By Rieva Lesonsky

Though the calendar says we’re about enter the dog days of August, it’s actually time for retailers to think about the holiday shopping season. (Really!)

Google’s Think with Google newsletter (worth subscribing to) says you should keep your eye on these holiday trends:

  1. This will be the most connected holiday shopping season ever. Last year 78 percent of consumers used the Internet to research holiday gifts. Chances are even more holiday shoppers will go online this year.
  2. You cannot ignore mobile (meaning, make sure your website is mobile-friendly). Google reports that in 2014 nearly $1 trillion of all retail sales were influenced by shopping-related mobile searches.
  3. The shopping season seems to start earlier every year. Last year consumers started their holiday shopping before Halloween and 48 percent had their shopping done on or before Cyber Monday.
  4. You can kiss brand loyalty goodbye. More than half of consumers are open to buying from new retailers. So you have to work harder to bring customers back to your store.
  5. Google says last year holiday shoppers tuned into YouTube (which Google owns, of course) to see reviews of products before buying them. Most (68 percent) preferred watching reviews from “people like me” than from experts (45 percent).