Don’t Start Too Late This Holiday Season: 5 Shopping Trends to Keep an Eye On Now

  •    Aimee Thompson works in Marketing at POWr. She is passionate about all things Kate Spade and helping small businesses access the apps they need to achieve success.

Do you hear that? The distant hum of carols? Already, the smell of pumpkin spice lattes permeates the air spreading hipster joy to the masses. It’s undeniable, the holidays are coming, and there’s no time like the here and now to begin preparing. Tis the season, after all, and it’s especially important as an eCommerce retailer to stay alert to new shopping trends as the holiday season approaches in order to see maximum profits.

I know, I know, get to the good stuff already! Without further ado, here are 5 shopping trends you should be keeping an eye on now:

1. Holiday shopping is beginning earlier than ever!
But, it’s not even Thanksgiving yet...

Thanks to the World Wide Web, shoppers no longer have to wait for seasonal sales to get great deals on gifts for their loved ones. This means being able to knock-out holiday shopping lists much earlier. In fact, 35.5% of holiday shopping is occurring prior to Thanksgiving! The leaves haven’t even had a chance to turn, and no longer bound by seasonal deals (i.e. Black Friday--though it also experienced record sales in 2017), shoppers eagerly look to online retailers for their gift-giving needs quicker than you can sing, Old, Saint Nick.

What does this mean for you? You’ll want to begin strategizing for holiday shopping much earlier. Pay close attention to your competitors. What kinds of deals are they offering? Can you offer better deals or incentives to lure more shoppers to your store? By spending time planning for this early holiday shopping rush, you’ll be able to better prepare your online store to profit as much as possible.

If you’re curious about when your customers plan to embark on the holiday shopping journey, you can always create a survey on your site asking just that along with how much they intend to spend per person, how many people they’ll be purchasing for, etc. This can give you valuable insight into their intentions and help you be better prepared.

2. Only One-third of Budgets go Towards Physical Gifts
Pretty sure I count as both a physical gift and an experience 😉

Santa Claus's sack of gifts will be a bit lighter this year as only a third of holiday budgets will go toward physical gifts. More people are opting to gift experiences while others plan to host/attend in place of exchanging presents. Sorry, Santa. It looks like you can expect less milk and cookies this year.

As a result of these findings, it’s important you’re able to reach as many of the physical gift giving bunch as you can. You could also focus on marketing your physical product(s) as experiences in order to appeal to that crowd as well. For example, if I sold running shoes, I would focus my marketing efforts on the experience of running in said shoes versus the shoes themselves. I would want potential customers to visualize where the shoes would take them and what they would help them accomplish--#lifegoals.

3. 51% of holiday budgets are spent online
Once upon a time, people actually went to physical stores where they stood in line to purchase gifts--Ha! Ha! Ha! 😂

With the majority of holiday shopping occurring online, it’s important to ensure your eCommerce store is geared up and functioning at optimum levels. Note that while 51% of shopping will occur online, the number of millenials and gen Z-ers is even greater! It’s worth investing marketing time and resources to appeal directly to these groups. These statistics bode well for you, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have to expend as much energy and resources to achieve your holiday sales goals. It’s important to remain competitive and develop compelling strategies to draw shoppers to your site.

Popups are great tools for capturing customers’ attention and alerting them about deals, incentives and special events. You can even offer exclusive codes to first-time shoppers in return for joining your email list! It’s a win-win! They receive a discount, and you expand your contact list.

4. Mobile is the most-favored holiday shopping channel
Holiday shopping, here I co--what do you mean this won’t work? It’s a mobile phone 😧

Lookout, laptop and desktop computers! Holiday shopping is going mobile and was responsible for 40% of holiday purchasing in 2017. Based on the data gathered in 2017, we’re looking at a 48% year-over-year increase in mobile shopping trends.

Okay, Aimee, what does this mean for my business? This means ensuring your site is mobile optimized is imperative. Don’t miss out on all those shoppers just aching to scroll through your site via their handy-dandy smartphone and make sweet, sweet holiday purchases!

5. Cross-Marketing & Personalization Sells More
Oh, is this too personal of an experience? I guess I misunderstood... 😬

The competition in the cyber holiday shopping realm is very real. Many eCommerce merchants are adopting cross-marketing and personalized shopping experiences and seeing positive results! Who doesn’t enjoy experiences catered to their unique taste?

When it comes to cross-marketing, think of products you have that complement one another. For example, if you’re selling hair care products, you might suggest your customer purchase the shampoo along with the conditioner for maximum benefit. In this way, the suggestion feels natural and specific to the customer’s needs.
Now, let’s get personal. One of my favorite things about certain eCommerce brands is how they suggest items to me based on my purchase history. I mean, it’s a blessing and a curse, but I digress. It’s an effective tactic that keeps this girl coming back for more. For instance, let’s say you sell stunning fair trade clothing. By tracking what your customers purchase, you open the door to suggest items similar to their past purchases (i.e. Because you loved our Super Softy Sweater, we knew you’d want to checkout our Super Softy Sleep Pants). Based on this customer’s shopping history, you can highlight items specific to their style/interest and have a higher likelihood of creating repeat customers.

As you prepare for the mad (early) rush of holiday shopping, remember to pay attention to the above trends and look for ways you can capitalize on them this holiday season. Make sure your eCommerce store stands out this season, so you can smash your revenue goals.