4 Retail Shopping Trends To Boost Your Holiday Sales

Con­sumers begin their hol­i­day shop­ping ear­ly, and are increas­ing­ly using search, online videos, and smart­phones to research their pur­chas­es.

Pat Hong By Pat Hong from Linkdex. Join the discussion » 0 comments

A suc­cess­ful hol­i­day shop­ping sea­son is crit­i­cal for retail­ers. Con­sumers have whole­heart­ed­ly embraced shop­ping incen­tives, organ­ic search, mobile, and video as part of their hol­i­day shop­ping expe­ri­ences. Brands and mar­keters need to do the same. You can be vis­i­ble and per­sua­sive at these moments by under­stand­ing how con­sumers shop dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son. Embrac­ing organ­ic search, and under­stand­ing the way con­sumers now use mobile and video for research, will help boost your hol­i­day sales.

The hol­i­day shop­ping sea­son is expect­ed to be quite strong in 2014, with sales fore­cast to grow 4 per­cent, accord­ing to the Inter­na­tion­al Coun­cil of Shop­ping Cen­ters. As the cru­cial hol­i­day peri­od gets ever clos­er, and con­sumers are more con­nect­ed than ever, Google has shared the lat­est in con­sumer shop­ping habits to help dig­i­tal mar­keters reach con­sumers at the moments they’re look­ing for deals – and grow sales. Hol­i­day shop­ping is no longer restrict­ed to nor­mal busi­ness hours. Google tells us that one-third of all shop­ping search­es on the search engine hap­pen between the hours of 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. The data coin­cides with recent reports that indi­cate peo­ple are using their tablets and mobile devices into the late hours to research, read reviews, and eval­u­ate pur­chas­es. Google’s find­ings con­firm what many mar­keters may already have expect­ed, for it has become quite a nat­ur­al prac­tice these days for many of us to read around the prod­ucts and con­tent we are inter­est­ed in before bed. As the study apt­ly puts it “today’s shop­per spends more time than ever research­ing pur­chas­es online at all hours of the day; we’ve gone from mid­night snack­ing to mid­night shop­ping.” Google con­duct­ed their annu­al Hol­i­day Shop­per Inten­tions research in part­ner­ship with Ipsos Medi­aCT, sur­vey­ing con­sumers on their shop­ping behav­ior. Among the key find­ings: peo­ple are begin­ning their shop­ping ear­li­er in the year. They are also using online video to research pur­chas­es much more so than in pre­vi­ous years. Peo­ple are also increas­ing­ly turn­ing to smart­phones as per­son­al shop­ping assis­tants. Here are four key facts mar­keters need to know for the hol­i­day shop­ping sea­son.

1. Black Friday Is A Crucial Month-Long Push For Retailers

The data indi­cates that peo­ple are begin­ning to research the prod­ucts they are inter­est­ed in ear­li­er, with more than 50 per­cent of con­sumers sur­veyed say­ing that they would start their hol­i­day shop­ping research before Thanks­giv­ing, and 26 per­cent of shop­pers say­ing that they would start before Hal­loween. Retail­ers are respond­ing by stretch­ing Black Fri­day pro­mo­tions across Novem­ber. No longer is the event a mad one-day rush of lim­it­ed deals, but a much more strate­gic, month-long mar­ket­ing push of deals, dis­counts, and incen­tives to com­ple­ment one of the most impor­tant shop­ping months of the year.


2. More Consumers Rely On Organic Search To Research

Pur­chase jour­neys are longer and more com­plex. Shop­pers are spend­ing more time research­ing pur­chas­es, and con­sult­ing more sources before mak­ing a deci­sion. Google states that in 2010, shop­pers con­sult­ed an aver­age of five sources of infor­ma­tion before pur­chas­ing, but that has now more than dou­bled with shop­pers con­sult­ing at least 12 sources on aver­age, per pur­chase in 2013. For retail­ers it means that organ­ic search per­for­mance, being vis­i­ble and present to con­sumers, in the October/November peri­od has become a busi­ness crit­i­cal peri­od. Ensur­ing con­sumers are see­ing and appre­ci­ate offers, infor­ma­tion, how-tos, and con­tent you offer is key to achiev­ing high rev­enues.

3. YouTube Is A Regular Part Of The Research Process

Video reviews, whether it be unbox­ing videos, or prod­uct com­par­isons, are becom­ing a stan­dard part of the research process for many con­sumers. “Haul videos”, where con­sumers share their pur­chas­es of ‘hauls’ around major shop­ping events such as Black Fri­day have have been watched more than 1.1 bil­lion times on YouTube, and views for the term are 1.7 times high­er this year com­pared to last year.


4. Smartphones Are Personal Shopping Assistants

Google’s sur­vey revealed that 75 per­cents of shop­pers who own smart­phones intend to use their devices in-store this win­ter shop­ping sea­son. It marks a cru­cial change in the way con­sumers are shop­ping. While shop­pers used to essen­tial­ly do all their research and eval­u­a­tion in-store, per­haps with the help of a sales assis­tant, today’s shop­pers are now mas­sive­ly empow­ered with infor­ma­tion, reviews, price com­par­i­son apps, and avail­able dis­counts and offers with just a few taps and swipes. Retail­ers are there­fore urged to under­stand and appre­ci­ate the way con­sumers are using mobiles in-store, mak­ing infor­ma­tion fast, avail­able, and respon­sive for mobile users. Rather than imped­ing sales, the sur­vey indi­cat­ed that 46 per­cent of shop­pers who con­sult­ed a smart­phone in store end­ed up trans­act­ing in-store, an 11 per­cent increase from 2011.

Pat Hong

Written by Pat Hong

Editor at Linkdex/Inked, Linkdex

Pat covers the SEO industry, digital marketing trends, and anything and everything around Linkdex. He also authors Linkdex's data analysis and reports, analysing the state of search in various industries.

Inked is published by Linkdex, the SEO platform of choice for professional marketers.

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