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The Mindset of a Christmas Holiday Procrastinator, Explained

Andrea Reiher, Writer

Despite the Christmas season coming around every year like clockwork, some shoppers still seem to be caught by surprise when it’s time to put up the tree and hang the decorations — and they need all the help they can get from retailers. The Christmas holiday procrastinator has their heart in the right place, scrambling to deck the halls even if it all comes together at the absolute last minute.

That’s a lot of sales coming in at the last minute, so here are some tips to get those latecomers buying from your shop - whether online or in- person.

Understanding a Christmas holiday procrastinator

While retailers must start preparing for the Christmas holidays months in advance, shoppers have the luxury of waiting — and whether it’s because they’re too busy or they’re still bargain hunting, some wait until the very last minute.

They shop down to the wire. Holiday procrastinators have been known to wait until the days  before Christmas to grab gifts for family and friends. Offering extended holiday hours right up until the big day earns you a lot of goodwill with late shoppers.

They love expedited shipping. Online, these last-minuters are most likely looking for overnight shipping to try to get their gifts in under the wire. In some cases, some procrastinators are looking for gifts that can be delivered after the Christmas holidays are over.

How to meet the Christmas holiday procrastinator’s expectations

Whether they’re in-person or online shoppers, Christmas holiday procrastinators are generally looking to make a lot of purchases at once, mostly because they have yet to do very much (if any) holiday preparation. Therefore they need your help in checking off every box on their list.

Give helpful suggestions. Procrastinators know that leaving things to the last minute can make it hard to find what you want, so they’re looking to retailers for guidance. Gift guides, lists of what is popular that particular year, and recommendations for different types of recipients are extremely useful tools for procrastinators. 

Take away the guesswork. Procrastinators can really benefit when your retail site offers gift cards. It takes away the time-consuming guesswork about what to get everyone — and procrastinators are always short on time. In 2014, Starbucks actually sold 2.5 million gift cards on Christmas Eve alone, which translated into 1700 gift cards sold every minute.

Gift cards don’t have to be impersonal. Consumers like having the choice of how to spend their money at a certain business. As experiential gifts grow in popularity, gift cards are a tangible way to package up exciting services like spa treatments, wine tastings, dance workshops, and more that speak to the receiver’s unique interests while allowing them to “cash in” at their leisure. 

How to catch their eye

While some procrastinators are late to the party because of how busy they are, others are waiting until the last minute to save money.

Promote last-minute deals. These shoppers love bargains and specials, so if you’re thinking that a sale on Christmas Eve can’t possibly lure in any buyers, think again. Another option holiday procrastinators love is post-holiday shipping deals. If they can save a few dollars on having something shipped after the actual holiday, they may not mind having to wait at all.

Offer in-store pickup. These shoppers are also grateful if they can pick up their items in-store, instead of having to wait to have something shipped.So if you have a brick-and-mortar location to go along with your eCommerce store, in-store pickup is a great option to offer holiday procrastinators because they don’t have to wait for something to be shipped.

Get social. Utilising social media goes hand in hand with optimising your retail store for the Christmas rush — and it’s a key way to advertise your products to holiday procrastinators, who are desperate for ideas on what to buy for everyone on their list. 

Leaving Christmas shopping to the last minute can be chaotic and stressful. Online marketplaces can often play into the chaos and rely on the impulsiveness of procrastinators to close deals. Instead of adding to the problem, create a calm, seamless shopping experience that gives holiday procrastinators the peace of mind they need to enjoy the most wonderful time of the year. Give them options to buy in their own (nick of) time and you’ll emerge a Christmas holiday hero.