11 Consumer Behaviors Every Business Should Know Heading Into The Holidays

The holidays are upon us and that only means one thing: Shopping season is in full swing and retailers need to be on their game when appealing to consumers. According to research, 2017 holiday shopping is going to be a banner year, especially for e-commerce sales, which are expected to grow 16.6% over last year.

By attracting these shoppers early and frequently, retailers have a lot to gain this year and will see profits soar if they take the right steps ahead of and during the holiday season.

Below, 11 members of the Forbes Agency Council share the one detail about consumer shopping behaviors that companies should know going into the holiday season. Here is what they had to say:

Members of the Forbes Agency Council share their insight around consumer behavior.IMAGES COURTESY OF FAC MEMBERS.

1. Emotions Drive Purchase Decisions

Consumers first make a purchase decision based on emotion, and then they rationalize it. The neuroscientist Antonio Damasio found that people with damage to the part of the brain triggering emotions (individuals unable to feel emotions) were largely unable to make decisions. If your marketing doesn’t evoke an emotive response, you’ll make it seriously difficult for consumers to purchase from you. – Tom ShapiroStratabeat

2. Mobile-To-Offline Defines The Holiday Shopper

Shopping is increasingly a mobile-to-offline experience. Our recent survey of 3,000 millennial and Gen Z consumers shows that one in four uses a smartphone in-store to seek guidance and input. That’s one in four with a smartphone, ready to buy. Crafting mobile experiences in these moments — anticipating and inspiring discoveries via location and activity data — will drive holiday-season spend this year. – Julie BernardVerve

3. Customers Want Interactions To Be Easy

Make consumer interactions with a brand easy. This year’s research shows that the glut of information available, coupled with chronic lack of time, leads consumers to place great emphasis on brand interactions that cater to their specific needs or wants. Positive brand interactions, at any stage, from research to purchase, create a memorable consumer experience and can often influence add-on purchases. – Brian SullivanSullivan Branding

4. Research Is Key To Them

With so many promotions and advertisements floating in digital space, there are a lot of choices for consumers to go for the items they know they want. Consumers are going to compare prices on products, as well as doorbuster sales offered at different retailers. Meeting customers with a promotion during this research phase is paramount. – Kristopher JonesLSEO.com

5. Customers Value Unobtrusive Help

Customers do not want to be nagged during the holidays. If they need assistance with a product, they want it, but they do not want that help jumping down their throat, trying to sell them everything in their catalog. Having an effective, approachable sales team will encourage customers to buy the first time, and return shop. – Aidan ColenTuitive.social

6. Brand Experiences Drive Purchasing Decisions

Research shows that brand experience drives purchases. There is a great opportunity for retailers to create entire brand experiences around holiday shopping that will engage consumers. Of the 1,000 marketers surveyed for our global brand experience study, 56% of U.S. marketers and 50% of Asia marketers indicated that immersive, personalized brand experiences drive sales. – Chris CavanaughFreeman

7. Consumers Are Demanding, And That’s OK

The new consumer is constantly online, and retailers need to know where they go to research, browse and buy. Consumers make decisions at their convenience and expect retailers to be there when they’re ready. Retailers that reach consumers in every stage of the funnel will be much more capable of capturing sales, especially going into the holiday season. – Katie HarrisSpot On Solutions

8. More Customers Turn Toward Online Shopping

Consumers continue to transition away from in-store shopping due to the convenience that online shopping provides. This increasingly popular trend of making online purchases from home has negatively affected in-store sales. Companies should prepare for a peak in online holiday purchases this season by focusing on developing their online presence more than their physical store locations. – Jeff GroverBestCompany.com

9. They Don’t See Ads Anymore

Consumers are bombarded by ads — over 1,000 a day. They don’t notice them, and if they do, they don’t remember them. If they remember them, they wonder how the advertiser knew how to target them. Find other channels, like people they trust and social influencers, to get messages to them. – Gil EyalHYPR

10. Holiday Shoppers Buy For Themselves As Well

Based on research from the NRF, companies should understand that consumers are not just shopping for others during the holiday season, but also for themselves. This means that content should speak to both the needs of gift givers (looking for a specific item as a present) as well as self-gifters (browsing multiple items that appeal to just them). –Preethy VaidyanathanTapad

11. Holiday Shoppers Like An Early Start

Many people want to avoid the headache of traditional holiday shopping and will reduce the hassle by shopping early, even as early as before Halloween. For that reason, marketers shouldn’t wait until December to initiate their holiday marketing campaigns — they need to have them in place and initiate them in October. – Troy SmithSearch Optics

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