The Holiday Shopping Season is Here

This Saturday, November 1st, will officially mark the beginning of retail’s busiest time of the year – the holiday shopping season. According Centro.net, the National Retail Federation estimated that the holiday shopping season can make up 40% of a retailers’ revenue for the entire year. The Thanksgiving holiday alone has produced a series of complimentary “shopping holidays” appropriately coined Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Companies like American Express have also gotten in on the action and have launched programs like Small Business Saturday to not only help small business owners, but to also capitalize on the benefits surrounding this very busy and profitable time of the year.

The holiday shopping season ignites a lot of activity and promotes commerce in a big way. Aside from spending, a lot of new business models and side industries have evolved from this annual phenomena. And over the years, we have seen many trends develop.  

 

Trend 1: The Prominence of the Pop-up Store

Pop-up stores, which are retail locations that open up for seasonal occasions, are one of the many trends we see. A perfect example of this are the Christmas Tree stores that seem to pop up in November. Mobile POS and other payment applications have made it increasingly easy to accept credit cards and other forms of payments in these satellite businesses. This has also led to enhancements in in-aisle check-out, which reduces long lines and increases transactions.

 

Trend 2: Retail Impacts Restaurants

We all know retail is king during the busy holiday shopping season, but another trend we've seen is the impact holiday shopping has on other types of businesses. Restaurants, cafés and other quick serve environments also thrive this time of year. Holiday Shopping is no longer just a retail event; the entire world of commerce looks to capitalize on the increase in spending. And the increase in sales doesn’t just come from food and beverage sales, gift cards have become an important part of a restaurant’s revenue, making the holidays even more important for the hospitality industry.

 

Trend 3: Online is King

It’s no secret that online shopping is at its highest level ever. Online is even more prominent during the holiday shopping season. In 2012, it was reported that Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving) became a more popular shopping day than Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving). Retailers rely a ton on their online stores to bring in a significant portion of their holiday season revenue via their web stores.

Showrooming is a very popular activity during the holiday season. Showrooming is the consumer activity of browsing for goods in-store but then buying them online. This year, however, we expect to see a rise in what we call Webrooming, which is the activity of researching goods online to go buy them in the store. Either way, the internet has become a major tool during the holidays.

 

Trend 4: Get Ready for Offers and Coupons

The holiday shopping season is probably the only time of the year that coupon inserts are just as popular to read as an epic novel. Retailers know this. Over the years, the popularity of Black Friday has prompted a widespread craze regarding enormous discounts. It can be downright fanatical. And this won’t go away soon. Retailers are actually getting smarter about the way they can target consumers with regards to offers and coupons and with applications using geo-location and other mobile technologies, the opportunities are almost endless.

 

There are many more trends that can be found and researched with regards to the holiday shopping season. These four have become extremely important to the retail industry and commerce as a whole. We are looking forward to a great holiday shopping season and helping our customers and partners succeed during this very important time of the year.