With the holiday shopping season right around the corner, online stores and in-person retailers are prepping for a significant shift in purchasing trends. This year comes with many changes in how holiday shopping occurs, from early bird shoppers starting in September to mobile commerce exploding in popularity. These are just a few of the trends you need to follow to keep your eCommerce website up to speed with the rest of the industry.
Let’s take a detailed look at the holiday shopping trends you can expect in the coming season.
Shopping Will Begin Early
Suppose you’ve recently been to the wholesale giant Costco. In that case, you might have noticed that they already have Christmas decorations and distinctive gifts available to purchase despite being just one week out of October. The company has prepared itself for the massive demand shift this season with the economic adjustments and changes due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Similarly, your online store should be gearing up and preparing for early bird shoppers looking to save money before the rush of Christmas comes, as well as any other unforeseen changes in the U.S. and global economy. If your store sells physical goods, now is the time to ensure all inventory is in stock. To avoid cash flow issues, consider applying for a Net 30 account so you can spread invoice payments over an extended period.
More Purchases From Mobile Devices
According to Statista.com, mobile commerce (m-commerce) should surpass $430 billion in the U.S. this year, a two-fold increase from 2019. Other estimates suggest that by 2025, mobile retail will surpass $620 billion per year, making up 42% of eCommerce retail. This year also saw the first significant shift in mobile app ordering when Walmart app purchases surpassed Amazon's.
Most Customers Will Prefer Large Marketplaces
Online marketplaces will dominate this shopping season by allowing consumers to compare prices, find the best deals, and get faster deliveries. Customers will likely prefer subscription-based services, such as Amazon Prime, and bulk buying to keep shipping costs low. Online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay will probably grow faster than small eCommerce stores.
Brands Will Increase Collaborations With Social Media Influencers
Last year’s holiday season saw a significant increase in influencer/brand collaborations, and there’s no reason to think 2022 will be any different. With 58% of American shoppers saying they’re more likely to buy a product if an influencer promoted it, brands need to continue leveraging social media influencers to build interest in their products, drive more visitors to their site, and increase conversions and sales.
The Growth of Social Commerce
Social commerce will continue to be important in 2022, with 58% of consumers saying social media influences their holiday purchasing decisions. Additionally, over 50% of American adults plan to purchase social media this year. Brands must start preparing their social media campaigns earlier than usual to tailor each campaign to their target platform.
How To Improve Your eCommerce Store To Prepare for the Holidays
Now that you know how the economic and holiday tides are turning in 2022 let’s consider some actionable steps you can take on your eCommerce website. These actions will help increase traffic and conversions of your products and improve UX/UI, leading to better customer experiences and, ultimately, more sales.
Make Sure It Has a Mobile-Friendly Design
There are a variety of techniques you can use to make your website mobile-friendly, but the most critical and actionable requirements are:
- Keeping load times under 50 milliseconds
- A single-column layout
- On-brand design
- Reducing the amount of text the user has to read
- Mobile-friendly fonts
- Designing your website for other mobile devices, such as tablets, as well
Don’t Forget Site Security
Ensuring your website has a robust security system is vital for building long-term customer loyalty, especially in a day and age where so many online scams are looking to take advantage of people’s online shopping trust.
Your security system should include measures such as regular antivirus scanning, firewalls, and bot mitigation software. Additionally, ensure all customer data is encrypted and that your payment gateway provider complies with the PCI standards and other relevant regulations.
All these tools will help create a safe and secure environment for your data and customers.
Follow SEO Basics
Hiring an SEO specialist is one of the best ways to increase your organic traffic this holiday season. You could also install an SEO plugin to your WordPress website to improve the quality of your writing and get more traffic to specific pages or products.
88% of all internet traffic stays on the first page of Google, so if your website does not appear when a customer searches for a specific product, good luck seeing growth. It is a small price to pay for enormous traffic returns! Hiring an SEO specialist can make a massive difference in the success rate of your eCommerce store.
Integrate Crypto Payments
Despite the values of cryptocurrencies being at an almost all-time low, this might be a perfect opportunity to integrate crypto payments into your store. Why? Because crypto is so low, there are likely large numbers of individuals who purchased it as an investment but are now looking to get rid of it in exchange for something more tangible and reliable.
Various plugins and software integrations allow for cryptocurrency purchases, including PayPal. But whichever payment gateway you choose, ensure you have a safe and secure wallet set up to store your cryptocurrency assets.
This year, 34% of adults shopping for holiday gifts said that discounts and special offers would be the most crucial factor in their online purchase decisions. Another 21% said free shipping would close the deal.
Pricing your products appropriately and including room for discounts and free shipping will be a critical aspect to consider this holiday season as inflation prices are at a 40-year high and economies worldwide are seeing a downturn.
2022 will be quite the year for holiday shopping as it is the culmination of the end of a global pandemic. Customers’ shopping habits will also be influenced by a worldwide economic downturn, plummeting cryptocurrency and stock markets, and who knows what other disaster might strike in the next two months. One thing is for sure, though, it is vital to stay prepared and ahead of the game to take your market share of the shopping spree that is about to occur.