New Data Shows Surprising Ways This Holiday Season Will Be Different

Although online shopping is convenient, nothing compares to an in-store experience -- at least a good one.

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By Rose Leadem

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As the holidays approach, retailers should be brushing up their stores, websites, apps and social media pages to make sure they are spick and span for shoppers. That's because this year's holiday sales are predicted to overtake last year's -- with a 3.6 to 4 percent sales growth, according to a new study by Euclid Analytics. The recently released "Evolution of Retail, 2016 Holiday Consumer Mobile Usage" report polled more than 1,500 U.S. consumers, highlighting shopping preferences and behavior, while also uncovering how smartphones are changing the physical retail industry.

Related: 5 Tools for Building a Holiday Shopping App

Ninety-one percent of respondents say they visit physical stores at least once a week, while only 49 percent say they shop online at least once a week. The experience of seeing and trying products, browsing stores and getting to have the product right away are of the top reasons consumers shop in-person. Waiting in lines, going to the actual store and having a limited selection are why some people resort to online shopping.

People are always trying to snag the best deals -- especially during the holidays. Online shopping lets consumers discover the best deals, promotions and sales, and lets them join online rewards programs. So why don't stores employ these methods? It's a good question. Fifty-three percent of consumers say they would be more inclined to shop in-stores if retailers offered smartphone features that provided the best deals, sales and loyalty programs that they could use during shopping. Indeed, 83 percent of shoppers admit to using their smartphones in-store -- meaning creating an in-store digital experience is a solid way to compete with the internet's offerings.

Related: 3 Holiday Retail Trends Entrepreneurs Need to Consider

It should come as no surprise that retailers feel threatened by Amazon -- the site that helps consumers find the best deals, offers price comparisons and provides free shipping for Prime members. To fight against the giant Amazon, retailers should join the conversation, especially through social media. Although the majority of people discover new products through word-of-mouth marketing (47 percent), many turn to Facebook (37 percent). So if you haven't already, make sure your shop's Facebook page looks impeccable this holiday season -- and you are engaged.

Rose Leadem
Rose Leadem is a freelance writer for Entrepreneur.com. 

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