NEW YORK, NY –This holiday season experts expect sales to increase 3 to 4 percent from last year, to between $957.3 billion and $966.6 billion. E-commerce is expected to outpace overall sales, surging by 7 to 9 percent. Amidst these projections, businesses, advertisers, and consumers should remain vigilant about shifting trends. Columbia Business School's faculty conducts cutting-edge research, providing a valuable guide for navigating the intricacies of holiday shopping.
The following five studies by Columbia Business School faculty present insights into pivotal facets such as delivery times, emerging fashion trends, advertising strategies, and customer behavior.
- In Delivery Time Battle, Customers Don’t Always Need Faster— As e-commerce expands, retailers should rethink their approach to shipping times. Research by Kinshuk Jerath, the Arthur F. Burns Professor of Free and Competitive Enterprise, indicates that customers prioritize improved delivery for slower-moving products over faster delivery for every item. His research suggests that instead of focusing on transitioning from 2-day to 1-day delivery, retailers should enhance the delivery times for their slowest-moving products. Read more about Professor Jerath's research here.
- The Newest Symbol of Status and Wealth: Showing Distance— Throughout history, luxury items like Rolex watches and Porsche cars served as status symbols, reflecting societal standing. However, modern shifts in values and environmental awareness have led figures like Taylor Swift and Elon Musk to promote sustainability. Research by Silvia Bellezza, Associate Professor of Business, identifies a trend away from traditional material indicators of affluence. Investigating sustainable luxury and vintage items, the research outlines six dimensions of divergence: time, quantity, conspicuousness, aesthetics, culture, and pace of life. This framework offers opportunities for high-end brands seeking expansion. Read more about Professor Bellezza’s research here.
- New Model Offers Advertisers a Better Way to Predict Online Shopper Preferences— Amid concerns about a potential holiday spending slump due to inflation and limited savings, a recent study reveals flaws in tools used by companies to understand online shopping behaviors. Contrary to the assumption that customers actively search for products online, the study by Andrey Simonov, the Gary Winnick and Martin Granoff Associate Professor of Business, finds that ad-initiated searches, constituting 53% of website traffic, yield different results. Shoppers from ads spend less time on websites, search for fewer items, and are less likely to make a purchase. The study proposes a more accurate model that improves predictions of customer online search patterns and purchasing choices. Read more about Professor Simonov's research here.
- Maybe You Should Accept Cookies: New Research Outlines Benefits of Online Tracking—Frequent web users often decline cookie tracking prompts, with 42% regularly choosing to do so. However, new research from Columbia Business School suggests that reflexively declining may not be optimal. The study led by Kinshuk Jerath, Arthur F. Burns Professor of Free and Competitive Enterprise, and Miklos Sarvary, Carson Family Professor of Business,indicates that opting into cookie tracking could lead to more personalized ads aligned with users' interests, reducing ad repetition. Contrary to common belief, allowing tracking might enhance both consumer experience and business efficiency, challenging prevailing notions on web privacy. Read more about Professors Jerath and Sarvary’s research here.
- Unlocking the Power of Customer Routines: A Marketing Game Changer— Advancements in data analytics empower companies to understand individual customer behaviors, underscoring the significance of recognizing consumer routines. In a recent study, Oded Netzer, Arthur J. Samberg Professor of Business, and Nachum Sicherman, Carson Family Professor of Business, highlight the significance of pinpointing when consumers integrate a service into their daily routines. Recognizing these routines allows companies to tailor marketing and services more precisely, capitalizing on the loyalty and tolerance for changes exhibited by routine customers. This ability to detect and understand consumer routines aligns with businesses' growing acknowledgment of the value of leveraging consumer data in today's data-driven marketing landscape. Read more about Professors Netzer and Sicherman's research here.
To learn more about cutting-edge research being conducted, please visit Columbia Business School.