Online retailers will push consumers to make more of their holiday purchases earlier with offers of free shipping and accelerated promotional calendars, according to a survey conducted by BIGinsight for the National Retail Federation’s Shop.org division.
More than three in five online retailers — 61.6 percent — will start their holiday marketing and promotion campaigns by Halloween, up from 52.9 percent in the 2011 survey. Responding to a question not asked in last year’s survey, just 10.3 percent will not offer some kind of free shipping during the holiday season.
“More than 89 percent of stores will have some form of free shipping,” Vicki Cantrell, executive director of Shop.org, told WWD. “They may have to buy an extra item to qualify for it, but they’ll be disappointed if they get to the end of the transaction and there isn’t some provision for it.” RELATED STORY: Consumers Less Tense, Still Thrifty, for Holiday >>
She expects a change in the cadence of holiday business as online purchasers, many of them users of flash sites, bring greater urgency to the task of buying holiday gifts, decorations and related items. “They have been educated to the idea of limited-time offers and understand that, if you don’t buy it now, you may not be able to get it, whether it’s the item itself or the deal,” she said. “And they’re not looking at unlimited availability. From everything we’re seeing, retailers’ inventories are much sharper and much tighter than they have been in recent years. You don’t have the option of ‘unlimited product.’”
The survey included detailed responses from 39 retailers, including Internet pure plays. More than five in nine — 56.4 percent — were multichannel retailers who derived more than half their business from brick-and-mortar stores.
While the percentage of retailers offering free standard shipping with conditions such as a minimum purchase amount fell to 37.5 percent from 49 percent in 2011, that was more than offset by the marked rise in those offering free standard shipping without conditions, up to 30 percent from 15.7 percent. The most popular incentive was a coupon offering a certain percentage off, favored by 47.5 percent of respondents versus 43.1 percent a year ago. Besides the free shipping options, the only other promotion to draw more than 30 percent of the sample was limited-time promotions, up to 32.5 percent from 31.4 percent a year ago. Stores were asked to indicate the three promotions behind which they planned to put the greatest emphasis.
When asked how the economy had affected their holiday plans as compared to a year ago, the most popular response was “increased use of Facebook,” garnering a 57.5 percent rating, followed by increased use of Google Product Listing Ads at 52.5 percent, the same share that checked off “same discount schedule as last year.” In descending order of popularity, the next three most popular options were increased use of Pinterest and higher inventory levels, both at 45 percent, and increased use of Twitter, at 40 percent.
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
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The @cfda has shifted the dates of #NYFW, with Men’s showing on February 5 through February 7, and Women’s will directly follow, running from February 8 through 14. The preliminary schedule will be released on the CFDA’s web site in the next few days, but Mark Beckham, VP of marketing for the CFDA, revealed that @rafsimons will be back to close the men’s-specific part of the week with a show on February 7 #wwdfashion (📷: Kelly Taub)
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“There is no formula. There is no guideline. I can watch Ted Talks all day, but there is no one who can advise me on exactly what it is I should be doing,” said @ronniefieg, CEO of @kith, in an interview with WWD’s @ariahughes at the brand’s new SoHo office in Manhattan. Head to WWD.com to see how Fieg went from hanging out in shoe stockrooms at 13 to building his own business. #wwdfashion (📷: @weston.wells)
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion