We’re edging closer to the biggest shopping season of the year, and as a retailer you want to enter Q4 as prepared as possible. Part of that means ensuring that your operations are up-to-snuff and performing optimally, conversely it’s making sure you’re aware of the season’s trends to best prepare your strategy. Research firms and industry experts release reports and insights on the coming trends and retail annually. These predictive trends and collected data for Holiday 2015 can be incredibly beneficial to your business, by providing you with areas to focus on in organizing your holiday strategy.
eCommerce is capturing almost all the gains in retail sales currently. It’s estimated that this holiday season sales will hit $877.46 billion, with a huge percentage of that being spent online and on mobile devices. Although we’ve warned you about the dangers of Promotion Creep, it’s undeniable that holiday shopping is starting earlier and lasting-longer – but it’s also continuing to grow year-over-year, especially online. We went over the reports for the coming season to bring you what we think will be the top holiday trends for retailers and merchants this year!
2015 Holiday Trends for Retailers and Merchants
1. Shopping Anywhere, Anytime – Mobile
Reports show that nearly 50% of traffic to retail sites is coming from a mobile device! Research from IBM shows that 22.6% of online sales last year came from mobile, a 27.2 percent gain over the 2013. Mobile engagement and transactions will grow this holiday season, as consumers are connected more than ever. According to data collected by Google, 40% of holiday shopping occurred online in 2014. Further more, consumers are using their mobile devices in-store to research and browse! eMarketer expects US retail mCommerce sales to rise 32.2% in full-year 2015. Mobile devices allow consumers to purchase across various sales channels with full visibility to pricing, inventory, and quality. Customers now expect that their digital tools will enhance the in-store experience, reviving the once very personal experience of shopping with a friendly all-knowing associate to help. It’s strategically imperative that retailers invest heavily into digital technologies and capabilities like website design, functionality, interfaces, content, data collection, analytics, and advanced customer communications to make the most of the holiday shopping season.
Customers expect to have the convenience of mobile available to them this holiday season! Have your mCommerce strategy ready at the-go to help close the gaps, especially if you’re an omnichannel retailer.
2. The Early Bird Gets the…Best Gift? – Holiday Creep
Happy Halloween! Seeing that at the time of posting that it’s only September you may think I’m jumping the gun a little, right? Wrong, holiday creep is real and here. Shoppers are buying early, but also buying more. Be aware though that the “holiday shopping season” is no longer weeks but months, and consumer behaviour changes quickly over this time period. The best way to leverage holiday creep is to look at your existing data to help you predict what times during the season would be most optimal to execute on promotions and influence customers in the right moment. Retailers that can get in front of shoppers early-on in the season have shown to not only influence purchasing decisions, but also receive a higher ROI.
According to data collected by Google 48% of shoppers surveyed did their shopping on or before Cyber Monday, with a quarter of consumers completing some of their holiday shopping before Halloween
Related: SEM Budget Planning for the Holidays
3. Digital Gatekeepers – Email Marketing & Online Search
The online channel is experiencing exponential growth year after year, and not just during the holidays. A huge chunk of a retailer’s sales are coming from online. This means for the 2015 holiday shopping season retailers and merchants can expect that the best way to reach consumers will be through email marketing and online search. Online shopping is attractive to consumers due to convenience, allowing a shopper to discover the perfect present for their loved-one without having to brave crowded malls and shopping centres, and instead heading to their inboxes or running a Google search.
Email marketing is one of the largest channels during the Holiday season driving 17.7% of online orders during the 2014 season. Both search (organic and paid) and email act as a compass for consumers, guiding them to your brand and products and/or services. Creating a win through your email and search engine marketing efforts is important this holiday shopping season. But before you go ahead executing on email and SEM campaigns, make sure the strategies your implementing are actually effective, otherwise you risk losing customers and their loyalty.
4. Old Pals – Personalization
Forget the notion that technology is cold and impersonal, that online shoppers are sitting at home buying on their desktops, avoiding human interaction. Quite the contrary! Convenient one-stop-shopping experiences and the rapid penetration of mobile has created a need and want for more personalization online. Merchants and retailers not only have the technology available to them, but the data to drive the more effective personalized marketing. During the business of the holiday season retailers need to be present at the right moments, targeting the right market, with the right message to connect with potential customers.
Not all of your customers are the same, go the extra-mile to create a truly customized experience for them this holiday season. Segmentation and lifecycle campaigns will be your best friends. According to a recent Traf-Sys survey consumers are more likely to make a purchase if a retailer provides targeted and personalized offers. Personalization will help with your retention, and assist in acquire potential new customers. Brand loyalty is up-for grabs this holiday season, with consumers willing to make a change and buy from a new retailer. Keep it personal and dynamic for the holidays.
Related: Designing for the Holidays
Stay on Trend!
The holiday season is the most competitive time for retailers and merchants, making it that much more important for you to have your strategies in place well before the rush. eCommerce is growing and so is the holiday shopping season. There are few places you can look for formulate the most effective strategy for your eCommerce (and bricks and mortar) store. These are just our top picks for trends you can anticipate to see during the 2015 holidays. To help you create a win in this complex retail environment, remember:
1. Mobile devices are going to be the touchpoint for consumers this season, creating a new retail landscape.
2. Holiday creep means that consumers are starting their shopping earlier than ever, long-before Black Friday.
3. Email Marketing and Online Search will be one of the largest channels for retailers for the holiday season.
4. Personalized experiences vs. a one-size-fits all approach will help you retain and acquire new customers during the holiday madness.
To help you create a win this coming season we put together a free downloadable Holiday Sale Kit containing photoshop templates for on-site promotions, a work-back calendar of important dates, and a checklist of action items. Download the kit for free by click below: