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A time of (mobile) giving
Every year, more people are paying for their Christmas presents using connected devices. As a result, consumers’ use of cash is decreasing. Only half of the respondents to the ‘How we will pay’-survey said they still carry cash in their wallets. That less people are less likely to be carrying cash, is being noticed by the red kettle bell volunteers from the Salvation Army. As they raise money largely through spare change that shoppers drop into their buckets, less cash is affecting donations negatively. Other charities are also suffering from this trend. To accommodate consumers, they are all turning to mobile-friendly payment solutions. While the Salvation Army bell ringers are inviting cash-less customers to donate by scanning a QR code, the Dutch Cancer Society and Children in Need in the U.K. have enabled contactless payments. Meanwhile, the Movember Foundation is using donation badges and Save the Children has even created contactless Christmas jumpers to encourage donations this festive season. By making it easier to donate money for those less fortunate, technology is supporting the Christmas spirit.
For some people, preparing for Christmas is an important part of the season’s fun. Other people like the party, but not the preparation. Fortunately, our current on-demand economy can provide for both types of people. The internet is filled with tips varying from how to decorate your home, craft your own Christmas ornaments, or prepare a wonderful Christmas meal (including an online or telephone helpdesk for emergencies). Those who prefer to skip the preparations, can turn to a number of Christmas-as-a-service companies. Christmas Decor lights up your home’s Christmas facade, while Rent-A-Christmas fully decorates the rooms for the holiday season. Moreover, these companies quietly take the holiday decorations away when the season is over. And what would Christmas be without a visit from Santa? Santa Claus booking agencies make sure that Santa turns up where he is expected, some even offer Santa video chats. Rather do it yourself? Take a course at the online school for Santa’s: The Santa Claus Conservatory. DIY or on-demand, we wish you a memorable and joyful holiday season and a profitable new year.
Toy store resurrection
The holiday season is a critical time for U.S. toy stores: customers visit their stores more often and traditionally buy more toys than in other times of the year. This year, with Toys ‘R’ Us closing its doors in the summer, other parties have a perfect opportunity to fill the void. Part of the consumers will make a shift to Amazon, which presented its first printed holiday toy catalogue, adding QR codes to enable customers to instantly shop online. But traditional, physical retailers may benefit as well. General retailers such as Target and Walmart have expanded their in-store toy section and are enabling customers to test toys, both in their stores and online (e.g. Walmart toy lab). Meanwhile, Magic Beans created a ‘virtual toy sale’ with demos and special offers on Facebook and YouTube, and FAO Schwartz re-opened its famous flagship store, where experience is key. By offering an entertaining (online and offline) experience, retailers are making shopping for toys fun again and lure consumers out of their homes and into the stores.