioritizing this remote connection, having employees ready for the new reality of work is critical to retail organizations.

New Hire was used in the applications of 48% more customers.

Quick Base’s customers with a retail focus are clearly making adjustments for 2020. So with this year’s holiday retail season hitting full swing, how will organizations adapt to the new challenges that this year’s consumer behaviors will bring?

Black Friday has left in lieu of sales all month

As CNBC pointed out, retail companies are operating under the assumption that consumers will no longer be waiting until Black Friday to start buying their holiday gifts – a survey they highlighted by Coresight Research said that 3 in 10 consumers are planning to start their holiday shopping earlier than usual. With companies such as Target, Best Buy, and Walmart having their holiday sales in full-swing already, clearly retail organizations are attempting to spread their sales out over the full month and avoid the classic images of shoppers crushing the doors at stores early on Black Friday. Further, there are expectations for a massive Cyber Monday, according to Forbes. With e-commerce providing consumers a safe way to shop and avoid stores, shoppers may lean on this more than usual.

Travel is down, impacting how we gift

While last year’s holiday season saw a record 115 million Americans travel, this year will likely keep families close to home. Performance marketing firm What If Media Group, in a survey of almost 23,000 Americans, found a 50% drop in those planning travel. With this in mind, people will be traveling less with gifts in tow for loved ones, and sending more via the mail or e-commerce. What If Media anticipates a rise in gifts such as gift cards, which are easier to send and allow for anticipation of an easier world in which to be more social and get back to the activities we’re used to.  

The most agile organizations are best equipped

While the potential for this reality has been out there as the pandemic is yet to quell, retail organizations have needed to rapidly shift their priorities, promotional plans, and strategies for this 2020 shopping season. As we saw in our platform data, retail organizations are building applications that showcase training new talent and preparing to lean on e-commerce like Amazon. These organizations building new applications, finding new priorities, and giving business users the tools to make changes they need to are the ones that are most operationally agile and ready for a new kind of holiday season. 

IT alone cannot handle the responsibility of preparing the technical resources that retail organizations need to adapt and be flexible for new, less predictable consumer behavior. By empowering business professionals across an organization to prepare their organization for the new retail reality, and not need to rely on IT, retail organizations can give their entire business the operational agility and flexibility to be ready for anything.  

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