Now that the 2015 Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales have drawn to a close, the Christmas season has officially begun, meaning that looking for some gifts and presents will be a wearying soon-to-be full-time activity. Or maybe not!
As lot of market researchers have recently revealed, the majority of consumers prefer mobile shopping during the festive holidays, as it can be done almost everywhere (one just need Internet connection and a credit card), and it surely proves to be less exhausting. Also, one is more likely to quickly find the desired item’s shape, color and size, instead of literally fighting to get it (we still have to get used to those horrific pictures showing people fighting amid chaos at many US fast-fashion retailers during the latest Black Friday sales). Why wait if you can forgo crowds in stores to shop at home?
That’s a question more than one-third of this year’s holiday shoppers have answered, deciding to use their mobile phones to make their purchases. Moreover, although the holiday season is still young, more and more researches show encouraging and interesting data for our future economics. For example, Adobe’s recent research reveals that between November 1st and November 24th US consumers spent more than 6 billion shopping via their mobile devices and that online holiday shopping is believed to increase by 11% by the end of the year. According to Adobe, the past Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday saw a higher jump in online shopping, up to 25% more compared to the 2014 data. Among the best selling items were electronic devices and popular toys, such as Lego Star Wars, Barbie Dream House and Shopkin dolls, a list that reveals we definitely are more prone to making gifts during this time of the year.
As for Europe, Germany, UK and France are together responsible for 81.3% of the European sales, and the Old Continent’s online growth is expected to continue with 18.7% forecast for 2016.
But there’s a lot more behind this huge phenomenon, and its secrets lie behind a dense network made of social media, post sharing, wishlists and, of course, marketing strategies. Although the recession has certainly induced many customers to shop online, retail focus on this exceptional growing use of mobile devices is the number one factor in making online shopping a more attractive way to buy our desired products.
Let’s start off with one of the retailers’ most successful marketing strategies: parsimony. Instead of promoting their huge discounts on Black Fridays and Cyber Mondays exclusively, many retailers have opted for a more conscious net of discounts, wisely spread throughout the year. This strategy led many customers not to run amok over the retailers’ in-store sales, but to rather stay at home browsing the Internet. As a subsequent result, many customers preferred e-commerce stores to the retailers’ actual stores, poking around their wishlists while hoping for some bargains. As we all know, nothing sounds better as ‘30% off’ on one of our wishlist’s items.
Let’s take for instance Walmart. The retailer’s mobile app saw an incredible 50% jump in sales over 2014, with its clients adding more and more items to their own wishlists. Well, as soon as Walmart’s Black Friday deals were revealed, the wishlists created generated an additional jump of 15% sales.
“The best retailers are the ones that allow people to go online or on their phones, find products and inspiration, and save those in one place on their phones. When you have a set group of purchases in front of you, your mind is less likely to wander to another retailer,” Swirl Rob Murphy, vice president of marketing at Beacon Network, stated in a recent interview with Digiday.
We could thus easily assume that it is also extremely important for the sales clerks to know how to use their retailer’s app and website, just in case their clients had some trouble using them. “Making sure the sales clerk knows how to understand mobile user information, and how to promote the company’s cross-channel capabilities, is key. They should be the ones telling you all about what the retailer is offering, whether it’s mobile apps or buy in-store, ship to home,” added Murphy.
Best Buy took this advice to the letter, enabling its shoppers to connect with clerks via smartphones in case of troubleshooting. Apps represent one of the main and fastest ways retailers use to connect with their customers, as they make it possible to quickly choose and book a selected item. Some retailers such as Macy’s went even further with app extravaganza by offering a chance for customers to win money via its Walk In and Win app. “All is fair in love and war everything”, or so they say.
Besides wishlists and apps, retailers have some other important tools to advertise their promotions and collections: social media. More and more retailers are investing huge sums of money in their Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and Snapchat ad campaigns, building an efficient team of social media managers, press officers and copywriters. Retailers such as J. Crew, Nasty Gal and Free People, for example, are taking great advantage of their Facebook pages, using both the platform’s Shop Now ads and boosting their posts encouraging their customers to share, like and comment their wishlist items. Moreover, with Facebook offering a great variety of mobile ads, online purchases easily double and triple.
While mobile devices have become the new battlefield for retailers, their ways of competing with each other may have changed in form but not in content, and now we just have to wait for their new online moves.
Photo courtesy of Viva Luxury