Three Trends that Will Affect Holiday Retail as Consumers Start Shopping

According to Stitch Labs, mobile, omnichannel and data are going to become more prevalent in consumer decisions

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San FranciscoAugust 26, 2015—Retailers are already busy prepping for the holiday season. But, before the season is in full swing, you may want to read about these three trends that will affect retail as consumers start shopping. As mobile, omnichannel and data become more prevalent in consumer decisions, retailers must stay one step ahead.

1. Data Will Take a Front Seat in Planning for the Holidays

Retailers will be relying more on data to drive sales and inventory decisions. How retailers gather data is just as vital as the data itself. Implementing a central inventory management system that tracks cross-channel sales data is what retailers will rely on most to make smarter decisions this holiday season.

During the holidays, retailers need to pay particular attention to best-selling items and how they gather the supply of these items. These two factors will impact, and could cause, overselling—which is something retailers often face during such a busy shopping season. By looking at historical sales reports, such as top-selling products or best-selling items by channel, retailers can better prepare their operations and warehousing. Retailers should also add one more safety net by setting a low-stock threshold on those best-selling products so being out of stock becomes a thing of the past.

It doesn’t stop at individual business data. Retailers should also leverage industry insights to drive business decisions. While unique business analytics is the priority, e-commerce industry data is just as important to get a peek into the current health of the industry and where it’s headed.

This Internet Retailer sales prediction article, depicted through 2018, is a good place to start to get up to speed on the current upward trend. With these two types of data available, retailers have a viewfinder into future holiday sales and the ability to sell even more, because they know where they stand against the market.

2. The Holiday Season Is the Perfect Way to Tap into 80 Million Millennials Who Will Be Shopping Everywhere

Millennials are the largest age cohort ever with over 80 million individuals in the United States. Additionally, Millennials were raised and shaped by technology, and are the most connected generation, never far from a smartphone, laptop or similar device. Because of this, traditional marketing is becoming less and less effective with these types of shoppers. Retailers have the opportunity, however, to turn them into loyal customers for decades to come. Millennials value brand loyalty and their purchasing power is on the rise. As the Baby Boomers move closer to retirement, Millennials will take over their spending segment.

To capture this brand-new audience, retailers need to get creative. A few great suggestions include:

  • Host a faux-Black Friday sale (see Amazon’s #PrimeDay).
  • Focus on social media, leveraging Facebook and Instagram to build a network.
  • Retarget last year’s holiday shoppers and lure them back with a special promo code.
  • Host a hashtag promotion in which you encourage customers to share purchases on Instagram and Twitter.

3. Consumers Are in Search for the Best Prices and Experiences, and They’re Willing to Search Anywhere (Offline or Online) to Find Them

To succeed this holiday season, retailers must be available to customers everywhere and at all times. The trick to succeeding as an omnichannel seller is to be active on multiple sales channels, while maintaining a single brand throughout each channel. Consistency is key to increasing sales and building a loyal customer base.

Forbes discussed the omnichannel revolution in an article from February 2015 in which, “according to a survey conducted by Retail Systems Research in June 2013, around 84 percent of the retailers polled worldwide believed that creating a consistent customer experience across channels was very important. Moreover, multichannel shoppers have a tendency to spend more than regular shoppers as they have access to a wider product range and additional discounts.”

What does this mean for you during the holidays? Make sure your website is first and foremost mobile-friendly. Be sure to offer discounts across channels, not just through your shopping cart website, but also in your brick-and-mortar business and even email campaigns.

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