The 2014 holiday season might deliver just what retailers had on their wish lists this year with domestic retail sales predicted to grow 4.1 percent in the core holiday season to $616.9 billion. Recent improvements in consumer confidence are projected to boost spending power among holiday shoppers, and while 50 percent of sales are likely to be influenced by digital interactions, brick-and-mortar shops will see the overwhelming majority of holiday purchases.

With a busy season ahead, retailers nationwide are refining their strategies to best meet consumers’ needs – including opening even earlier than last year. What other creative new trends will we see in the closing months of 2014? Here’s how some top retailers are preparing to meet the holiday demand.

DECK THE HALLS: Kimco's Plaza Centro in Puerto Rico makes the shoping center festive for the holiday season.

Big-box goes boutique.

In addition to releasing a traditional list of top toys for the upcoming holiday season, Target has also unveiled a new assortment of boutique brand toys previously only found at small boutiques. These toys are designed to inspire creative play – and help the brand stand out from other big-box retailers.

Omnichannel builds loyalty.

Kohl’s has launched a new omnichannel loyalty program called “Yes2You Rewards,” to bridge any gap between online and in-store consumer interactions. Through this program, consumers receive reward points for every dollar they spend – no matter how they pay – and receive a $5 reward for every 100 points earned. The program is designed to offer personalized perks for shoppers, regardless of their preferred shopping platform, and build consumer loyalty nationwide.

Retailers take cues from the queue.

In previous years we began to see retailers offering marathon shopping hours for consumer convenience at any hour. But Wal-Mart’s trying a new approach this year in what it’s calling the “The Checkout Promise,” which pledges to keep all registers open during peak shopping hours this holiday season. The promise will guarantee that every checkout lane will be manned by a cashier beginning the weekend after Black Friday and lasting through days leading up to Christmas.

Things get social.

With consumers relying more and more on social media reviews to help inform their in-store purchasing decisions, retailers are turning to popular platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram to spread the word about their products, sales, and services. Whether retailers have a national reach, or are small businesses serving a local audience, the savvy shops are sure to be active and engaged on social media this year.