First, the macro indicators! Saturday ShopTrak, a retail industry research firm, published initial results showing brick and mortar sales for Thursday and Friday rose 2.3% to $12.8 billion. E-commerce firm ChannelAdvisor reported that client sales on eBay.com jumped 35% through noon EST on Black Friday, compared to the same holiday last year. Ebay is an interesting indicator as well, as it can be considered a secondary market to many. When you can’t get it in retail stores, you go to EBay. Client sales on Amazon.com rose 25% in the same period. Adobe reported a record $1 billion was spent on Thanksgiving day alone. All pretty impressive numbers.
Obviously mobile devices have changed our landscape a bit, best illustrated through Deloitte’s 2013 holiday survey, which showed 68% of smartphone owners and 63% of tablet owners will help them use their devices to shop this season. Smartphones are used to get store locations, price comparison and product information, while tablets are used most for shop/browse activities. Consumers using smartphones to assist with shopping will spend on average over $580 more than consumers who don’t use smartphones for this task.
Add to these trends the fact that this is the shortest holiday season since 2002 (27 days) and you have a perfect storm for channelslike email and social. With six fewer days of holiday shopping this year, marketers have less of a window and consumers will be scrambling. Convenience is the key to success this year.
Several things to keep in mind as you come out of the first retail rush of the season:
Spend time mining mobile device email behaviors over the next few weeks, which will help you isolate shopping patterns on the smartphone and tablet. This will be critical to optimize later in the holiday season. As consumers become more frenzied, they will be much more transient, and your ability to leverage that behavior with timely promotions will be critical. Might be worth a few mobile or “tablet browsing” special promotions targeted at the consumer sitting in front of the fireplace at night or on the go.
Social is important, but not done in isolation. We know that social sharing through email is a secondary objective at best for most. That doesn’t discount the importance of connecting the experiences. As I’ve noted before, consumers still rely heavily on social to inform the purchase, as a source of referrals, promotions and reviews, but it doesn’t always translate in a direct buy activity. That’s where email becomes so critical as a notification, promotional, information and fulfillment vehicle.
I hope your Black Friday injuries aren’t so severe that you can’t click a mouse on Cyber Monday.