Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Christmas wrap

Shoppers clicking closer to Christmas

The Australian Retailers Association anticipates that Australians will spend a total of around $2.8 billion online in the six weeks leading up to Christmas.

ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman says that although in past years it has been crucial to have online orders completed well in advance of December 25, there is now more flexibility around this with the introduction of services such as same-day delivery and click and collect.

“We’re seeing Australians increasingly use online for the purchase of Christmas gifts, especially as the channel evolves to make it easier for shoppers to receive their goods quickly and in a way that suits them,” he said.

“In fact we see a big incidence of people who may order a product online, go into a store to pick it up, and end up purchasing other products while in-store.”

Gifting guide

More than half of consumers will spend between $100 and $500 on gifts this year, research from the Retail Council indicates.

“Gift cards are the most popular item on most shopping lists and continue to increase in popularity with more than 36 per cent of shoppers most likely to purchase a gift card this year – up from 18 per cent in 2012,” Retail Council CEO Anna McPhee said.

Clothing (34 per cent) and books (30 per cent) were the next most popular items on gift shopping lists.

The Council’s Christmas Spending Index forecasts spending in the 30 days to Christmas will reach $35 billion – a slightly stronger position compared with last year.

The retail sector is on target to contribute 4.5 per cent to Australia’s GDP this year – making it a top 10 contributor to economic growth.

Customer service wishlist

An American Express survey of 1,000 Australian consumers indicates that customer service is king this Christmas.

It found 68 per cent of respondents would change their mind on a purchase if staff were rude or unhelpful, 56 per cent would not make a purchase if there were long queues at check-out, and that poor customer service was enough to make 53 per cent of shoppers abandon a purchase

Retail Doctor Group CEO and founder Brian Walker says the advice for retailers wanting to maximise their share of wallet this Christmas is simple: “Give your customers a good experience and they’ll repay you in sales and repeat business,” he said.

“What’s essential for retailers is that they have enough staff to help customers, are transparent about the full cost of goods, and drop point-of-sale surcharges. This research shows that unexpected charges are a nasty sting in the tail for what should otherwise be a happy shopping experience.”

Thirty-two per cent of those surveyed said that during the stress of last-minute shopping they appreciated the advice and assistance they received in-store and 22 per cent appreciated additional services such as free gift wrapping.

Tesco offers Christmas lights untangling service

Tesco says it has hired the UK’s first ever Christmas tree lights ‘untangler’ at its Tesco Extra store in the Welsh town of Wrexham to help customers enjoy the festive season and relieve some of their Yuletide frustrations.

The job role was created in response to Tesco-commissioned research finding that untangling Christmas tree lights frustrated 89 per cent of surveyed Wrexham residents, with half of these so vexed that they would rather buy a new set of lights to avoid the bother.

“We’re looking to help our customers enjoy the festivities with a series of helpful little initiatives,” Tesco Extra Wrexham Store Manager Paul Birkenhead said, “and with one in six people spending 30 minutes or more trying to untangle Christmas lights each year, we hope that the new service will help relieve some of those festive frustrations locals in Wrexham experience.”

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