Official Start of the Holiday Shopping Season

In only a few days, retailers will get this holiday season semi-officially underway. Black Friday on November 23, Small Business Saturday on November 24, and Cyber Monday on November 26, combine to present serious sales opportunities for small business retailers nationwide. Here are some changes to note from previous years.

Forecasted sales
The National Retail Federation (NRF) expects holiday sales to increase this year by 4.1%. To put this in perspective, last year sales grew by 5.6% over the previous year, so this year’s forecast is good, but not great.

Shop.org, which is NRF’s division that tracks online sales, is even more optimistic. It projects online sales this season (for the months of November and December) to increase by 12%.

Mobile shopping
Mashable’s recent study showed that there is serious use of mobile phones this year for holiday shopping. The study found that 32% of smarphone users said they planned to use shopping apps for the holidays, while 42% said they planned to buy small- and big-ticket items through their smartphones.

QR codes are growing in use this season to alert shoppers to opportunities and to speed up the buying experience. For example, Target has added QR codes so that buyers can scan items, including certain toys, and complete purchases on their own.

Getting ready for this year’s Small Business Saturday
American Express started to help small businesses get a share of the holiday shopping pie. This is the third year, and FedEx has joined with American Express to sponsor this day.

American Express learned that 98% of consumers want to support local businesses. Last year, over 100 million people came out on Small Business Saturday to support their local small businesses.

This day, Small Business Saturday, which is the day after Black Friday, is the time for local merchants to really strut their stuff. It’s not too late to participate:

  • Download free marketing materials.
  • Display Small Business Saturday banners
  • Obtain free advertising (for qualified businesses)
  • Share your experiences on social media sights

Good luck to all this holiday shopping season!

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