What do last-minute holiday shoppers want?

Discussion
Sources: Apple; Bed, Bath & Beyond; Macy’s; Victoria’s Secret
Dec 23, 2021

Promising a double-bonus of cost and time savings, Apple on Wednesday began offering free two-hour delivery in major metro areas from Dec. 22 through Dec. 24.

On Dec. 24, customers must place orders by 12:00 p.m. Typically, two-hour delivery costs $9 per order.

The offer was announced in an email to Apple Store shoppers and on Apple Store online.

In the last days before Christmas, messages promising ease of shopping replace or join ones around holiday deals.

In a press release issued on Dec. 14, Target exclaims, “No Time Left? No Problem. Target’s Got the Recipe to Get Your Holiday Shopping Done *Fast*”

Target’s “ingredients” include:

  • “A handful of must-have giftables” guided by curated shopping lists
  • “Last-minute savings” across the last two weeks
  • “Three safe and speedy same-day services”

Target’s same-day services include order pickup (free), drive up (free) and Shipt (free for members on orders over $35). On Christmas Eve, pickup and Shipt orders have to be made by 6:00 p.m.

Target said, “You’ll get it fast: We’ve doubled our number of Drive Up spots and added another 150,000 Shipt Shoppers this season to ensure you can get your items quickly, with the service that you prefer.”

Other last-minute shopper pitches on retailer websites include:

  • Bed, Bath & Beyond’s landing page prominently reads, “Get holiday gifts TODAY — fast & free!” Offers include gift ideas across price levels and categories, 20 percent off one-hour store pickup and free same-day delivery on orders over $39 made by 7 p.m.
  • Macy’s is holding a “Last-Minute Gift Sale” featuring 25-to-60 percent off savings. In-store pickup is available for orders made by 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Same-day delivery is available for $5 for orders over $25 made by noon on Dec. 23.
  • Victoria’s Secret’s message to last-minute shoppers on its landing page reads, “Give her what she really wants — a Victoria’s Secret E-Gift Card. Order before December 25 at 8PM for same-day email delivery.”
  • Amazon doesn’t currently have messaging aimed at last-minute shoppers. However, items available for Prime delivery by Christmas Eve feature a countdown for when they have to be ordered.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What marketing messages do last-minute shoppers need to hear that are different than those offered earlier in the holiday season? Do messages about deals become more or less important in the last week of the holiday season?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"The guarantee that last-minute shoppers will be able to find and get what they need in time is what they really want."
"Just as some people are spurred to their creative heights when they are under a tight deadline, some people live for the thrill of last-minute shopping."
"The message people want to hear is: We have inventory and you can get it before Christmas."

Join the Discussion!

10 Comments on "What do last-minute holiday shoppers want?"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Melissa Minkow
BrainTrust

The guarantee that last-minute shoppers will be able to find and get what they need in time is what they really want. Price sensitivity lessens the tighter the time crunch gets. Retailers are clearly aware that despite the encouragement to plan ahead and buy early, many consumers still haven’t gotten all their gifts. The more convenient retailers can make the experience, and the more reliable their inventory is, the more appealing they are to the last-minute shopper.

Richard Hernandez
BrainTrust
Richard Hernandez
Merchant Director
11 months 7 days ago

The message people want to hear is: We have inventory and you can get it before Christmas. The price becomes less of an issue when you are in crunch time.

Lisa Goller
BrainTrust

“Last call” messages can trigger last-minute shoppers’ fear of missing out and desire to act. Messages about deals still matter in the final days, yet the scarcity of time is what motivates the annual shopping frenzy. It’s about procrastination, not sweet prices.

Liza Amlani
BrainTrust

A combination of promotions and fast delivery is imperative during the last week of holiday shopping. Last minute shoppers still need to be catered to and with the rules around gatherings changing constantly, gifts may be the only way to connect with friends/family.

A promotion or targeted marketing could give retailers that final boost to capture holiday sales.

Jenn McMillen
BrainTrust

Just as some people are spurred to their creative heights when they are under a tight deadline, some people live for the thrill of last-minute shopping. As my dad says, whatever gets ya!

Dick Seesel
BrainTrust

What customers want — full assortments of every item in a range of sizes and colors, ordered today for Christmas delivery — is not necessarily what they’re going to get, and that’s true not just in 2021. Retailers need to send the message that they are ready for last minute shoppers with plenty of inventory whether customers are visiting stores or doing BOPIS shopping. Just be careful not to overpromise and underdeliver.

David Spear
BrainTrust

Timely and appropriate calls-to-action work. I’ve been using last minute delivery services this season. Products that can be delivered before Christmas are getting my attention, while deliveries after Christmas are falling by the wayside. Apple and the other retailers who are offering these speedy services will do well. By the way – with all of the supply chain and pandemic disruption and craziness, you can bet that FedEx and UPS will be posting very robust numbers during November and December.

Bill Hanifin
BrainTrust

Almost as valuable as discount offers are the reminder emails I am seeing advising of deadlines to purchase in order to receive shipment before Christmas. Everyone enjoys a price break, but this year, holiday stress for most shoppers is tied to “when” a gift will arrive. Smart retailers are extending a helpful hand by these purchase reminders. Yes, this is also a way to add urgency to purchase, but in this season, it’s ok.

Ananda Chakravarty
BrainTrust

The retailer messaging to last minute shoppers is pretty straightforward:

  • We have the products you’re looking for;
  • We can deliver these products on short notice to your destination by your deadline (usually Christmas or New Year);
  • We can deliver with added cost without breaking your bank account.

Slight modifications for in-store pickup, but same principles.

The actual deals offered are only important insofar as they counter the additional costs of delivery.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

“Don’t tell me about the deal. Just guarantee me the package will arrive on time. And if not, tell me that, too.”

Any retailer that disappoints a customer with an over-promise and under-deliver, will lose the loyalty of that customer and pay for it in future sales.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"The guarantee that last-minute shoppers will be able to find and get what they need in time is what they really want."
"Just as some people are spurred to their creative heights when they are under a tight deadline, some people live for the thrill of last-minute shopping."
"The message people want to hear is: We have inventory and you can get it before Christmas."

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