Holiday Takeaways: A Retail To-Do List For 2016

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As retailers count their receipts and/or lick their wounds from Holiday 2015, MasterCard has released what it considers to be the top lessons learned from the ghost of Christmas Just Past.

Based on aggregated and anonymized transaction data and a global consumer survey, the financial services firm has put together a portrait of the new breed of shopper — the “omnishopper” — who aggressively uses technology to interact with brands across multiple channels in-store or online, day or night, via mobile or laptop, and holiday or not.

This highly empowered end-user “just plain loves to shop,” MasterCard said, and is getting better at it all the time thanks to mobile and other tech advancements that put product research, competitive options, discounts, and purchase functions at their fingertips. Literally.

MasterCard believes that the holiday’s winning retailers were those best able to cater to omnishoppers, and that merchants who continue to meet their needs are the most likely to build on that performance throughout the new year.

To that end, here are the company’s top five items for a 2016 retail to-do list:

1Technology is Queen: Eight out of 10 consumers shop using a computer, smartphone, laptop or in-store technology, MasterCard found. Investing smartly in technology that informs and delights these consumers will add more interaction points for customers that will pave new paths to purchase;

2 Commit to … Commitment Marketing: Consumers want to be brand loyal, so help them … by forming commitments that increase the intensity of the relationships, MasterCard said. When customers make an investment that pays tangible benefits, they are forging a bond that is difficult to break. Think Amazon Prime subscription, Costco membership or Dick’s Sporting Goods purchases that fund sports programs as noteworthy examples.

3 Create Desirable Content, Often: Consumers shop all the time, but the number of merchants they visit regularly is falling — from 28 to 25, on average, in the U.S. To keep them engaged and interested, content across all marketing channels must be robust and updated constantly. If you bore them, you’ll lose them

4 Dig into Data: Retailers have more access than ever before on how and why shoppers shop. Put it to good use by leveraging transactional and social media data to uncover insights that will add further value and specificity to your offerings.

5 Stock Up: About three-quarters of shoppers are most frustrated by unavailable inventory, even more so than shipping. What’s the point of teasing a purchase only to leave them disappointed? Keep the supply chain pristine, and you’ll get, keep and grow your customer base.  

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