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The 2013 holiday shopping season is right around the corner and retailers are feeling optimistic. Shop.org is predicting that sales in November and December will grow between 13-15% over last holiday season to as much as $82 billion. As the cash registers and shopping carts start to rack up holiday sales, savvy retailers are reviewing their marketing plans to prepare for how their customers will shop in 2013.
We’ve gathered some predictions, trends and expert recommendations to help you make the most of your holiday campaigns.
It would be wise for retailers to kick off the holiday season early. There are fewer shopping days this year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the peak holiday shopping period. Last year buyers and sellers had 31 days of shopping compared to this year which is only 25 days. This gives people only 4 shopping weekends instead of five. The second consideration is Hanukkah. In 2012, the holiday started on December 8. This year, Hannukah starts before Thanksgiving on November 27. So it is essential to ramp up for the holidays now!
The proliferation of mobile device usage has extended the reach of retailers. Whether at home or on the go, people will be using their mobile devices to shop this holiday season. According to predictions by Juniper Research, sales via smartphones and tablets will hit the $1.5 trillion mark by the end of this year and Forrester Research reported that most retailers are seeing 10-20% of sales come from mobile and some retailers are seeing more than 50%. Over the past few years, retailers have made significant investments in mobile and will continue to see increasing shopper activity through this channel during the holidays.
Retailers are harnessing the power of social networks to drive branding and direct response during the holiday season. During the holiday season, people are inundated with messaging so it will be crucial for retailers to tailor their interactions to specific consumers. Facebook, for example, offers the most comprehensive source of customer information ever. From demographics and psychographics to affinities and behaviors, marketers have a wealth of targeting data and combinations to achieve their marketing goals.
Omnichannel is on the minds of many retailers as they head into the busiest season of the year. A Thomson Reuters study showed that more than 1/3 of U.S. Internet users plan to shop equally online and in stores this holiday season. Delivering a consistent customer experience across channels is one of the most critical factors for success. Consumers don’t differentiate mobile from web or in-store experiences. They expect consistent pricing, product information and inventory information across channels. Retailers that have found success with omnichannel strategies claim that multiscreen users are significantly more valuable than single-screen users.
Retailers are increasingly depending on the days after Christmas to bring in sales. The final week of December can account for 15 percent of the month’s sales and the day after Christmas for some retailers is one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Gift cards have become popular gifts and when shoppers show up to redeem gift cards or return or exchange gifts they often spend more than the value of the gifts or cards.
It’s no surprise that consumers’ holiday shopping expectations have surged in recent years. Mobile, social, and omnichannel will continue to gain momentum this year and by capitalizing on these latest trends you’ll be in the best possible position to make 2013 your most profitable holiday selling season ever.