Congratulations—you made it through the holiday season. Whether you’re celebrating your successes or curious about what you could have done differently, January’s the time to set goals for the year ahead. That’s why we’re taking a look back at 2015’s holiday retail headlines and considering what businesses can learn for a more successful 2016.
 
Here are a few happenings that caught our eye this holiday season:

E-commerce Got a Big Boost

The results are in from MasterCard SpendingPulse. It turns out, shoppers did far more online shopping in 2015 than the year before—about 20 percent more to be exact.

Lesson for 2016: Whether shoppers browse and buy solely online, or head into your store for some research before going the e-commerce route, an omnichannel-driven strategy will make sure you capture and keep their attention from store to screen and everywhere in between. That means advertising both online and in-store sales on your payment device’s splash screen at the checkout counter, leveraging social media to highlight special offers and personalizing the shopping experience for each customer.  

Indecisive Shoppers Delayed Their Buying

On December 1–9, the National Retail Federation asked shoppers when they planned to finish their holiday shopping. Only 10 percent said they were done buying gifts at the time. Of the remaining 90 percent, around 45 percent were indecisive about their gift options, about 30 percent were waiting on family and friends to give them a better idea of what to buy and another 22 percent were holding out for better bargains. The rest just hadn’t gotten around to shopping yet.

Lesson for 2016: Those indecisive or unsure shoppers could hint at an opportunity for the year ahead. Pay attention to the deals and experiences your competition serves up—especially during the busiest shopping times—and use that information to improve your own retail strategy. A slightly better deal, more personalized service or even free shipping could win over a consumer who’s hesitant about where to spend their money (during the holidays and all year round). For those who are waiting for a better price, consider sprinkling some of your best deals throughout the holiday season—not just a few days before Christmas.

Some Stores Made it Good to Be a Last-Minute Shopper

Out of 500 shoppers polled in a survey by Vennli, almost 70 percent favored Target as the destination for last-minute buys. They were most drawn to those end-of-December bargains and free Christmas delivery up until Dec. 21. The ability to buy online and pick up in store also helped reduce shopping stress, with half of the store’s web shoppers taking advantage of that flexibility.

Lesson for 2016: Holiday shopping is often overwhelming, between the busy parking lots, long lines and the pressure to check everyone off that list. Retailers have the opportunity to eliminate some of that stress by taking a page from Target’s book and prioritizing shopper convenience. In the year ahead, think of small changes that will help customers keep calm and get their list taken care of in the most efficient way possible. They’ll likely thank you by returning again and again.

December 26th Got Its Time in the Spotlight

American Express asked shoppers when they’re most likely to shop, and the day after Christmas was favored over both Black Friday and Cyber Monday—66 percent of those surveyed, to be exact. Many saw those sales as the perfect time to get themselves a present or two, use gift cards they received over the holidays or even get ahead of 2016 holiday shopping.

Lesson for 2016: Most stores offer deep discounts on the day after Christmas, but consider sweetening the deal to make the 26th more than just a time to save on last season’s merchandise. With greater crowds in your store, it’s the perfect time to introduce customers to next season’s merchandise, give them a heads-up about upcoming sales and even ask them to sign up for your store’s loyalty program. That way, they’ll be thinking about your store well past December.

What are your 2016 retail resolutions? Leave us a comment and let us know!

 
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​​Holiday Shopping In Review: What We Can Learn for 2016