This holiday season promises to be an epic one in retail. Deloitte estimates that holiday retail sales will grow 5 to 5.6 percent this year, with ecommerce sales expected to grow a whopping 22 percent. So, what does this mean for your retail store? Besides the fact that there are more sales to be had for retailers who step their game up, it means that you can knock your sales goals out of the water this holiday season by starting your holiday planning now (even if your sales have been lagging the rest of the year).

So, let’s talk about the trends set to shape retail during the 2018 holiday...and how you can put them to work in your store.

1. Begin Omnichannel Promotions ASAP

Remember that bit about ecommerce sales growing 22 percent this holiday season? Omnichannel shoppers are also a retailer’s most valuable customers. So, if you don’t want to miss out on the lion’s share of customer spending this holiday, it’s time to start planning your omnichannel promotions. Of course, these customers still do most of their spending in physical stores, so although you should always strive to facilitate a seamless digital checkout experience your main goal should be to drive in-store traffic from omnichannel consumers. Think along the lines of:

  • -Mobile coupons that are only redeemable in-store,
  • -Print and email invites for after-hours holiday VIP events,
  • -A strong in-store WiFi connection to enable mobile browsing.

2. Make In-Store Pickup Easy

At the end of the day, holiday customers will always flock to retailers that offer a convenient shopping experience. In-store pick up will be the name of the game this year, and retailers that offer curbside pick-ups – such as Target, WalMart, Nike, and Whole Foods – will have an even greater competitive advantage. Business Insider reports, “With all of the nation's largest retailers jumping on, it seems likely that curbside pick-up is the newest iteration of ecommerce innovation.” This holiday season, consider whether offering curbside pick-up is a viable option for your store. If not, focus on factors like parking space, making it easier to find products in your store, and ensuring sure you’re always well-staffed enough to handle holiday traffic.

3. Get the Data that Drives Conversions

Consumer data is a big piece of the puzzle when you’re striving to make shopping your store more convenient for holiday customers. Data enables smarter product forecasting and can help you to plan more effective promotions, but you can’t just track your customer’s purchase history and expect to gain valuable insight on how to run your business. Forbes reports, “To get a better sense of their audience, retailers must first understand how to bring together external data sources, such as demographics, location, and market data, with internally held customer data, such as transaction histories and loyalty status.” A service provider with CRM (customer relationship management) and inventory forecasting capabilities will do this work for you, so you can focus on putting the customer data to work in your store.

4. Master Insta-worthy Holiday Inventory

Let’s talk about seasonal trends for 2018. This 2018 Market Forecast by Etsy suggests that Insta-Worthy products will be a big hit this holiday season. Matching family pajama sets, thick knit accessories, structured bags, vintage themes in clothing, and extreme embellishments will reign in apparel and accessories this year; while outdoor and ocean concepts, rustic metals, sustainable merch, and travel-themed products will be popular in the home décor category. Focus on sourcing products with a local feel for your store to boast an inventory selection that really resonates with customers shopping for holiday gifts – and don’t forget to stream teaser photos of the products on social media once your inventory comes in!

5. Inspire Consumers to Visit your Store

Omnichannel holiday shoppers might be the biggest spenders, but they do most of their spending spend in-store. In fact, a recent study found that those surveyed spent 64 percent of their annual shopping budget in-store, and only 36 percent of their budgets were spent online. What does the in-store experience have that online shopping doesn’t? The name of the game is convenience. As Rod Sides, vice chair of Deloitte’s U.S. retail and distribution, told CNBC, "Companies realize they are fighting for the end of the day they will bring that to shoppers." So, understand that although customers are searching for products on multiple devices, the bulk of your holiday sales will still happen in your physical store. This means your job, as a retailer, is to inspire in-store customers to increase the size of their purchase.

When it comes to prepping your retail store for the holiday season, focus on how you can make the shopping experience more convenient and appealing for your seasonal customers – whether that means clearing up walking areas to facilitate in-store traffic, creating data-driven omnichannel marketing campaigns, placing trending products where your customers can see them, or staffing stores with enough associates to handle increased store traffic flows. There are plenty of opportunities to increase retail revenue in your store by getting a head start on your holiday planning!

Looking to shine next holiday season? Attend ASD Market Week, where you can find the hottest on-trend, new products for your store - and ultimately increase your sales. Register to attend today.

This post was contributed by Nicole Leinbach Reyhle from Retail Select images courtesy of