AsÂ retailers head into the make-or-break holiday peak shopping season, manyÂ companies will try to cap off a strong year by doubling downÂ on strategies to draw onlineÂ shoppers into stores,Â CBRE Group Inc., the Los Angeles-based realÂ estate and logistics services giant, said today.
One ofÂ the most common approaches in the effort to combine online and in-storeÂ shopping is to offer buy-online/ship-to-store—or BOSS—a fulfillment technique thatÂ helpsÂ stores avoid expensive, last-mile delivery fees, even as they lureÂ shoppers into brick and mortar stores where they may be tempted to make additionalÂ purchases, CBRE saidÂ in its annual Holiday Retail Trends Guide.
AccordingÂ to CBRE, BOSS is a refinement of the popularÂ buy-online/pickup-in-store (BOPIS)Â strategy that allows retailers to ship items to stores that are not regularlyÂ stocked there, allowing them to offer more inventory than they could typically stockÂ at a single store.
The twoÂ approaches have been rising in popularity, withÂ Zara saying that nearlyÂ one-third of its online orders are picked up in-store, The Home Depot usingÂ in-store pickupsÂ for 47 percent of its online orders, and craft retailerÂ Michaels forecasting that its BOPS and BOSS programs will account for almostÂ half of online sales this holiday season,Â CBRE said.
AnÂ additional retail trend expected this season will be a push by stores to rewardÂ customer loyalty in ways aside from discounts. For example, chains such asÂ Macy's,Â Kohl's,Â Target, Sephora, Nordstrom and Victoria's Secret areÂ offering exclusive experiencesÂ such as invitations to aÂ Fourth of July fireworks show, exclusiveÂ cooking classes fromÂ famous chefs, or trips to New York Fashion Week, CBREÂ said.
One more holiday trend described in the report will be anÂ expansion of sales opportunities for toys, as retailers scramble toÂ capture consumer dollarsÂ that were put intoÂ play by the recent closure of Toys R Us.
The variousÂ strategies all feed into one common goal: using enhanced capabilities to seamlesslyÂ cater to shoppers in stores, online, and on their mobile devices. "RetailersÂ have been refining and improving their omnichannel playbooks for severalÂ years, and those efforts now appear to be paying off," Melina Cordero,Â CBRE's global head of retailÂ research, said in a release. "Several ofÂ the trends we see this holiday season - includingÂ buy-online/ship-to-store services and enhanced loyalty programs - areÂ designed toÂ encourage and reward shoppers' use of multiple channels."
RetailersÂ are optimistic about a busy holiday season, on the heels of recent reports byÂ the National Retail Federation (NRF) and other groups, predicting a 4 percentÂ rise inÂ consumer holiday spending compared to 2017.
"ThisÂ looks to be a strong holiday season for retail for several reasons," BrandonÂ Famous, chairman of CBRE's Global Retail Occupier Executive Committee,Â said in aÂ statement. "In addition to the tailwinds of the robustÂ economy and strong consumer confidence, retailers as a whole have gottenÂ smarter and more efficient with theirÂ omnichannel strategies andÂ their programs for attracting and retaining customers."
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