As more and more consumers choose to leave their shopping until the eleventh hour, we explore the physiological factors behind it and how your business could tap into this rich market.

Hands up if you leave your Christmas, Mother’s Day, or anniversary shopping until the day before. Firstly, if you did put your hand up, I suggest you put it down (you look crazy), and secondly, you’ll be happy to know that you’re not alone.

Each year, the number of people leaving their seasonal holiday shopping to the last minute seems to increase. I’m guilty of this. In fact, for the past five years I’ve carried out my Christmas shop on the 23rd and 24th!

In a recent article, it was reported that there’s been a year-on-year increase of 41% in people searching for last-minute Valentine’s Day gifts, with a 74% growth coming on people’s smartphones.

And then there’s the festive holidays. According to the Independent, UK shoppers splashed out an extra £500m on last-minute groceries before Christmas 2016. More than half of the 30,000 households surveyed visited supermarkets on December 23rd.

Yet, despite these absurd findings, thousands of retailers, supermarkets, travel agents and beyond are still failing to fully capitalise on this market.

The anatomy of a last-minute shopper

I like to think of us last-minute shoppers as ‘Dales’ – inspired by the antics of Dale Winton’s Supermarket Sweep. As a Dale, we don’t like to plan too far ahead and instead live our lives in the moment. I’d also say there’s a small part of us which loves the thrill of rushing around frantically looking for the best deals.

However, our failure to do any gift, holiday, or food shopping early does present some problems. For instance, low stock and missed deliveries can cause disappointment. In fact, research made by Green Logistics found that 31% of consumers are put off by shopping online because of delivery concerns. Just read our recent blog on missed deliveries to find out more.

The rapid ascension in the number of last-minute shoppers (or ‘Dales’) can be linked to our hectic schedules and lifestyles. In 2010, The Telegraph wrote a fascinating article about how hectic lifestyles are creating a generation of ‘maybe later’ children. The general consensus of the piece was that an average parent spends only 36 minutes a day giving their kids one-to-one attention, as they’re too busy. So, it’s no wonder why we’re choosing to leave our shopping until the last minute!

With this in mind, why aren’t more businesses increasing their stock, going the extra mile to ensure their deliveries arrive on time and sending promotional marketing offers at the optimum time?

How to cater for ‘Dales’

Image courtesy of: thinkbox

Although email marketing, social media advertisement and in-store promotions can work, most customers are often too busy to even notice. That’s why SMS marketing and alerts can offer your business the platform to reach your target audience.

It’s simple, cost-effective, and delivers an unparalleled service to reach last-minute shoppers. Instead of making people do a trolley dash or panic buy, you can offer a free delivery service with a series of business SMS, updating customers about their delivery. This process will also help drive traffic to your online site, improve customer satisfaction and solve the ‘out of stock’ dilemma.

Or if desired, business SMS can inspire customers to visit your store. A promotional SMS marketing offer with an exclusive mobile voucher could encourage customers to drop in. By increasing footfall, you’ll also have an extra opportunity to upsell your other products or services.

Last-minute shoppers look out for keywords such as ‘discounts, ‘last minute’ and ‘free delivery’, so when you’re crafting your first business SMS, make sure you include at least one.

You’ll also find that most last-minute shoppers are more likely to make impulse buys and choose not to create a list. In this case, a well thought out series of business text messages could spark the consumer into taking action. With 98% of business SMS being opened and 82% of consumers turning to their phone to influence a purchase, there’s a significant chance that your message will be seen.

Targeting last-minute shoppers via bulk SMS also works in the entertainment and leisure industries as well. Just take the Royal Exchange Theatre for example. They sent out a series of business SMS to encourage students to buy any remaining tickets to their upcoming shows. As a result, they received 8-20% response rates from people taking up offers and promotions at the box office. Plus, a 50% increase in the number of customers subscribing to receive the SMS alerts.

What are you waiting for?

If you’re interested in generating extra revenue and growing your business, start considering last-minute shoppers by delivering timely promotional text messages and alerts. Sign up to our award-winning platform for free today, and as a thank you, we’ll throw in some free SMS credits so you can trial it for free.

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