Once again the holidays are just around the corner! There is no doubt that maintaining optimal success during the holidays can be a challenge for any business. Not only must you stay on top of your marketing and inventory, but you also must deal with changing dynamics in shopping trends. Consumer shopping habits are always in a state of flux and can change quite rapidly.


The experts at Forester predict a massive opportunity this year, as they forecast that sales in both November and December will be extremely high. In fact, Forester is predicting a rather impressive 13% growth over the same time period in 2013. You need to be ready and able to take advantage of this major spike in shopping activity.


Tip Number One-Stay on Top of the Stats


In recent MarketLive survey about etailing entitled “25 Tips for Turning Your Holiday Season into an Omni-Channel Success Story,” 1000 customers responded and said they usually spend more than $250 online. The majority of these respondents were 35-44, making $50,000-$75,000 per year and either had no children or no children living with them. All of the shoppers profiled also owned smartphones.


MarketLive statistics also revealed that 55% of people’s holiday budget is in excess of $500. Rather strikingly, MOST® shoppers plan to buy more than 11 presents this year.


The Internet maintains a major holiday shopping footprint. Last year, 65% of respondents noted that they would make 65% of their purchases online. For 2014, this number is holding steady at 59%.


It is also quite important to note that this study showed that 2 out of 3 shoppers will use Amazon this year. Further, 2 out of 3 shoppers plan to make at least 25% of their holiday purchases at Amazon. A large percentage of shoppers say that they check for competitive prices on Amazon before making a purchasing decision. Even when people are shopping in a store, they will still take a moment to consult with Amazon’s pricing before making a purchase.


What should your takeaway be from these key facts? You need to be quite certain that your prices are comparable with Amazon if you want to compete. It is simply not safe to assume that shoppers are not aware of Amazon’s pricing.


Tip Number Two-Stay on Top of the Trends


There are definitely some changing trends you’ll need to be aware of this year. For example, USPS will be delivering packages 7 days a week this year.


Additionally, keep in mind that sales are starting much earlier this year, so don’t wait until Thanksgiving to get in the game. Holiday promotions are beginning earlier than ever.


Tip Number Three-Mobile


Your website should be be optimized for mobile shopping, pure and simple. Otherwise, you will miss out on a wide range of marketing opportunities.


For example, high percentage of people this year will be accessing their promo coupons for shopping in stores. They will be also using their phones to check for ratings and reviews online, and scanning bar codes. Your site must be easy to navigate via mobile and work on multiple devices. Otherwise you may be handing business over to your competitors.


Tip Number Four-Use a Personal Touch


No doubt the Internet has made shopping less personal than it once was, but that doesn’t mean you can’t infuse a personal touch. If you are a small business, this kind of personalization will assist you to compete against larger entities. This can mean everything from special discounts for your MOST® loyal customers to customized thank you letters.


Tip Number Five-Take Advantage of Shopping Days Like Cyber Monday


Black Friday and Cyber Monday are growing in significance every single year. If you ignore these critical days, your competitors will certainly gain the advantage. According to Forbes, online sales on Thanksgiving will hit $1.35 billion this year, which is an all-time record. They also predict that sales on Black Friday will grow 28% and reach $2.48 billion. Make sure your website and staff are ready to handle these events.


Strongly take all of these tips into careful consideration, as you prepare for the holiday season. Remember that holiday shopping is starting a little earlier every year, so be ready! The good news is that statistics show that 2014 will be tremendously profitable for etailers and retailers alike.