Hybrid shopping: the big story of retail this holiday season


With supply chain shortages at the heart of buyers’ concerns, the key trend this holiday season is the growth of hybrid purchases as consumers seek inventory in both America and other Western markets.

Customers are expected to do mostly ‘hybrid shopping’ this season, which means they will be shopping across multiple channels to ensure they can find the products they want. Customers have many tools at their disposal, including the ability to shop on mobile and through social media and preview items in nearby stores while browsing online, or vice versa. Buying journeys can now involve an average of nine different touchpoints, according to Rob Garf, vice president and general manager of Salesforce.

Hybrid buying and supply chain disruption means retailers will need to be flexible. The stakes are high as this year’s holiday season approaches, which finds customers with pent-up demand as pandemic restrictions have eased since last year. Online shopping to increase: Global online sales through November and December are expected to increase 7% from last year to $ 1.2 trillion, Selling power predicted. A quarter of US online shoppers and a fifth of UK consumers expect to spend more this year overall, Forrester reports. However, this year, sourcing issues are driving decisions, meaning the role of the store is changing and the overall holiday shopping season has expanded. At the same time, social shopping is expected to pick up.

“Last year the headline was about the last mile, with retailers and brands struggling to get product to the customer’s doorstep due to overcapacity of packages relative to carriers. This year is about the first mile – going through the port in the national supply chain, ”says Garf.

Stores will support e-commerce

This year, brick-and-mortar stores will play a bigger role, both in finding and developing customers. “One of the biggest innovations that we follow is how brands are reinventing the role of the store and the store associate,” Garf said. Salesforce predicts that 60% of all digital sales globally will be influenced by physical store visits this season.

This type of metric is the reverse of historical metrics that tracked the influence of digital channels on in-store purchases. Now online sales can also be done through store inventory through online purchase, in-store pickup (called bopis), curbside pickup, in-store delivery (products delivered to nearby stores ) or shipping from the store.


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