How will mobile devices affect your ecommerce site or retail store’s holiday sales this year? The percentage of consumers planning to do most of their Black Friday shopping online is up to 30 percent this year, compared with 25 percent last year, according to an Accenture’s 2013 Holiday Shopping Survey, and mobile will play an important role. Some 19 percent of consumers will use their tablets for shopping (either research or purchasing) this holiday season, up from 15 percent in 2012, and 18 percent will use their smartphones, up from 14 percent.
More than half (55 percent) of shoppers say they are likely to shop on Black Friday this year, an increase from 53 percent in 2012 and 44 percent in 2011. Black Friday isn’t the only big shopping day this year. Thanksgiving Day is increasingly important to retail sales, as mobile device users look for special offers from their smartphones or tablets while taking a break from the Turkey Day festivities. Even those who don’t shop on Thanksgiving will likely be doing online research that day to plan their holiday shopping strategy for the big Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday weekend that follows. And since most people will be at relatives’ homes without access to their desktops or laptops, smartphones and tablets will be the device of choice for going online, comparing products and looking for deals.
Think of your mobile marketing efforts on Thanksgiving Day and over the Black Friday weekend as the equivalent of the inserts that big retailers put in the newspaper. How can you make the best impression?
- Personalize offers for the best chance of capturing consumers’ attention. Segment and target your email marketing messages to deliver what customers care about.
- Make sure your email marketing messages are optimized for mobile devices, with readable text, easily clickable buttons and quick-loading images.
- Any links in email marketing messages, social media or texts should link to mobile-optimized websites or landing pages to enable customers to browse and buy on their mobile devices without waiting for pages to load.
- Offer discounts and deals. Saving money is still a key focus for shoppers, with 62 percent of respondents in the study saying it will require a discount of 30 percent or over to get them to make a purchase.
- Get ready now. With 38 percent of customers saying they plan to shop on Thanksgiving Day, ecommerce businesses or retail brick-and-mortar locations that will be open on Thanksgiving should send pre-holiday emails to alert customers to hours, deals and other information that could drive sales.
Consumers will also be using smartphones to showroom—that is, view products in a physical store and then search for lower prices on their smartphones. Some 33 percent of respondents planning to shop with their smartphones say they will use the device to compare prices inside a store, an increase from 19 percent last year. In addition, some 63 percent admit they plan to go to stores to showroom and then buy the same products online.
If you’re an ecommerce business, you can benefit from the showrooming trend by making sure popular products you sell rank high in search results so people find your site when they’re comparing prices or researching in a store. Also make sure your website is optimized for mobile use so showrooming shoppers can buy from you on the spot using their smartphones.
Got a retail store? Combat the showrooming trend by sending your customers special in-store only offers and discounts, offering to place orders for items you don’t have in stock and have the goods shipped to the customer, and making sure your staff is well-versed in what you sell so that they can provide customers with as much guidance as the Internet.
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