When I was a kid, my mom had a favorite saying that I always liked; summer didn’t give way to fall as much as summer lead to Hallowthankmaseve. Not so much a specific day(s) as a mindset, “Hallowthankmaseve” describes the hustle and bustle of preparing and planning (perhaps even bracing) for the holiday season.

In the spirit of Hallowthankmaseve, I thought I would try to break out my crystal ball (which I do from time to time) and predict what the shopping climate will look like this year. Here are two insights I think seem evident:

1) A Mobile Coupon Strategy Is Crucial

With the current economic climate (not just recession-related, 2012 consumers are information-obsessed too), coupons in general look to be huge for Hallowthankmaseve. A recent study from Valassis found that 74% of consumers plan on using more coupons in 2012 than they did in 2011. Even lawyers and politicians will admit that’s a majority vote.

Where things get really interesting, however, is when you look at recent mobile coupon trends to predict where we’re going. Mobile coupon usage actually increased 100% from January 2010 to 2011 and then another 100% from 2011 to 2012. For my money, there’s no reason to think that this trend will slow down into 2013 given the continued focus on cell phone adoption.

Furthermore, as of July 2012, 79% of consumers commented that they would be using more mobile coupons than in previous years. It’s a figure on par with online and print coupons (also @ 79%), meaning mobile has equal footing in consumers’ minds compared to traditional types of coupon delivery.

Assuming you believe (as I do) that back-to-school shopping represents a leading indicator, then you have another vote for the necessity of adopting a mobile coupon strategy in 2012. 25% of moms reported coupon use as a chosen activity for back-to-school smartphone shopping, which outpaced checking shopping lists (21%) and shopping online (20%).

So, my advice is to get those mobile coupon strategies locked and loaded (here’s some guidance for those looking for a starting point). Those who do will see significant financial returns.

2) Savvy Smartphone Marketing Will Create Huge Wins For Retailers

A study from Comscore revealed that 4 out of 5 of the US’s ~86 million smartphone users accessed retail content on their smartphone during July 2012. Wow. If that doesn’t say to retailers, “I need a robust mobile strategy”, including app, web and messaging, who knows what will. (But wait, there’s more) Maybe it’s that smartphone owners represent a key retailer demographic, with 1 out of 3 possessing a household income of $100K or greater. Clearly, those who address the smartphone nation with a robust mobile strategy this Hallowthankmaseve will see higher degrees of corporate success than their peers who don’t think the time is right.

So, there you have it. My stakes in the ground. Before we sign off, just one more piece of advice I think is important when considering Hallowthankmaseve: you don’t necessarily need a fully-baked mobile coupon or smartphone strategy to be successful. You just need to get your feet wet. Ultimately, any learnings gained this year will only produce higher degrees of success in future years, whereas learning nothing will result in negative long-term gains.

Remember, nothing is ever done perfect the first time. Success requires iteration, so get involved now and improve over time rather than waiting for the perfect time to strike. In my opinion, waiting on mobile is akin to waiting for the perfect time to go for a jog. While mentally waiting might help you become more comfortable with the idea, doing it is what’s going to make you successful.

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