With only days to go until Christmas, retailers are making their final sales pitch to shoppers who still have gifts to buy.
Data from Adobe Inc. shows that shoppers in the U.S. have spent $89.89 billion online so far this holiday shopping season through Dec. 17, or roughly 83.7% of the $107.4 billion that shoppers are expected to spend from Nov. 1-Dec. 25. With more than $17.5 billion in sales still potentially at stake, retailers have spent this week stating their case to shoppers to earn their business.
Oscar Castro, vice president of e-commerce marketing at gourmet treats brand Harry & David (parent company 1-800 Flowers.com Inc. is No. 59 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 500) says that Christmas falling on a Monday this year has affected shopper buying patterns this year.
“As customers continue to procrastinate and shop later in the season, we’ve remained fluid in our operations to ensure we are there for customers whenever they are ready to place orders,” he says. “In these final days before Christmas, it’s all hands on deck.”
Castro didn’t specify how sales have gone so far during the holiday season for Harry & David compared with last year. He did say that, like many major retailers, his team is trying to create a sense of urgency with shoppers as time winds down.
“We’ve expanded our use of display [advertising] and social [media] to further extend our reach and drive customer engagement,” he says. “Marketing messaging speaks to time running out. In fact, we have a countdown clock on our website, so customers can literally see time ticking away until Christmas.” Harry & David informed visitors to its website that all orders must be placed by Wednesday, Dec. 20, to guarantee delivery by Christmas with $5 flat-rate shipping.
Amazon.com Inc. (No. 1 in the Top 500) sent shoppers an email Wednesday afternoon notifying them of last-minute deals, including discounts on apparel, electronics, and toys among other items. Amazon also reassured shoppers visiting its homepage on Wednesday that they could still receive free delivery by Christmas Eve on select items, pushing in particular its voice-activated Echo digital assistant as well as its Fire TV stick.
Retail chains, meanwhile, are using their stores as a competitive advantage with last-minute holiday shoppers. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (No. 3) promised visitors to its website that they could receive their online orders by Christmas if they placed those orders by 4 p.m. on Dec. 23, if they opted to pick up those online orders in store.
Nordstrom Inc. (No. 17) began promoting its 24-hour curbside pickup offering to shoppers in an email sent Saturday. Nordstrom last month announced it would offer the service in 10 markets from Dec. 16-24. Shoppers have until stores close on Christmas Eve (which varies by location RIGHT?) to use the curbside pickup of online orders. Nordstrom also offers free delivery by Christmas Eve on select orders placed by noon on Dec. 21.
Target Corp. (No. 20) offered shoppers free shipping on all purchases through the end of the day on Wednesday. Target chief operating officer John Mulligan told analysts on the retailer’s Q3 2017 earnings call last month that he expected stores to fulfill more than 80% of online orders in the days leading up to Christmas.
To encourage shoppers to pick up online orders in stores, Target mentioned in a marketing email on Wednesday that shoppers could get their online orders on the same day for free if they opted to pick up in store. Target writes on its website that shoppers can place online orders until 6 p.m. local time on Christmas Eve and pick them up in store.
PetSmart Inc. (No. 365) announced on Wednesday that it is going to be offering shoppers 10% off all online orders picked up in its store locations from Dec. 21-24 during its “Fetch It Days” promotion.
Kohl’s Corp. (No. 18) promoted in-store pickup of online orders on its home page. Kohl’s writes on its website that most online orders are ready inside of two hours, and shoppers have until 3 p.m. local time Dec. 24 to place an online order that can be picked up in a store.
Here’s a look at what other retailers are doing to reach last-minute holiday shoppers:
- A spokeswoman for Gap Inc. (No. 24) says online shoppers have until Thursday to place an order and guarantee it will arrive in time for Christmas. On Wednesday, Gap offered shoppers 51% off their entire online purchase on Gap.com through midnight Eastern, while BananaRepublic.com offered 50% off online orders during the same period.
- Athletic apparel brand Nike Inc. (No. 37) ran a $20-off promotion via email, notifying shoppers that they must place their online orders by 5 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday to receive free two-day shipping.
- Luxury retailer Neiman Marcus (No. 41) promised that online orders placed by noon Central on Friday would be delivered in time for Christmas via free overnight shipping. In an email, Neiman Marcus also offered shoppers up to 55% off select items.
- Kay Jewelers (parent company Signet Jewelers Ltd. is No. 113) offers free overnight shipping on online orders placed by 6 p.m. Eastern on Thursday.
- Athletic footwear brand Saucony (parent company Wolverine Worldwide Inc. is No. 266) offered shoppers free overnight shipping on all orders placed by midnight Eastern on Wednesday.