What's different about this year's holiday shopping season?
December 09, 2013

Retailers that accept credit cards from more than one channel are likely to have a leg up on other businesses. Store owners generally know what to expect during the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The fact that consumers around the U.S. will be scrambling to find gifts for their friends and relatives is a given. However, the introduction of new technology every year often presents unpredictable challenges for retailers.

According to the news publication Christian Science Monitor, the 2013 holiday shopping season is radically different from previous years. Not only is the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas much shorter, but the way shoppers interact with brands this has already created new standards for retail marketing. For example, more people are using their smartphones and mobile devices to both browse and purchase gifts online. CSM cited data from the mobile commerce firm Branding Brand that said 2013's Black Friday sales on mobile devices increased 187 percent compared to 2012.

Retailers and consumers are also embracing the the multichannel shopping experience more than ever before. The rise of in-store pickup as an e-commerce alternative has presented new opportunities for brick-and-mortar retailers to maximize sales from an increase in foot traffic throughout the holidays.

Another unique characteristic of this year's shopping season is the fact that small businesses are now much more competitive than they were in the past. According to the financial publication The Motley Fool, the success of Small Business Saturday, which occurred during the weekend after Thanksgiving, proved that small and medium-sized enterprises are on track to take full advantage of the year-end gift buying rush.

Retailers around the nation can benefit from investing in integrated payment systems that connect multiple transaction channels in one easily accessible interface.

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