Cassandra Brighter· Author
Are you worried about a looming recession? For over three months, “recession” is all over the headlines. According to Forbes Magazine, it’s not just the U.S. economy that’s facing a sobering downturn – they predict the recession to be global. Conflict in Ukraine has affected all of Europe, impacting the global supply chain. An unpredictable political climate is making the American middle class feel uneasy. Banks in Europe, Australia, India, England and Canada are increasing their rates. – especially with office jobs likely to be more at risk of layoffs than blue-collar jobs, a first in recent recessions (this wasn’t the case during COVID, during which high-contact jobs, such as retail and manufacturing, and congregational jobs, such as tourism and hospitality, were most affected).
Stock market trends are alarming. In late August the Dow closed over 1,000 points down. In September the Dow tumbled once again, hitting its worst day since June 2020.
For ecommerce stores, what matters is less about the realities of the stock market, and more about public perception. According to CNBC, over 56% of Americans believe we’re already in a recession. News outlets are anticipating a muted holiday shopping season, and pundits predict inflation is likely to affect holiday shopping patterns. Rate hikes lower demand; lower demand leads to overstocked inventory, which often leads to discounted prices and a more competitive landscape. With this in mind, we’ve put together a guide for e-commerce merchants on surviving and thriving in this challenging holiday season, amidst the economic downturn.
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It’s important to understand the mindset of your customers. Over half of Americans surveyed feel their income is unstable, and three-quarters of them are curbing impulse buying and being more cautious with their spending. In this climate, discounts will play a substantial role, and may not be enough to get browsers to click on “add to cart.”
One key trend to be aware of is that consumers are shopping early. Egged on by inflation, many have started selecting holiday gifts since as early as Labor Day. Big box stores like Walmart and Target are responding to this early wave by running early sales, and Amazon is planning to run a special sale event for Prime Members in October.
Focus on Ease
Another important trend focuses on ease of gifting. Platforms such as GiftNow are allowing retailers to capitalize on the gifting economy, and making it easier for consumers to send items with a custom message, increasing the appeal of the shopping experience.
One of the most important things online retailers can do is to have a solid website that delivers a streamlined, cohesive and enjoyable shopping experience to its users. That’s where Bizrate Insights Voice of Customer solutions can really help you. Our tools allow you to hear directly from your customers, easily finding what works and what can be improved. You can then make incremental changes to optimize user experience, helping you reduce friction and increase your bottom line.