Summer is winding down, the kids are back in school, and it’s time for retailers to get serious about their plans for the 2016 holiday online shopping season.
To help retailers prepare their holiday personalization strategies, Evergage e-commerce experts Meera Murthy and Karen Simmonds (VP of Strategy and Customer Success Director, respectively) recently hosted a webinar entitled E-Commerce Strategies for the Holiday Season. In this post, we’ll outline the trends they explored.
This Year’s Trends to Watch
Last year, mobile established itself as a key factor in holiday shopping. According to comScore, shoppers spent $12.7 billion via their mobile devices, up a staggering 59% from 2014. While desktop sales still outnumbered mobile sales, nearly one in five purchases made online during the holiday season was on a mobile device.
With that in mind, this year marketers need to approach their holiday strategy with a multi-channel lens. From consumers researching on mobile devices before ultimately purchasing on desktops, or using their mobile phones to conduct research while in-store, or buying online but picking up in-store, shopping channels have blurred.
Marketers are now facing key trends such as:
1. Moving Beyond Transactions to Interactions
As shoppers leverage multiple channels, it’s important to have a single, clear picture of each shopper to understand their individual interests and affinities. And it is critical that this profile is automatically updated in real time, because a shopper’s needs could change for each visit as he or she shops for gifts for others.
2. Increase in Popup Stores
According to Popup Republic, the popup industry has reached $10 billion in sales. Popup stores are increasingly being adopted by pure-play online retailers to give consumers the ability to touch and feel items while shopping. When incorporating a popup store into your strategy, you need to ensure that it is connected to your other channels. Leverage your digital channels to drive traffic to the store, then drive those visitors back to those digital channels. Personalized communication can help you create the loyalty necessary to achieve this.
3. Increase in Mobile In-Store Searches
According to Google, in-store mobile searches have increased by 30%, and continue to grow. To help shoppers find what they’re looking for while researching in-store, an effective onsite search that minimizes the number of necessary clicks and shows relevant results is critical in both your mobile app and mobile site. Additionally, connecting your desktop and mobile experiences are key to helping shoppers find products they’ve previously researched, regardless of the channel.
4. Increase in BOPIS (Buy Online Pickup In Store)
Nearly seven in ten people say it's important that a retailer offers multiple ways to buy a product, such as buying online or picking up in-store, according to Google. So it’s no surprise that the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) found that nearly one-third of holiday shoppers in 2015 bought online and picked up in store (BOPIS).
To take advantage of this trend, marketers can create a personalized journey to continue the dialogue with BOPIS shoppers — such as recommending relevant personalized products available in-store based on pick-up location.
5. Moving Beyond Cross-Channel Consistency to Relevancy
Eighty-eight percent of consumers say that they are more likely to shop with a retailer that has more personalized and inter-connected online, mobile and in-store experiences — according to Swirl Networks. We already know that cross-channel consistency is key, but it’s about more than just providing consistent experiences. Relevancy is critical to creating personalized experiences that drive ongoing loyalty.
With shoppers increasingly looking to research and purchase across multiple channels, marketers need to have a deep understanding of each customer in order to create meaningful interactions with each person across touchpoints. To learn how to use personalization to address each trend facing the holiday season this year, be sure to watch the webinar replay.