Last holiday season, mobile saw impressive engagement as more customers reached for their smartphones to shop online. Mobile sales alone rose 40% last Q4 compared to the previous year, far surpassing desktop growth (15%) and brick-and-mortar growth (7%). With the increasing power of mobile commerce, it’s important for retailers to understand the big trends from the 2017 Holiday and strategies to utilize this channel to its fullest potential in the coming months.

TREND #1: Mobile Holidays

A new trend emerged last season that highlighted the value of mobile over the holidays. For the first time, mobile order share surpassed desktop on Thanksgiving and then again on Christmas Day.  What makes this milestone more significant is that both of these holidays were not previously considered popular days for shopping. The primary reason mobile online orders peaked on major holidays is due to people travelling and looking for ways to fill time. Here’s how you can engage customers with mobile on those important days. 

TACTIC:

Implement SMS or MMS campaigns. Around those days when you know customers won’t be able to browse on a desktop, reach out to them via mobile with a special offer for the holiday. Provide a link to your site in the message, so people can easily begin shopping. Make sure you consider the time of day you’re sending and keep your message relevant and timely. 

TREND #2: The Mobile Conversion Challenge

Mobile order share reached a record high at the end of 2017, representing nearly a quarter of all digital commerce sales. That’s not to say there isn’t room for improvement. While mobile commerce is on the rise and shoppers spend significantly more time browsing on mobile compared to desktop, more than three-quarters of digital commerce sales still come from desktop. This trend suggests that customers like to research products on mobile and purchase on desktop.

The challenge of converting on mobile stems from a single source – poor user experience. Retailers have implemented new strategies to combat the mobile conversion challenge and enhance the customer buying process. The result was an impressive 12% higher conversion rate from 2016. Here are a few tactics you can put into practice this holiday to prompt customers to purchase on their mobile devices.

TACTICS:

Create a mobile-optimized site. Your website should be simple for customers to navigate and view. This becomes especially important on mobile devices where the screens are even smaller. Ensure that your site is adaptive to mobile, so shoppers can easily browse and buy products from their smartphones.

Make sure browsing and purchasing is quick and easy. Customers expect convenience when they shop on-the-go with mobile. Allow them to make quick transactions by enabling autofill on forms so customers don’t have to enter their information each time they make a purchase. Take measures to reduce page load times and the number of clicks customers must take to buy a product.

Personalize based on shoppers’ behaviors and preferences. Retail is a highly competitive industry, so you need to make sure you stand out from the crowd in the best possible way. A CRM platform can give you valuable insights on your customers’ preferred products and channels, predicted behaviors, and more. Using Predictive Product Recommendations in email and on your site helps to customize the shopper’s experience and increase their likelihood to convert.

TREND #3: Retail Apps

From Black Friday to Cyber Monday in 2017, customers spent a combined total of 12 million hours on leading mobile commerce apps, and retail app usage grew 54% from the previous year. Over half of Millennials (age 18-34) and Gen X (age 35-54) prefer to shop using an app versus the web when they are on their mobile devices. Additionally, women and Apple iOS users are more inclined to shop via an app.

More customers are seeing the convenience mobile apps offer such as better navigation, saved login credentials, faster loading times, and saved payment details. However, the primary reason customers turn to retail apps to make purchases is because they enjoy receiving discounts and offers. This year, 85% of consumers will “probably” or “definitely” use smartphone commerce apps for their holiday shopping. Here are some ways you can keep them engaged with your brand.

TACTICS:

Promote deals with push notifications. 50% of customers will enable push notifications for special offers during the Black Friday weekend.  Make sure to keep them engaged over the holiday by sending them timely and relevant information on exclusive deals. You can even entice customers to purchase by sending an offer to their smartphone when they are shopping in your store.

Provide customers with information at their fingertips. 63% of smartphone owners use their mobile device to aid in buying decisions over the holidays. Your app should provide customers with information that will help them in their research phase and move them closer to a purchase, such as localized ratings, reviews, availability, sales, and any other relevant information.

Sources:

comScore, 2018 State of the U.S. Online Retail Economy
TotalRetail, 3 Things We Already Know About the 2018 Holiday Shopping Season
Mobile Business Insights, Ring in More Holiday Sales with Mobile Push Notifications
Retail Dive, Shopping Apps Poised for Profitable 2018 after 54% Growth
eMarketer, For Mobile Shopping, a Generational Divide
Clearbridge, How Retailers Can Leverage Mobile Apps During the Holidays
National Retail Federation, Consumers and Retailers Win Big Over Thanksgiving Holiday

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