Based on preliminary data, it appears that the holiday shopping season is off to a promising start. The numbers publicized don’t tell the whole story, though, because while there was an increase in the number of shoppers over the Thanksgiving weekend, the spending per customer actually fell. For the most part, it looks like frugality is still in full effect.
Despite all this, there were some bright spots. For example, consumers are still flocking to websites. comScore reported a healthy 11% increase in sales on Friday (at $595 million).
In other words, if your business is not on the Web—or does not have an effective online presence—you’re probably missing out on growth.
In fact, it looks like this will also be the season when mobile-phone shopping goes mainstream. Consider that mobile payments for PayPal spiked 650% over the holiday. No doubt, a big help came from the popularity of Apple’s iPhone. Increasingly, people are going to stores and checking prices with their smartphones. It’s the next phase of comparison shopping.
True, putting together a mobile app for your business is no easy feat. But given the changes with consumer behavior, it may be worth exploring.
Tom Taulli is an expert on small business and is the author of several books, including The Complete M&A Handbook (Random House, Inc.). In addition to his writing, Taulli has appeared on high-profile television venues such as CNN, CNBC, and Bloomberg TV, and has been quoted in various print media sources such as The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and The LA Times. Visit his blog at www.taulli.com.