Is your small business ready for the holiday season? As retailers all over the country prepare, this week’s Trending Thursday features advice on how to win over consumers’ wallets as well as predictions on spending and shopping habits.

Check out the stories below on how others are preparing for the holiday rush and leave a comment about your holiday business strategy.

  1. TrendingOct29(1)Deutsche Bank’s Torsten Slock has an optimistic outlook on spending this holiday season. Slock said he expects the coming months to be strong for retailers, based on a Gallup survey from earlier this month, which showed that consumers intend to spend an average of $812 on gifts this holiday season, the highest level since 2007 at $909. Additionally, consumers can expect good deals. Lorraine Hutchinson, an analyst at Bank of America, said, “Consumers are always looking for deals. The retailers with the most value and differentiated product offering are the ones that will win.”
  1. More good news from FedEx, which expects to handle 317 million packages between Black Friday and Christmas, a record-breaking volume that would represent a 12.4 percent increase over the last holiday season. As consumers grow more and more accustomed to shipping gifts and shopping online, companies should prepare and give customers accurate deadlines for when orders need to placed. Otherwise they may end up with angry backlash and bad press when there are missing toys under the Christmas tree.
  1. Check out these findings from a recent National Retail Federation (NRF) survey about the upcoming holiday season:
  • Average spending per person reaches $805.65, comparable with spending in 2014 holiday season ($802.45).
  • Spending on gifts for family members will total $462.95, up from $458.75 last year, and a survey high.
  • Almost half of holiday shopping, consisting of browsing and buying, will be done online: average consumers say 46 percent of their shopping (both browsing and buying) this holiday season will be conducted online, up from 44 percent last year.
  • 4 percent of smartphone owners will use their device to purchase holiday merchandise this year, the highest seen since NRF first asked in 2011.
  • 8 percent of holiday shoppers will splurge on themselves and/or others for non-gift items, and will spend an average of $131.59, up from $126.37 last year. ​

The major takeaway: “We expect consumers will tackle their holiday shopping lists with a healthy dose of optimism, tempered by a hint of caution,” said NRF President and CEO, Matthew Shay.

  1. Are you planning on hiring any temporary workers this holiday season? You may want to take a cue from Amazon, who plans on hiring over 100,000(!) temporary workers this season. In July, Amazon surpassed Wal-Mart as the world’s largest retailer by market value after a surprise second quarter profit. But it’s not impossible to compete with Amazon. If you’re looking for a little extra capital to give you a boost this season, be sure to check out Marlin’s Funding Stream which can get you up to $100,000 in as little as two days.

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