It seems that each year, I begin to notice holiday marketing earlier and earlier. This year, the unofficial start to the holiday season was October 20. This is when I saw the first holiday commercial of 2016. It was subtle, but there was a Christmas tree and lights hung in the background. Disenchanted, I took to everyone’s favorite soapbox, Facebook, to share my displeasure.
Yet, despite my disapproval of retailers and brands for pushing their holiday messages down the throats of consumers before the leaves have even fully fallen, I understand why they are doing it. It’s because the holiday season is the number one shopping season of the year, contributing upwards of 20% of revenue to a retailers’ bottom line.
And while year after year, the holiday season plays an important role to retailers, the way people shop and engage with a brand or retailer has changed. Similar to the rise of e-commerce, mobile is becoming a big part of holiday shopping for many consumers and in 2015, 73% used mobile devices for shopping activities such as finding deals, comparing prices, and researching. For retailers to successfully leverage mobile this holiday season, below are four trends to plan for:
- Know how shoppers are using mobile: For retailers to effectively map a mobile strategy, it is important to understand how consumers are engaging with their devices. According to a study by Retal, 97%, plan on using their mobile devices to find deals, while 96% plan on comparing prices and researching products on their mobile devices. It is important to note that while the actual purchase may not happen on the device, the influence mobile plays is growing.
- But wait, exactly who are the mobile shoppers? In 2016, it was reported that 75% of shoppers between the ages of 18-24 years old use their smartphone for shopping. Compare this with 9% of people over the age of 65 using their smartphone to make a purchase. Thus, for retailers it’s imperative that they understand their demographic to leverage mobile in a way that it is going to be relevant for the end user.
- Screens, screens, screens everywhere. Yes, mobile is becoming a big deal but let’s not forget it’s often not where the actual transaction takes place, nor is it the only channel used by consumers. Today’s shoppers do not use a single channel when making a purchase, rather they bounce from one device or channel to the next, so it is mandatory for retailers to create a seamless experience regardless of the channel shoppers are engaging with.
- Shoppers are using mobile in-store. Today’s shoppers are part of the device-enabled economy meaning that 82% of customers turn to their phones inside a storewhen evaluating a purchase decision. To combat on mobile showrooming, brick and mortar retailers can offer real-time incentives or do price matching to capture the sale.
Consumer preferences are constantly evolving, and mobile is a growing medium used among shoppers. Retailers need to adapt their mobile strategies to satisfy their customer needs. If retailers fail to do so, they risk losing consumer business to their competitors, who have already adapted a mobile-forward strategy.