If you’re an online retailer, you’re undoubtedly eagerly awaiting Black Friday and Cyber Monday. And rightly so; it’s hard to overestimate the financial benefits of these shopping holidays. Adobe Analytics reported that American consumers spent $19.62 billion online over the five-day span from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday.  This was up by 15 percent ($2.6 billion) from 2016.  

In order to appeal to online shoppers and get a piece of the holiday shopping pie, it’s important to get into their heads and figure out what they want. The National Retail Federation aimed to help online sellers do just that by publishing their 2017 Holiday Planning Playbook. The Federation surveyed 2,000 shoppers to learn more about their expectations for holiday shopping as well as their shopping habits.  

Here are a few interesting tidbits from the survey: 

  • Planning starts early. More than half of holiday shoppers begin to plan their gifts by October. While only a third start making purchases by then, they are actively doing research and making decisions about the presents they plan to buy.  
  • Customers are swayed by retailers. Just because a customer has a plan, that doesn’t mean they aren’t still open to influences by sellers. More than half of online holiday shoppers said that they purchased something that was recommended to them by an online retailer.  
  • Shoppers like wish lists. If customers like an item but aren’t quite sure if they want to purchase it, they can put it on a wish list. Then, they can ponder the item and come back to it later. Only about a quarter of survey participants said they used the list, but over 60 percent said that they would like to in the future. Watch for these online holiday lists to become more and more popular in the future.  

To lure in customers, promote your holiday deals early.  Consider email and social media campaigns to let patrons know what you will be offering. Add filter-able idea lists to your website, allowing them to see gift ideas for different budgets and for people of different ages, genders, and more. With just a few keystrokes, for example, shoppers should be able to see a list of potential gifts that could be purchased for less than $50 for a 20-something female. 

By following up on these trends from recent shopping holidays, you can appeal to the 2018 holiday shopper and cash in on the holiday buying frenzy.