This holiday season is looking good for online retailers, and interesting new trends are emerging in the eCommerce space for mobile and social media. Increasingly, shoppers are finding products and comparing them through social media and smartphones.

As numbers from eMarketer suggest, smartphones are now being used by 61 percent of consumers to research products while shopping in the store. Other figures from Econsultancy show that up to 38 percent of customers are following through with completing a transaction via that smartphone, and the numbers are continuing to grow every year. Be prepared to see a few tablets at the Thanksgiving dinner table this year and smartphones in hand while at the mall on Black Friday.

As an online retailer, it’s becoming increasingly important to enter the mobile shopping market by creating a mobile-optimized shopping site or app that lets users browse and buy products easily. Though apparel seems like it would be a difficult purchase to make via mobile phones, it’s actually one of the fastest-growing segments of the mobile market.

More shoppers are also turning to their tablets to shop online – it was reported in Yahoo!’s small business advisor blog that “in 2011 tablet users spent 20 percent more per order on average than desktop online shoppers and 50 percent more than smartphone users.”

The Boston Globe also reported that when customers use tablets to shop, they are more likely to be relaxed, shopping from their couch or in a comfortable location, which leads to longer browsing times and a more leisurely shopping experience. Some online retailers are also creating tablet-optimized sites that give a magazine or catalog-type experience with large images, videos and interactive features, which creates a sophisticated and engaging way to view products that is a step above the standard online shopping experience.

Pinterest is driving traffic to online retailers

Consumers are also turning to social media to find new products. Though Facebook was originally targeted as a way to reach groups of like-minded people, the true eCommerce explosion has occurred via Pinterest. According to the eMarketer report, “30 percent of traffic to apparel sites is coming from Pinterest.”

The grid format and image-heavy page layout places a variety of products front and center, and takes users directly to the source of the image with a couple of clicks. If your customers have pinned your product to their Pinterest page, their followers will see it immediately and find your product page by clicking the image. It’s no wonder Pinterest is revolutionizing the way people shop.

According to Shopify, Pinterest users are also more likely to spend more per average order than customers referred from other sites like Google, Amazon or Facebook. It was reported on Mashable that “66 percent of users regularly follow and repin retailers.” Conversely, only 17 percent of Facebook users do the same. This presents a significant opportunity for retailers to start and keep engaging with shoppers through the years.

As users’ engagement rises with mobile devices and social media, it’s imperative to remain relevant to today’s shoppers. Make sure your eCommerce site is optimized for smartphones and tablets and take advantage of the best social media sites to create new channels to promote and sell your products.

Are you seeing additional traffic via Pinterest, other social media pages or on your mobile site during the holidays? We’d love to hear from you!