Holiday Shopping Trends and how to Game the Season

The rise of mobile comes with its own set of pitfalls

It’s November 18th, which means we’re 18 days into the official ‘holiday’ season. How are you currently marketing to your customers?

New Adobe research has declared that the 61 days between November 1st - December 31st  will bring in more than $91.6 Billion in revenue. That's with a B. Those 61 days are a brand’s most challenging battleground; an estimated 25% of all brand sales occur within this short window of time.  So how do you capitalize? Brace yourself for bad news- if you’re only thinking about this now, you’re behind the eight ball.

Mobile has been gaining speed and overtaking ground in the ecommerce space, but now mobile usage is akin to that giant boulder running down Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark.  I know, I know, Indy survives, but don't put yourself in a position to be flattened in the mobile race.   

Going Mobile

Mobile traffic is poised to overtake desktop traffic this holiday season (and data shows that it did so for the first time this October), which means that your mobile site, whether it's responsive or adaptive, has to be en pointe.  With so many consumers reaching for mobile-first and sometimes mobile-only experiences, businesses need to ready their sites for a seamless, intuitive, efficient mobile commerce experience.

For those of you already dedicating UX time to the mobile experience, bravo, but you also may not be doing enough.  Adobe’s research found that while mobile interaction is soon to become the majority of online interactions, it still is responsible for only one third of online purchases.  Furthermore, those mobile purchases’ average value tends to be $35 less than desktop transactions.  So, you’re selling more for a higher average sale on desktop devices, but mobile sales are where your customer is headed?  How can you convert those mobile visits to transactions, and those transactions to yield higher sales?  The answer could be rejiggered UX, better calls to action, different colors, etc.  But a large part of that answer is loyalty.

The Spoils of Loyalty

According to the Adobe research, in addition to the 25% of total annual sales that this 61 day period produces, an average of 5% of frequent return customers account for 35% of a company’s total revenue.  Can you imagine not taking full advantage of that 5%?  The way to drive customers to your site time and time again is to create a bond with them, a symbiotic relationship.  Loyalty programs often accomplish this goal, and the good ones reward customers for their activity, their reviews, and their consistent participation with the brand.  You already know that old chestnut that it is nine times more expensive to gain a new customer than to retain a current one.  Couple that with the financial cost of losing a GOOD customer, and you’ve doubled your trouble.  So, create a loyalty program, make it worthwhile to your customer to be a part of it.

Know Thyself...and Thy Customer

Part of a good loyalty experience is personalization. In order to smooth mobile transactions into a seamless experience, your personalization game has to be good.  Remind loyalty members what’s in their carts.  Has it sat there too long? Offer them a little discount or a special bundled offer, ‘just for them’.  As we’ve already said, paying proper attention to this customer segment is very much worth your while.  The money spent on personalization and loyalty will be well spent- not only because of the percentage of sales those loyal customers influence, but because the holiday season is getting even longer.  Holiday sales promotion is ticking up before Halloween and extending into the very last gasps of December, spreading its mass and increasing the number of $1 Billion sales days to an estimated 57 this year.

Revising your strategy for holiday is the smart way to effect positive change for the rest of your fiscal year and get ahead of ecommerce trends that will quickly become the status quo.  Don’t you want it to feel like Christmas all year ‘round?