holiday shopping trends

When it comes to planning for the holiday shopping season, it seems like it’s never too early – both from the retailer and customer perspectives. According to Social Annex, 61% of shoppers began gift research before Halloween and 48% completed shopping by Cyber Monday in 2014. Your customers have very likely already started their holiday shopping today if not sooner. Plus, the National Retail Federation projects November and December retail sales to increase 3.6% to $655.8 billion this year – possibly driven by the fact that 60% of millennials surveyed by NRF said they actually love holiday shopping. But what are the big trends we’ll be seeing come from both consumers and retailers this year?

The Fight For Mobile Attention
Last year, 43% of mobile shoppers purchased consumer electronic products on their phones while also looking at those products in-store. Plus, 56% of searches during the holiday season were done on a mobile device. Mobile is massively important to having a successful holiday season – both from the research and discovery end and also during the point-of-purchase. Marketers should look at both in-store and digital ways to target consumers and their devices. According to Marketing Land, the top reasons shoppers pull out their mobile devices is to search for in-store coupons, compare prices or to learn more information about the product from online reviews. Your mobile site has now become part of the in-store experience, so make it easy for consumers to find the product they’re looking for through proper product tagging or being able to search by bar codes. Look at your mobile product pages – are they set up to show the consumer exactly what they want first? Savvy retailers can also offer in-store push notifications around deals or coupons.

Social Selling Gets Serious
We saw brands dipping their toes into the social selling world last year – from paid Snapchat filters to click-to-buy buttons on Youtube. This year, expect to see that become smarter and more targeted. For example, reward your followers and brand advocates with exclusive deals or early specials to promote continued brand love and sharing. And instead of always waiting for consumers to reach out to the brand, we’ll see more and more proactive social marketing with the brand offering suggestions and help to consumers posting about related topics.

The Video Revolution Continues
Video’s continued rise in importance for marketing will not be missed by retailers. We expect to see even more Hollywood-style mini-movies that pull at our heartstrings masquerading as ads. However, for brands who maybe don’t have a Hollywood budget or who just want to add on to their video list this year, consider other ways to tap into this format. For example, livestream a gift guide video on Facebook or develop Buzzfeed Tasty-style videos but for creative ways to gift wrap your products on Instagram. And of course, take a page out of the Kate Spade handbook, and include links to all the items shown. If you have full access, making a “shop this video” page with all the items listed out and easy for consumers to purchase is also a great way to track and measure ROI.

About The Author

Monica is a book hoarder and gets overexcited about community-driven marketing. She lives in New York City and dreams of a day when a landlord will let her have a cat.