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New Data Shows Surprising Ways This Holiday Season Will Be Different Essay

As the holidays approach, retailers should be brushing up their stores, websites, apps and 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 . The recently released “” report polled more than 1,500 U.S. consumers, highlighting and behavior, while also uncovering how smartphones are changing the physical retail industry.

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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 .

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 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.

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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 (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.

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