Google is advising retailers to be ready for five shifts in shopping behavior this holiday season.

These include:

  • a month-long Cyber Monday
  • digital newcomers driving growth
  • a preference for online SKUs
  • shoppers who have a purpose
  • consumers who are willing to try new brands

“Retailers need to think beyond peak days and prepare for an extended period of online shopping and deal seeking,” said Bill Ready, Google’s president of commerce. “Capture early and late holiday traffic by setting adequate budgets and competitive targets.”

Google research shows that 69% of US shoppers plan to shop online for the holidays more than in previous years, and 50% of US shoppers have tried a new online shopping service for the first time this year.

In order to capture these shoppers, Ready recommends creating a frictionless digital storefront that allows customers to easily research, browse and buy.

Search traffic has revealed a shift in how customers expect to interact with brick-and-mortar stores according to Google.

“With more decisions made online, stores are increasingly reduced to transaction points,” Ready said. “Often by the time the customer has entered the store they have already decided what they are buying.”

Google suggests businesses update information about store hours, shopping options like curbside pickup or buy online/pickup in-store, and efforts to keep shoppers safe.

Research from Google has also shown that customers are increasingly supporting businesses that have shared values including efforts to be more ethical and sustainable.

Also, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, at least one-third of shoppers have purchased from a brand that was new to them. In fact, Google research shows that 70% of US shoppers said they were open to buying from previously unknown retailers and brands.

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