The coronavirus pandemic has impacted consumer behavior and retailers will offer more options for Christmas purchases such as digital markets, social media products, and even online clothing testers, according to one report.
39% of merchants plan to sell products beyond their own websites, in digital markets, while 31% will make products available on social media apps, according to a survey by international online payment company Paypal.
Because 52% of merchants surveyed are unsure whether consumers will use testers in stores, 39% will offer virtual alternatives. This includes online adjustment or sizing tools (26%), virtual showrooms (23%) and virtual imaging experts (23%).
The Paypal survey was conducted by Netfluential last August among 1,000 small and medium-sized retailers in sectors ranging from home and electronics to fashion and cosmetics and published on its blog in September.
Opinion polls revealed that many U.S. retailers are taking a reactive approach and waiting to see what this year’s procurement scenario is.
“But other traders are being proactive in finding innovative and technological ways to reach consumers in the new environment”
The company said.
The data reveals that 1 in 3 of the retailers surveyed are proactively preparing their businesses and 1 in 5 entrepreneurs say their future depends on the results of this year’s season.
The first group expects Christmas sales to be lower than last year and still implement key strategies to increase revenue, according to the survey.
More than 45% of traders who already offer “buy now, pay later” financing expect to see an increase in Christmas sales.
70% of retailers are not hiring additional staff or employees who were previously fired by the virus crisis and 28% of companies are still waiting to see what demand will look like later in the year to start planning.
Safety is paramount during Christmas shopping
The vast majority of retailers (81%) is taking additional precautions to keep buyers safe, according to the survey.
Retailers are finding ways to limit physical contact and help customers practice social estating.
46% plan to offer sidewalk pick-up service, while approximately the same amount will make masks mandatory and implement physical estating rules and 34% said they will offer hand sanitist in the store.
34% of retailers selling in physical stores are implementing cashless payment options.
“Given current economic uncertainty and (the situation), retailers must continue to adapt to boost sales and support consumers“, Paypal said.