December 1, 2023
Retail Growth

Ho-Ho-Hold Everything: The Top Retail Tech Trends That Should Be Guiding Your Holiday Strategy

Sean Turner

Tis the season! As the holidays quickly approach, there’s never been a more crucial time for retailers and advertisers to look closely at the trends that are permeating the market, and to implement them into their end-of-year strategy. In recent years, consumers have significantly changed their holiday shopping habits—and their expectations of retailers—so understanding these trends is key to a successful and profitable holiday strategy.

Shoppers are Playing a Long Game By Starting Early and Spreading Out Budgets

According to data from the National Retail Federation (NRF), there has been a noticeable shift in consumer behavior when it comes to holiday shopping. In fact, a significant 46% of consumers initiated their holiday shopping before November last year, up from 39% in 2019. The trend of early holiday shopping is expected to continue in 2023, with 39% of shoppers indicating their intention to start shopping earlier than usual this holiday season, according to a recent NRF survey.

This shift towards early holiday shopping can be attributed to a crucial factor: budget allocation. Many consumers are choosing to spread out their holiday shopping expenditures throughout the months leading up to the holidays. In fact, the primary reason for beginning their holiday shopping as early as October or even earlier last year was to distribute the financial burden associated with the holiday season.

However, it's important to note that initiating shopping earlier doesn't necessarily translate into completing the entire shopping list ahead of time. The NRF survey showed that consumers were still actively shopping well into the holiday season with many only having completed about 53% of their holiday shopping on average.

Understanding this behavior underscores the importance of not only attracting early shoppers but also maintaining a compelling retail experience and marketing strategy throughout the entire holiday season. In order to stand out and capture the attention of early shoppers, retailers and advertisers should be making their wish list around a few key trends:

1. Getting Personal

In an era of data-driven marketing, personalization remains a top priority. Using first-party customer data and insights to create personalized shopping experiences—including targeted deals and offers—is a great way to connect to shoppers and create a friction-free environment they’ll appreciate amongst the sometimes-chaotic season.

Additionally, it’s important to remember that today’s consumers expect a seamless shopping journey across physical stores, websites, mobile apps and social media. Retailers should focus on creating a cohesive, omnichannel strategy that is finely tuned to offer convenience, consistency and flexibility to shoppers.

2. Being Flexible

Another crucial feature that holiday shoppers highly value is flexible payment options. The convenience and freedom to choose how they pay for their purchases play a pivotal role in their shopping decisions. Among the emerging trends, 'Buy Now, Pay Later' (BNPL) solutions have garnered significant attention. By offering solutions to help navigate what could otherwise be a budget-crushing time of year, options like this empower consumers to shop early, spread out their holiday spending and enjoy the season without financial stress. As we look at the holiday trends for 2023, the role of BNPL and other flexible payment choices cannot be underestimated. They’re not only reshaping how consumers approach their holiday shopping but also offering retailers a valuable tool to enhance their holiday strategies.

3. Leaning Into Retail Media

By leveraging their own digital platforms and media channels, retailers can not only curate personalized shopping experiences based on first-party data, but also capture the attention of early shoppers. Owned-and-operated retail media offers the advantage of shopper-level insights, enabling retailers to tailor their content and promotions to align with the changing consumer behaviors we've discussed earlier. In order to stand out and thrive during the holiday rush, integrating retail media into the mix is a strategic move that can significantly impact the success of your holiday campaigns—and your end-of-year revenue.

Putting Your Plan Into Action

The 2023 holiday season promises new opportunities for retailers, but success requires a proactive approach and many retailers find themselves without the resources to execute more tech-centric strategies. The good news is that there are companies, like Swiftly, who offer plug-and-play retail tools and solutions that can be up and running in time for the holidays.

Connect with Swiftly to get started today and make this holiday season not only joyful for your customers but also prosperous for your business.