Fall is here and along with the changing seasons comes the need to nail down your holiday shopping strategy. As we saw last year, holiday shopping is starting earlier every year. With consumers starting their shopping as early as September, it is important to make sure you are ready as early as possible. Part of being ready is knowing what is coming. Looking at the top trends every year can help you craft a strategy that will lead to a successful holiday season.

According to Signal, e-commerce retail shopping is set to increase by 18% making it vital that your digital shopping experience is up to speed with the larger competitors such as Amazon and Zappos. With many consumers switching to purchasing on mobile, it is more important than ever that your mobile site and check out experience is the best experience it can be for the consumer. A lost sale during the holidays isn’t just about the lost profit, it is about losing that customer forever. Holidays are a great time to attract new customers, make sure you are doing everything you can to make them a repeat purchaser once the holiday season has finished. So what can you do to make sure you have a successful season? These few trends are worth a look at:

Know Your Customer Better Than Your Competition

Customers are looking for a more personalized and relevant experience. Period. In today’s data driven marketing world, consumer expect to receive an experience that is customized to them. They expect their favorite company to know them and speak to them in a way that stands out. Knowing your customer better than your competition can lead to your success over theirs. Using your first party data such as transaction history and derived variables like lifetime spend, you can see who your best customers are, what they are purchasing and use that to ensure a repeat purchase. During the holidays, it is hard to stand out and make an impression, using your data to speak directly to your customer will help you to do just that. For example, if you know they just purchased from you, send them communication thanking them for their order and offering a discount off their next purchase. Or perhaps they were a high value customer last holiday season but you have yet to see them come back, send them something acknowledging that you haven’t seen them in a while and offering an incentive to come back. Taking the time to set up a few personalized messages can be all it takes for you to win the purchase over your competitor.

Buy Online, Pick Up In Store

According to e-marketer via Rakuten Marketing, “50% of shoppers ages 21-39 planned on using in-store pickup during the 2015 holiday season.” This trend is only going to increase as the younger generation makes more of an appearance in retail shopping this year. Consumers are looking for an easy shopping experience and a way to save on shipping and delivery. This method allows the consumer the opportunity to have almost instant gratification and lower the amount of time they wait when shipping an item. When given the opportunity between picking up in store or expedited shipping even if free, consumers tend to opt for in store pick up to get the product into their hands as soon as possible. With the instant gratification of online shopping comes the want for that same gratification to be present when receiving the item. If this is an option for your business, make sure you are making it clear and present even before they get to the check-out page.

Make Mobile Matter

With mobile commerce increasing 10x in a year over year analysis from 2014 to 2015 according to Rakuten, making mobile matter in your holiday strategy is imperative to success. Is your site mobile friendly? Have you gone through the purchasing process on your phone to ensure there are no hiccups? Consumer are shopping on their phones even when in store. Make sure you aren’t losing customers by having a poor mobile experience. If your product isn’t easy to find and purchase from a phone, no matter how good your product is, you likely just lost that sale. Test, test, test to ensure that the experience you have laid out for your consumer is the easiest one possible.

As shoppers search for that perfect gift, there is no perfect strategy that will unwrap your success but paying attention to and creating a strategy around these three trends will help you gain their attention in a season full of noise.

Need more holiday strategy tips and advice? Our partners at Bronto have a couple key tips and tactics to help you “sleigh more revenue this holiday season.” Check out their holiday academy as well as our previous holiday blog posts to learn more!