Sign in

Holiday Shopping Is Coming Sooner Than You Think

Sanjay K
Holiday Shopping Is Coming Sooner Than You Think

5 Trends to Watch

The National Retail Foundation is forecasting a sales increase of 10-13% from a year ago. Merchants always look forward to the year’s fourth quarter; this season provides even more reason to be jolly. It also reinforces the value of the customer experience – if there is more traffic and more sales volume, there is a concurrent increase in demand for high-quality customer service, which we’ll touch on a bit later. The lockdowns that forced partial and full closures are more memory than reality, and there is a great deal of pent-up consumer demand that is being unleashed. With that in mind, there is quite a bit in-store (pun intended) for consumers. We rounded up six trends that are likely to drive the season.

1. Increased Online Shopping

This is a carryover of a behavior change that was forced by the Covid 19 pandemic. A captive shopping audience was pushed to electronic channels, which has become a habit for many. More stores are opening their doors for the 2021 holiday season, but the retail future seems to be digital and it’s not hard to see why. Numerous touchpoints assist shoppers in decision-making, including product reviews, details, recommendations, price comparisons, and 24/7 availability.

2. High Foot Traffic in Retail Outlets Expected

Last year, consumers either could not venture out due to restrictions or were hesitant to do so. The cure to cabin fever is getting out of our houses, particularly during the holiday season when stores are dressed in festive bunting, and the atmosphere is upbeat. Malls and outlets alike will experience larger crowds, and some merchants will try to sweeten the adventure with deals on items that are only applicable to in-person purchasing.

3. Customers Will Seek Convenience

This applies to online and in-store shopping alike and it has increasingly become a consumer expectation. Anything that makes buying easier tends to yield increased sales. While online shopping might take precedence for a time-strapped customer, convenience means the decision is no longer either/or, but rather, a case of and:

  • Consumers can order online
  • And then pick up purchases at their convenience
  • Or they can reserve products
  • People can be assured of immediate delivery
  • And they can return a purchase they do not like and get a replacement

4. Early Shoppers Expected

With last year’s memories still lingering, this holiday season will witness early demands. In 2020, 40% of shoppers opted to seek their holiday merchandise early to avoid supplies running out or overloaded checkout lines. News regarding supply chains warns of potential slowdowns in the delivery of goods. Online shoppers, in particular, like to have their packages arrive early. Along with questions about delivery times, shipping rates are another concern. This year will be no different regarding early demands, and proactive retailers are working to stock up ahead of the shopping peak.

5. Social Media Will Influence Purchase Decisions

As consumers turn to digital channels as their preferred mode of purchase, we expect social media to play a pivotal role in brand discovery. If they have not already, merchants are advised to revamp their social media strategy across all platforms, particularly those that generate the most traffic. Social media is also an emerging tech support channel and a great way of interacting with consumers.

Source: Holiday Shopping Is Coming Sooner

Sanjay K
Zupyak is the world’s largest content marketing community, with over 400 000 members and 3 million articles. Explore and get your content discovered.
Read more