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Where Does Online Shopping Leave Glamorous Window Displays?

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The holiday season,
despite its one eve of festivity, absorbs anywhere from weeks to months of our
time as shoppers and
consumers
, and even more so if we are marketers.
It evokes the anxiety, well pondered over in days when brands battled for loyal
consumers. Attracting one and all with the glitterarti of lights
that brighten up the night sky for miles, attracting shutterbugs and stories
for lifetimes. One has to think of all the historical, traditional efforts put
into the likes of Macy's and Harrod's, juxtaposed against a modern lifestyle of
lesser and lesser offline shopping.
However in today's world, with retailers opening up stores
way into the middle of the night, if not 24 hours, and with online accounting
for a large chunk of decision making, if not sales, the dynamic has become
muddled, and all the more interesting to explore. Despite decadent window
displays of Christmas chocolate architecture
or humane mannequins in theatrical poses in a luxury London, for
instance, which have perhaps become more tourist attractions than reliable
sources of revenue, many have chosen the online world as a foray into
replacement shopping. Convenient, faster, and to a certain degree, almost less
magical.
On drawing comparisons between the online and offline world,
alongside the regularity of last minute versus planned shoppers, a two by two
matrix
on uncovering four holiday shopping personalities can be deduced.
Let's call it The Timed Shopping Framework, since it can apply to any phase of
life when we have to shop with a deadline.
Bandwidth Basher


Purchasing Power: High. It's unlikely that these shoppers will be looking for
deals, but are more in a frantic rush to buy something while multitasking a
busy corporate or bustling alternative life; thus the restraint from going in
stores.

Retailer Benefit: Shipping fees. Consumers in this segment may be blind to free
shipping coupons in all the haste, so retailers can gobble up any margins on
those exorbitant overnight fees.
Strategic Sprawler

Purchasing Power: Moderate. These shoppers will likely have scouted the deals,
almost as early as Black Friday
and Thanksgiving
. Being deal hunters, it's not to say they are budget
battlers: rather the contrary, they are likely to spend in volume. Call them
indecisive, or on the other spectrum, simply smart with a cool variety of
friends.

Retailer Benefit: Volume purchase and loyalty. It's likely that these shoppers
will seek deals with enough prowess to use coupon codes or minimum purchase
requirements to benefit retailers, either with volume or future loyalty.
Methodical Maneuverer

Purchasing Power: Moderate. These are traditional shoppers that would rather
drive to the stores come fall, and load up their trunks and rear seats with
less shopping on a periodic basis. And they never forget the wrapping, bows,
cards and frills. These shoppers either have a sense of detail, or are simply
preventing an anxiety
attack, as per a former framework
.

Retailer Benefit: Traditional store sales, which as we all know, may not be
real value sales, but well marketed ones. Nonetheless, courtesy of methodical
research, retailers should not expect these consumers to be strong spenders.
Splurging Sprinter

Purchasing Power: High. These shoppers have simply had no time in bustling
lives, and tend to leave things to the last minute. With about half of their
preferred selections disappearing off shelves, they are likely to be struck by
anxiety and spend more than they need. Sans details, they may skip the frills
and even ask for gift wrapped gifts altogether! Just beware that these folks
may be struck by stress more often than not; even in public.

Retailer Benefit: Revenues from last minute shopping. Retailers can expect high
spending from these consumers, with a slight dose of stress depending on the
level of shopper persistence. It will be easy to entice them with leftover,
often non-sale items, or with stocking stuffers.

Sourabh Sharma, Senior Manager
and Communication & Social Media Research Expert at SKIM, an boutique
marketing research consultancy, has a background in engineering, marketing and
finance from the University of Pennsylvania, and the Wharton School and
Rotterdam School of Management. Having worked in marketing and product
development at L'Oreal, followed by a stint in management consulting, he now
passionately enjoys the world of social media, and can be found on every
platform with his alias sssourabh. He is a food critic and a fashion writer,
and documents these alongside strategy on his blog called 3FS. He may be reached at s.sharma@skimgroup.com. Follow him on @sssourabh.

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