Ten days before Christmas, the homepages of the Top 100 online retailers in North America show that the window for standard shipping has passed or is quickly approaching. And, to lure last-minute shoppers, most retail chains in that group used their homepages to promote omnichannel options like same-day delivery and curbside pickup.
Nearly a third (32%) of the Top 100 retailers’ homepages listed specific order cut-off dates for Christmas delivery. At least two others included a link to a page listing order deadlines for various kinds of merchandise, according to a Dec. 15 website check by Digital Commerce 360 editors.
Beauty brand The Estee Lauder Cos. Inc. (No. 60 in the 2021 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000) made its cut-off dates hard to miss. The retailer informed shoppers of its deadlines using a large, bright red banner in the center of its homepage.
Of the 32 merchants that listed a cut-off date on the homepage, about 81% of those cut-off dates were Dec. 20 or before. Five retailers listed Dec. 15 as their cut-off dates for standard shipping; seven listed Dec. 16 and four had Dec. 17 deadlines. The other 16 retailers listed dates after Dec. 19. Kay Jewelers, owned by Signet Jewelers Ltd. (No. 72), listed Dec. 23 as its deadline for Christmas orders, the latest cut-off date Digital Commerce 360 saw listed on a Top 100 retailer homepage.
Pushing omnichannel services
Among the Top 100, Digital Commerce 360 classifies 48 retailers as retail chains. Of those 48 merchants, 30 (62.5%) used their homepages to encourage shoppers to use various omnichannel options. These include buy online pick up in store (BOPIS), curbside pickup and same-day delivery.
Retailers weren’t afraid to use a lot of homepage real estate to get the point across. Yankee Candle, for example, used one of three spots in a large “carousel” banner to promote its recently launched BOPIS service. And at Kay Jewelers, the retailer devoted a box half the width of its website to promoting BOPIS and same-day delivery, using the slogan “Get it Today.”
Omnichannel options are important to a significant slice of consumers. According to a Digital Commerce 360/Bizrate Insights December survey of 974 online buyers, 22% of consumers check store product availability and 21% research store information online in anticipation of a visit over the five-day shopping weekend from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday. During the same period, 13% placed an online order for pickup, 12% placed an online order for same-day delivery and 9% placed an online order for curbside pickup.
Shoppers get more time
In some cases, the retailers are giving customers more time to order for Christmas delivery than last year, when shipping carriers were overwhelmed by a pandemic-fueled surge in ecommerce orders. Some examples:
- Retail giant Walmart Inc. has a Dec. 20 cut-off date. That’s a day later than Walmart’s Dec. 19 deadline last year, but still earlier than in 2019, when the shipping cut-off date was Dec. 22.
- Department store retailer Neiman Marcus (No. 73), tells shoppers to order by Dec. 21, significantly later than last year, when its cut-off date was Dec. 9.
- Yankee Candle (a part of Newell Brands No. 41) lists a Dec. 20 shipping deadline, which is a bit later than in 2020, when it gave shoppers until Dec. 18 to place orders for Christmas delivery.
More shopping is yet to come
Despite retailers’ efforts to encourage early shopping, the National Retail Federation (NRF) expects consumers to do plenty of shopping between now and Christmas.
Based on its survey conducted with Prosper Insights & Analytics, NRF says more than 148 million U.S. consumers plan to shop in-store and online during “Super Saturday,” on Dec. 18, the final Saturday before Christmas. NRF says that number reflects a slight drop from last year when NRF expected 150 million to shop that day, but more than the 147 million expected shoppers in 2019.
According to the survey, 27% of consumers plan to shop exclusively in stores on Super Saturday, while 32% plan to shop online only and 41% expect to use both shipping channels.
The survey of 7,453 adult consumers was conducted Nov. 24 through Dec. 3 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2%.Favorite