Mastercard gave the first glimpse of the 2021 holiday shopping season last week. In their SpendingPlus report, they found holiday spending rose 8.5% over the previous year — the biggest spending increase in 17 years and higher than their expected forecast of 7.4%.
They also found that e-commerce holiday sales were up a whopping 61% over the 2019 pre-pandemic level (before the explosion of 2020 online ordering) and accounted for a fifth of total retail sales.
Shipping delays weren’t as bad as last year, but continue to impact customer experience. How brands and retailers navigate shipping delays will be ongoing factor in how consumers evaluate brands. Delays may be out of a brand’s control, but how a brand communicates about those delays is very much in their control.
Narvar reported that 36% of consumers experience substantial shipping delays, yet only 19% were well-informed by retailers of those shipping delays. Closing that gap is low hanging fruit.
I like how branding consultant Deb Gabor put it:
“The experience of getting a product is as important as the product itself … You’re responsible for the entire experience of the brand…
“When brands have worked really hard to build up that strong emotional bank account with consumers, consumers are willing to cut them a little bit of slack.
“It’s when the retailers don’t tell anybody, and then on top of that they fall down on the shipping expectations — that is when those relationships are put at risk.”
Here are a few related cartoons I’ve drawn over the years: