Retail Trends That Will Wrap Up the Holiday Season

Retail Trends to Watch for This Holiday Season

With the 2017 holiday season upon us, retailers are hoping that their well-planned strategies will deliver a season that is especially merry and bright! Whereas, shoppers are making changes to their traditional shopping habits and demanding a more pleasurable retail experience. All these exciting new trends are redefining the world of retail.  And according to experts, retailers who embrace such trends will flourish. Those who do not, will have to learn the hard way. Here are just a few of the retail trends to watch out for during the 2017 gifting season.

Nostalgia is repeating its allure among holiday shoppers, especially millennials.

Retailers expect this trend to go even broader in 2017 as the increased interest in “everything old is new again” reveals itself.  Last year, shoppers were looking for nostalgic items such as portable record players, vinyl records, Nintendo DS and Legos. The demand for items such as these and the re-introduction of classic Kodak film are proof this trend isn’t going away any time soon.  In light of the tumultuous times we live in, it is no surprise that shoppers are reaching back in time for things that remind them of a more comfortable period in their lives.

Omnichannel is the new normal.

Omnichannel is defined as a multichannel approach to sales that seeks to provide the customer with a seamless shopping experience whether they are shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, by telephone or in a brick and mortar store.  Retailers are catering to omnishoppers or those who go online to research but buy in store and those who see their item in a store but buy it online.  This retail trend continues for 2017. Retailers want to enable shoppers to buy whatever, wherever, and in whichever way they chose. So, whether it’s Dominos offering customers new ways to order through Facebook or Starbucks with their mobile app allowing customers to order and pay before picking up in-store; retailers are expected to continue to invest in their omnichannel strategies for the 2017 holiday season.

Black Friday is not your average Black Friday anymore.

Direct mail pieces and online ads are flooding mailboxes, advertising “early” Black Friday deals. Getting a jump on the traditional date began last year and continues to be a tenacious trend for the 2017 holiday season.  There may be an actual date for Black Friday.  However retailers and shoppers who are eager to begin the shopping season are driving a change to the traditional Friday after Thanksgiving date.  Last year Walmart decided that Black Friday deals would start a full week before Thanksgiving.  Their action caught many retailers and shoppers off guard. However, it also generated excitement, resulting in a high volume of holiday shoppers anxious to get a head start. Shoppers and retailers in 2017 should prepare for surprise sales announcements so they can reap the benefits of this retail trend.

Retailtainment is a 2017 trend that hopes to convince customers that making a trip to the store is well worth it!

Retailtainment (the fusion of retail and entertainment) is when a store owner provides fun and unique in-store experiences that customers cannot get online.  In order to compete with today’s increasing use of e-commerce sites, brick and mortar stores are attempting to turn holiday shopping into an event!  Stores such as Urban Outfitters, for example, bought the upscale Philadelphia pizza shop Pizzeria Vetri as part of a plan to build stores that offer something delightfully extra to their customers. Some Tommy Bahama locations even offer an in-store bar! Walmart has plans to hold 20,000 festive parties at its stores; where attendees can receive curated gift guides and toy catalogs.

Retailers hope that their efforts will prompt shoppers to turn off the computer and go where they can get more for their time spent. Elevating the shopping experience has been appealing to holiday shoppers; with in-store sales expected to increase this year as a result.  For that reason, one should expect to see much more retailtainment as part of the retail trends for 2017.

The small store is in, and the big store is not!

“Less is more” is one of the retail trends to watch this holiday season. Shoppers are preferring the small store format to the large big box stores.  This is prompting retail giants such as Target and Best Buy to invest in smaller-format stores.  Customers are moving away from the big stores because shoppers simply do not want to waste precious time wandering down the aisles of enormous stores searching out their items. Large stores can be overwhelming with their vast product choice. Holiday shoppers are preferring a quick and easy experience once they arrive in a store.

Along these same lines, specialty stores are expected to outperform department stores. Specialty stores tend to stock local wares and artisanal products that are becoming more and more appealing to consumers. Specialty stores also tend to provide better in-store experiences because of their more personalized service and much more knowledgeable staff. That’s not to say that department stores are dead. Many of the big names (Bergdorf Goodman, Macy’s, Nordstrom) have all changed their business practices to rid themselves of their stuffy, old-fashioned image.  However, it is the small store and specialty shops that will lead the sleigh this year and top the retail trends 2017.

Thanksgiving Day shopping will happen at home this year.  

Thanks to more stores keeping their doors closed this Thanksgiving Day in order to allow employees to enjoy the holiday with family, less shoppers will be swapping their turkey dinner for a trip to the mall.  Instead consumers are expected to be shopping online at home.  Then taking a break to eat, and returning to their computers to get back to shopping Black Friday deals. A big growth in sales is predicted for after 4:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.  This trend means substantial gains for e-commerce—something online retailers such as Amazon, will be grateful for!

Speaking of shopping from home, another of the retail trends is shopping from home without ever lifting a finger.  Amazon continues to be king when it comes to shopping with ease.  Shoppers see their competitive pricing, great customer service, same-day shipping and the Prime program as excellent reasons to make Amazon their one-stop shopping choice.  According to Amazon their “Just Ask” feature on Echo is making holiday shopping virtually effortless. Echo connects to Alexa a cloud-based voice service so it can help out with useful shopping information. Alexa offers daily promotions and deals and is supported by Echo which knows the customer’s buying history, delivery address, and shipping and payment preferences.

Same-day shipping will become more prominent this holiday season.

With free shipping being an older concept and practically a given around today’s holiday season, shoppers are expecting more. Speed is what consumers are looking for.  Instant gratification is paramount and shoppers want their items almost immediately after ordering online.  Retailers who offer same-day shipping on purchases will benefit from this need for speed trend. Statistics continue to show that most shoppers are willing to pay more for same-day shipping.  They may cancel an online order if same-day shipping isn’t an option.

Holiday trends in 2017 will see retailers adopting mobile payments.  

Mobile payments are being described as the way of the future.  Retailers who have not embraced developments in payment technology will be making an effort to do so this holiday season. Mobile payments are no doubt rising.  And retailers will be adopting the type that works best for them, such as mobile POS systems, custom mobile payment apps such as Kohl’s Pay or third-party options like Apple Pay.

Expect to see a Cyber Week II.

Cyber Week II is the period of time between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. This is the time that those who received gift cards will redeem those cards online for goods. Experts predict that this trend will continue into the 2017 retail season. Retailers who pay attention to this trend and continue to advertise sales during this week, will secure additional holiday revenue.

Retailers who offer quality goods and transparency will benefit during the holidays this year.

Shoppers are becoming much more interested in where their money is going and what they are buying.  They want background information. Consumers will be asking the retailer questions.  Such as, where the goods come from, who made them and what they are made of.  Shoppers are moving toward companies that share their stories and reveal the inner workings of their companies. It is important in 2017 for a shopper to understand what exactly has gone into the product they are thinking of buying. This way, shoppers can feel better about their purchases.

There they are—some of the top retail trends that promise to make an impact on the 2017 holiday shopping season.  These are the trends that consumers are finding interesting. With all of the change going on in the retail world today, one thing is for certain; both shoppers and retailers are in for some exciting and teachable moments. Let the shopping begin!

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