Shoppers have more money in their pockets this holiday season, as unemployment remains at a post-recession low and fuel prices remain low. However, in a competitive retail market, standing out among the competition is a major feat. According to new data from JLL’s 2015 Holiday Sentiment Report, which includes feedback from largely national or global retailers in JLL-managed shopping centers across the United States, this year’s differentiator will hinge on simplifying things for consumers by offering integrated online and in-store purchasing.
“The retailers who will stand out from the pack this year will be those who push the envelope on convenience offerings, without taking it to the point where it hurts the bottom line,” said Naveen Jaggi, President of Retail Brokerage, JLL. “While more than 90 percent of total retail sales in the U.S. are generated at brick-and-mortar stores, this holiday season we’re seeing even tighter, more unified sales platforms that allow easy pick-up and return options.”
Retailers are narrowing the gap between online offerings and in-store shopping and embracing so-called “frictionless” commerce. This year, there has been a marked uptick in services focused on convenience. Price, accessibility and selection are at the top of holiday shopper’s lists, which is why nearly half of retailers surveyed plan to offer free shipping or ship-from-store to consumers this holiday season, a 12 percent increase over last year. Similarly, online ordering and in-store pick-up will be offered by 44 percent of retailers surveyed, an uptick of approximately six percentage points from last year. Conversely, additional holiday perks like free gift with purchase, geo-location based discounts, free layaway and in-store entertainment showed little change compared to last year.
“Consumers are cost conscious and time averse, demanding products where they want them, when they want them. Convenience is driving their buying decisions and impacting how retailers are meeting their needs this holiday season. Retailers are embracing the strategy to keep it simple this holiday season, which shows just how in charge today’s customers are,” said Holly Rome, Director of National Retail Leasing, JLL. “We find that internet users are picking up their purchases in-store to save on shipping charges and get their goods faster, while brick-and-mortar shoppers are using online platforms to research a product before they shop.”
Some retailers will employ technology to earn sales, although the prevalence of easy mobile payments and fast delivery is still years from ubiquity. Only 30 percent of retailers indicated they will have easy check-out with iPads or mobile payments. A shy 8 percent will offer same-day delivery as part of their program to woo customers.
For more information on JLL’s 2015 Holiday Sentiment Survey visit: www.jllretail.com
JLL surveyed retail tenants in shopping centers in 17 states between September 18 and October 5, 2015. Slightly more than 40 percent (41 percent) of survey respondents were apparel retailers. Other major categories of respondents include Restaurant, Food and Beverage (13.1 percent) Jewelry (8.0 percent) and Luxury (5.6 percent). Nearly 70 (69.0) percent of respondents were inline retail locations, while 76.2 percent occupied stores under 5,000 square feet. Another 45.4 percent were single locations or part of local and regional chains.