Retail Trends

Three Unified Commerce Strategies to Boost Holiday Profits in 2023

3 min read

For certain retail sectors, these two months represent up to 34 percent of their annual revenue, demonstrating the importance of utilizing unified commerce capabilities to maximize profitability.

The National Retail Federation anticipates that holiday spending in November and December will grow between 3-4%, equivalent to between $957.3 billion and $966.6 billion. According to PwC’s 2023 Holiday Outlook, almost 40% of holiday shoppers are projected to spend more.

PwC’s report demonstrates the significance of many retailers’ unified commerce initiatives in recent years. Here are three strategies that will assist retailers in delivering the speed, personalization, and convenience that customers are seeking this holiday season.

Offer Unique and Immersive In-Store Experiences to Attract More Customers

Many people, including a significant percentage of Gen Z (67% vs. 58% overall), who are known for their digital savvy, prefer to browse for gift ideas in person before making a purchase. As the actual purchase location is no longer confined to physical stores, it is crucial for retailers to engage customers with their brand actively.

Retailers have devised innovative ways to enhance their offerings, including services, events, and workshops, which pay off as 81% of global consumers are willing to pay more for elevated shopping experiences. These can be seamlessly integrated with purchases at the point of sale (POS) to encourage repeat visits. Augmented Reality (AR) shopping experiences and smart mirrors, for example, provide additional opportunities for customers to envision themselves with the products on sale.

However, as Gartner defines it and we had the opportunity to explain in our last webinar about Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Retail Technologies 2023, immersive experiences do not necessarily require technologies such as AR, MR, or the metaverse. Leveraging richer data that store associates have access to and can use to assist customers better is another way to enhance customer experience. 

This richer data can power in-store assisted sales scenarios that enable retailers to offer a higher degree of personalization in the store, while effective customer data management can help build relationships with customers even after a sale is completed. With the blurring of online/offline interactions into a unified experience, a robust mobile strategy should be considered an integral part of the in-store experience.

Reduce Checkout Lines at Peak Times to Preserve Sales

During the holiday season, losses can accumulate due to customers choosing to purchase items elsewhere, spending less, or abandoning their purchases. 

Retailers can significantly reduce checkout queues by implementing a POS solution that facilitates and accelerates the checkout process. This includes deploying mobile POS devices during peak times, incorporating unified commerce options, accepting the latest payment methods, and adding self-checkout terminals.

In addition, retailers can leverage the latest technologies in retail payment, such as Tap on Phone, which allows retailers to use any cell phone or tablet with NFC (Near Field Communication) technology to accept contactless payments without additional devices. 

Impress Customers with a Fast and Efficient Returns Process

In 2022, about 16.5 percent of (in-store and online) retail purchases in the United States resulted in returns, which accounted for $816 billion U.S., a seven percent increase from the $761 billion reported the previous year. Customers who have a negative experience when returning items are less likely to return to the same retailer in the future.

According to the NRF’s 2022 Consumer Returns in the Retail Industry report, 44% of retailers plan to hire additional staff to handle the influx of returns during the holiday season. Out of those, over 70% plan to increase staff in their physical stores. Since returns are a crucial touchpoint for retailers, they should view them as a unique opportunity to build customer loyalty and encourage future sales.

A retail solution such as Openbravo Commerce Cloud can ensure that returns are processed fast and in a convenient way for customers and associates, from sales made in the stores or the online channel.