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article image6 holiday shopping trends to watch for this year

By Jessica Oaks     Nov 19, 2015 in Lifestyle
The holiday shopping season has arrived and as shoppers stroll the stores aisles and peruse the e-commerce space they will notice some new and not-so-surprising trends marketers have implemented.
Brands are creating a more-engaged experience for online shoppers and using technology to their advantage with increased integration of technology offline on the shop floor as well. Customers can take note of six holiday shopping trends to watch for this year and shop efficiently with awareness.
1. Mobile Commerce is on the Rise
This year in tech innovations was a groundbreaking one for smartphones, phablets and tablets. Screen technology made massive leaps with 4K screen and video making its way into everyday phones. User experience on mobile has improved in touch sensitivity, intuitiveness and retina displays that project the clearest visuals to ever exist in the palms of everyday consumers. Furthermore, there is access to connectivity in places never imagined. Although there is still hesitation in data security, the ease of buying products from the mobile devices is easier with the UX upgrades that have taken place. In 2015, 53 percent of people who shopped online shopped using a smartphone or tablet — a 41 percent jump from the previous year. The exponential rise points to continued momentum in this modern-aged shopping space.
2. Online Video Influences Purchases
Consumers have begun to trust online video, from sources such as YouTube, for reviews on products and are taking strong consideration of what these videos offer before deciding on a purchase. This trend aligns with the increased use of mobile and connected technology — with visual information right at their fingertips they are able to see if a product is good or not, instantly with Internet connection.
3. Brands Are Adapting to Online
It’s already been in the works for many years, but defined retail days like Cyber Monday have pushed brands to adapt their shopping platform and marketing strategy to the digital arena. This year’s Cyber Monday is projected to generate $3 billion, according to Adobe’s forecast, which means brands are heavily promoting their deals via emails, targeted social ads and through mobile applications. Brands are also engaging consumers in innovative ways aside from the standard advertising vehicles. For instance, T-Mobile hosts a Naughty or Nice quiz on its site to help online customers (or potential customers) take a quiz to find out which devices and service packages fit best.
4. Customers Move Between E-Commerce Channels
Although e-commerce is definitely hitting its peaks this holiday season, it doesn’t mean shoppers are only staying on one device to buy their items. Sixty-seven percent of consumers move between devices when shopping online — that means computer to phone to tablet and even back to computer. In fact, in 2014, only 23 percent of consumer who researched on their smartphone ended up buying on mobile. This activity will equate to cross-channel marketing for many brands — a user may be looking at shoes on their desktop at work then, when he/she opens Facebook on the commute home, an ad for the same shoes could appear. Data is being leveraged to create personalized search help during the buying process.
5. Brick-and-Mortar Branding with Good Deeds
Some brands are making a big statement this year by closing or limiting store hours at brick-and-mortar locations during Black Friday. The day after Thanksgiving, infamous for door-buster sales and early am hours, has seemingly gotten out of control with many stores even opening on the actual Thanksgiving Holiday. To take a strong corporate stance, physical locations of stores like REI are closed on Black Friday, with the intent to allow their employees to enjoy the holiday with friends and family. It not only is working in terms of building brand reputation as a brand that cares less about materialistic things but values life experiences, but it also encourages customers to shop online.
6. Integrating Technology at Brick-and-Mortar
In terms of brick-and-mortar shopping, consumers will notice increased integration and use of technology at the store. Regular processes like handing a receipt to a customer have changed to offer options of emailing to the customer — the email address is then stored to the shop’s database and the shopper doesn’t have crumpled receipts in pocket. Operational efficiencies will also be improved with sales associates able to help customers find out if an item is in stock via the store’s tablet that taps into inventory. Last but not least, interactive in-store booths will appear more and more on the floors to capitalize on the latest technologies and engage passerbyers.
This holiday shopping season is full of innovations and digitalized engagement. Online shopping is playing a key role with consumers and the experience of making a list and checking it twice if improving upon itself just in time for the holidays.
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