Channel Signal: Shopping overload and the holidays

Christmas promotions get earlier every year. It is clear that marketers believe they can rev up Christmas cheer early, keep the momentum going, sell a lot of stuff, and carry it right through the New Year. But Channel Signal thinks burnout from multichannel shopping could put a kink in the system.
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Channel Signal regularly shares some of its analyses of the major topics online that are important to the subscribers of SNEWS®. The topics will range from promotions to marketing initiatives, to issues that have virally exploded into crises. What are the online conversations? What issues are bringing people into the conversation? And which ones may be helping or hurting the growth of the industry? You’ll find out Channel Signal’s viewpoint here.

Christmas promotions get earlier every year. Clearly, the stakes are higher due to the recession and its slow recovery.

The New York Times reported Abercrombie & Fitch started offering Christmas deals via email on Oct. 24. Best Buy started its holiday ads on Nov. 11.

“Our challenge is to keep Christmas going,” said Shay Drohan, senior vice president for sparkling brands at Coca-Cola, in the New York Times article, so “it goes the whole way through the first week in January” and takes in New Year's Eve, school holidays and Twelfth Night.

It is clear that marketers and their advertisers believe they can start Christmas early, keep the momentum going, sell a lot of stuff, and carry it right through the New Year.

Channel Signal doesn’t think so, and here’s why: Multichannel shopping.

Shoppers will use many avenues to reach a buying decision this year. They’ll research and shop at multiple spots, including brick-and-mortar stores, online stores, mobile apps, catalogs and any variation of those themes.

A recent survey by eMarketer (www.emarketer.com) said that a slight majority of shoppers (51 percent) this Christmas would conduct online research and buy in brick-and-mortar stores. That’s compared to 42 percent that would research and then buy online. Thirty-two percent said they would research online, visit a store and then buy online. Only 16 percent said they would buy online after first visiting a store.

And mobile, as a channel, continues to grow. Nielsen reports that about one-third of all mobile phones are Smartphones. eMarketer reported that 52 percent of those Smartphone users will be using the devices to shop around for the best prices this holiday season, 40 percent will be reading customer reviews, and 23 percent will be using the phone to buy. 

Channel Signal believes that consumers will use many of these channels to reach buying decisions, but they’ll tire of all the options to research, compare prices and finally buy. Data and choices are good things, until they aren’t. In our opinion, shoppers this Christmas will like the various channels to reach a buying decision, until they become overwhelmed.

They will tire. This is where the best brick-and-mortar stores and the best online operations have an advantage, we believe. Shoppers, tired of collecting data, will find a store, like the retail salesperson and the merchandise, make decisions and walk out with their gifts. Or shoppers will be online, like the online shopping selection, and decide to just buy.

Multichannel overload is cured when consumers make shopping decisions -- choices make the noise go away and gets shoppers home to eggnog, family and the reality of Christmas. And, ultimately, that is made easier when they experience great inventory, layout and salesmanship.

Channel Signal

Channel Signal is a social media monitoring and measuring platform that enables all businesses to track, manage and quickly react to online conversations. Channel Signal is the only software that offers: Intelligence through categorized analysis and reporting by social media experts; integration of all units of your business; work-flow processes and one consolidated dashboard. The result is a social media program that is accurate, measured and, therefore, easier to manage. For more information, email Paul Kirwin at paul@channelsignal.com or go to www.channelsignal.com.

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