It looks like the season is going to be merry and bright. Whether entertaining at home or socializing away from home, consumers are looking to celebrate with others and spend money doing so. Holiday sales are expected to increase 5 to 5.6 percent over last year’s season, according to Deloitte’s annual retail holiday sales forecast. Additionally, ecommerce sales are forecasted to grow 17 to 22 percent, reaching $128 to $134 billion throughout the 2018 shopping season.

And even businesses that think they might not really be in a position to capitalize on any holiday spending need to realize there’s an opportunity. According to Deloitte’s 33rd Annual Holiday Consumer Spending Survey, over half of shoppers (51 percent) believe in the spirit of self-gifting and say they’ll buy for themselves while shopping for others – that’s an increase of 15 percentage points over the last five years.

Overall, online spending continues to grow and as is poised to capture the most dollars, but with some important help from stores too. Several interesting points from the Survey can help demonstrate how and where businesses need to focus their efforts this holiday season:

  • 57% of total spending is expected to be online with 36% happening in stores.
  • Consumers will look for inspirations both online and in the stores with 66% going online to do their research and 56% saying they’ll use retail stores and online search engines to get ideas.
  • Consumers are still trying to decide what purchases to make this season. Almost half of shoppers (49%) don’t yet have specific items in mind that they plan to buy, regardless if they’re planning to shop online or in a store.
  • Shoppers are looking for a good reason/offer from companies with 82% of consumers saying promotions influence their holiday shopping.
  • 95% say price discounts are the most appealing promotional offers, followed by free shipping (75%).
  • Shoppers are planning on using their phones this season — 67% say they will make purchases on their phones, up from 59% last year.

A good promotion is definitely important. Consumers are clearly passionate about getting great deals this time of the year. However there are other points of inspiration that can help drive sales as well. Companies need to influence and inspire customers to try and stand out from the competition. Companies need to create an engagement strategy that focuses on personalization and mobility for their shoppers.

Creating a promotional campaign utilizing personalization requires establishing goals just like you would with any other type of campaign. Once you have chosen who you’re targeting such as new or existing customers and your goals like generating X amount of revenue, you’re ready to delve into your data to meet consumer expectations. For example, consider a special offer that would be of great interest to reward your loyal customers. Messaging around the promotion can be a simple thank you, showing them your appreciation for their continued support.

If you’ve analyzed customer actions from previous messages, remember to run the campaign on the channel they most interact on and make it as visual as possible.

If you want customers to stay engaged with your holiday campaigns then you need to leverage your mobile capabilities as well. Mobile demand is growing and Millennials and Gen Z consumers in particular are more likely to shop on mobile sites and those that deliver a seamless mobile experience. So as a company you need to ensure you have a smooth mobile checkout process. Here are a few tactics to consider for streamlining:

  • Try reducing form fields
  • Proactively suggest addresses as a customer begins to type
  • Check text size for easy readability
  • Add a Buy Now button throughout online content (so you don’t lose customers on the way to checkout)

For the 2018 holiday season companies have the opportunity to embrace digital strategies that enhance the customer experience and generate more sales. People are shopping for a number of reasons and tailored messaging on the right channels will encourage customer engagement during this year’s holiday spending and leading into 2019.