Personalizing Web Sites, Ads Dominate Holiday Shopping Decisions

Consumers anticipate doing more of their shopping through online channels this year, but marketers need to understand the personal and the emotional cross-channel purchase journey.

Personalization is a driving factor for higher sales during the 2016 holiday shopping season. Of those surveyed, 31% of people participating in a survey by SessionM say they are more likely to shop with a retailer this holiday season if they receive personalized offers from the brand.

The results, released Friday, suggest that among those who would prefer to receive personalized offers from a retailer, email at 43% and mobile device at 26% are the two most popular channels for receiving messages.

SessionM sees in-store sales declining -- with 70% of people admitting in the survey results that they plan to shop in retail stores for the holiday season in 2016, down from 78% in 2015. Some 46% of people plan to shop via mobile device in 2016, as opposed to 43% of people in 2015, but purchases are not the only behavior that is shifting from retail to digital.

When deciding where to go holiday shopping, online research would help 51% of people make their decision, as opposed to assistance from store mailings and emails at 37% or television at 23%. And while the shopping process is underway, per the study, 46% of people plan to use their mobile device to search for deals or sales at stores, while 44% of people plan to use their mobile device to compare prices at different stores.

Some 71% plan to shop online, but a mere 14% of U.S. shoppers surveyed say they will use their phone, up 130% from 2015, according to The NPD Group's 2016 Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey released earlier this week.

Overall, shoppers will make 38% of their holiday shopping purchases online, spending on average $710 each this year. Clothing and accessories, entertainment, and toys are the top-ranked categories in both online and in-store segments. The technology and electronics category, which ranked No. 4 among online shoppers, remains a lower priority among those avoiding e-commerce, which ranked No. 7, per The NPD Group.

Avoiding Web site and shopping cart abandonment means that marketers need to think about categories and subcategories on search ad landing pages by pretending they are the consumer, Merkle suggests in a blog post. Think about the search query and the types of results consumers would expect or want to see to make the best shopping choices.

For example, when setting up a page to sell sweaters for women, several factors such as the number of products on a page, whether top sellers are features, and the ability to sort of drill down to more detailed choices should factor into whether "Sweaters" or "Women's Sweaters" would make the best subcategory.




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