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Digital, Merry & Bright: Retailers Giving Tech Solutions For Holiday Shopping

Young consumers are used to turning to tech for solutions to their everyday problems-so why would holiday shopping be any different?

Young consumers have a different set of retail experience expectations, and while many still prefer to shop in-store, there is no doubt that mobile and online are a very big part of their shopping behavior. According to one recent survey, 55% use multiple devices to shop, and 71% of females do their online shopping at home, versus the 77% of males who do it on-the-go. Holiday shopping is no exception, and in fact is probably the time of year when their reliance on digital shopping solutions is the most pronounced. Our recent survey on their holiday shopping plans found that 13-32-year-olds’ preferences for where they shop is nearly evenly split, with 51% planning to do the majority of their shopping in-store, compared to 49% who plan to shop mostly online. But what they are really looking for are omnichannel solutions to help them get their shopping list checked off. They live seamlessly online and offline, and they want to shop that way as well. In a very smart article on the future of brick-and-mortar retail, Street Fight Mag wrote,

Tomorrow’s best retailers will also effectively leverage technology to optimize their footprint and assortments, capture the attention of the shopper, provide the most information, and give the best options for timely fulfillment…Due to the proliferation of mobile in shopping, traditional retailers have dangerously exposed flanks. Shoppers are literally standing in their stores right now with their mobile devices in hand looking for information to assist with their trip. Retailers have been excruciatingly slow to adopt technology to engage shoppers in-store to meet this demand.

The adoption has indeed been slow and clunky—and young consumers notice that retailers aren’t where they want them to be when it comes to omnichannel experiences. But this season we’re seeing retailers giving shoppers the gift of tech, creating digital tools that optimize both offline and online experience, and use digital to make shopping as seamless as possible. 

Argos’ Gift Finder App

Tinder’s simple, sleek swipe-to-choose design has been borrowed by multiple startups trying to appeal to young consumers, and now it’s being used for holiday shopping marketing. UK retailer Argos has created a Tinder-like web and mobile app to help shoppers choose their holiday gifts: after entering the gender and age of the person they’re shopping for and their budget, the Gift Finder app offers up a steady visual stream of suggestions that the user can swipe right to “like” and add to a “maybe list.” After a soft launch, Argos says visitors swipe through more than 60 gifts and spend an average of three minutes looking at presents. One of the big pros of the tool is surfacing gift ideas that users might not have thought of themselves, but of course gamifying the shopping experience and giving users the option to immediately purchase the presents they’ve found is the big win here. 

Target’s Mobile App Maps

Target (a Millennial retail favorite) has updated their mobile app just in time for Black Friday, to give shoppers tools to find everything they are looking for in-store. The new features include shopping lists to help them plan their trip before, and interactive maps that will show them exactly where each of those products are once they’ve stepped in store—no more hunting and wandering. The app will even tell them if a store is out of one of the items they are looking for, before they make the trip. Since in-store confusion and fatigue is one of shoppers biggest complaints, regardless of generation, Target’s new mobile tools could help to keep visitors more organized and less frustrated. That would be a holiday shopping miracle. 

Anthropologie’s Hint-Hint, Honey! Gift Registry

It’s not just shopping for others that Anthropologie is making easier this year, it’s also helping consumers let loved ones know what they want…and how to get it. The retailer’s “Hint-Hint, Honey” holiday gift registry allows users to build their holiday wishlist of Anthro products online, then provide the information of the person they know will be giving them gifts. The gift giver is then invited to an event in their local store where a sale representative will walk them through finding each item on the list—and even suggest some surprises. Complimentary gift wrapping and refreshments will be provided. Talk about Santa’s helpers. These holiday registry events are taking place the week before Christmas, so late shoppers will be guided through an easy process to pick up that perfect gift without hassle. The campaign merges the convenience of online shopping with the tactile experience of an in-store visit, with enough fun touches to keep everyone merry and bright.