The holiday shopping season is upon us, and this year is poised to be the biggest yet for ecommerce. Will it really be the most magical time of the year? For retailers, it can be a double-edged sword – the opportunity to drive revenue is massive, but so is the pressure to engage customers in the right way, at the right time, with the right message. With this in mind, we thought to take a few minutes and share some perspectives from the other side.
As technology builders, digital consultants, and marketers, here’s a roundup of our favorite predictions from our partners, bringing to light some really exciting trends for our industry. We hope these insights spark innovation heading into 2017.
Make it easy
“To capitalize on the needs of today’s consumer for real-time gratification, it’s critical for brands to build convenience into all touchpoints. An example is putting store locators that update at the time of open based on the recipient’s location, and linking to Google Maps to help customers drive to the nearest store. You can also curate products to make the shopping process easier, as Trunk Club or Stitch Fix do—even if your brand doesn’t have the same business model as those brands.” Learn more
-April Mullen, Sr. Marketing Strategist at Selligent
“This holiday season has reinforced that many shoppers will start shopping by Halloween. Gray November, a month-long start to the holiday shopping season, is not a passing phenomenon but the new norm. Because of this shift, retailers need to incorporate real-time purchasing data to stand out with more personalized, relevant emails. For the remainder of the season, expect that Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions to not be extended for a few days, but rather carry through late December. The time for endless discounts is finally upon us.” Learn more
-Greg Zakowicz, Sr. Commerce Marketing Analyst at Bronto Software
Make it personal
“Omnichannel personalization will be an increasingly critical competitive differentiator this holiday season. With 80% of in-store transactions being influenced by consumers browsing online via mobile or digital devices, retailers can’t dismiss the degree of influence that digital retail has on consumer behavior, in the stores and online. Making sure that your data collection is accurate in real-time is critical to leverage behavioral data. With accurate data to draw from you can simplify discovery, synthesize behavior with personalized keyword categories and provide personalized recommendations that are dynamically delivered with relevant email messages, or that guide shoppers through each page of your site, mobile site or mobile app.” Learn more
-Chris Baird, Vice President of Marketing at ObservePoint
“From our perspective at LiveRamp, we’re seeing advertisers adopt ‘people-based’ techniques that will improve consumers’ digital experiences this holiday season. Advertisers will leverage near real-time data to optimize strategies and targeting based on customer purchases, inventory availability, and shifting trends. Overall, we expect consumers will begin to notice a seamless, more enjoyable shopping experience from leading brands as the holiday season heats up.” Learn more
-Matt Lewis, Business Development at LiveRamp
Make it mobile
“Mobile commerce is going to play a bigger role in driving revenue this holiday season than in past years. Because of that, it’s important to link emails, push notifications and other channels to specific product/detail pages within a mobile app, without any disruption. It’s no longer acceptable to drive your app users from other channels to your website. It’s also not ok to drop users onto the homepage of the app if they’ve clicked on something specific from another channel. Honor your app users by eliminating any poor user experiences to allow for easier conversion.”
-April Mullen, Sr. Marketing Strategist at Selligent
“Mobile traffic has increased dramatically year-over-year but total orders completed via mobile devices has remained stagnant. Something—slow mobile networks, fears over security, poor or inconsistent UX implementation across mobile sites, or some yet-unknown factor—has been preventing a rapidly growing segment of shoppers from converting in that crucial moment of activation. This year, we expect to see this trend reverse and revenue to increase over 30 percent in mobile traffic and more than a 50 percent increase in mobile conversions. This will especially be true for retailers that have invested resources and time into understanding and incrementally improving their mobile experience over the last year.”
-Brooks Bell Team
Make it pay off
“The approximately 10% of businesses that are further along the digital governance maturity model, defined as those that have a digital governance framework in place that is used in practice, will be better prepared to quickly respond to any issues their partners may have, and will provide a much better user experience with greater results. One of our retail partners last holiday season experienced a 100% improvement in performance of the site, resulting in a 1/2% conversion improvement. They credited this growth to a strong digital governance process that was implemented prior to the online holiday shopping season.” Learn more
-Mark Rudolph, CRO at Ghostery
Bottom Line: The retailers that compete on deeply integrated systems to build data-driven experiences should be well positioned to outperform other competitors during the holiday season. For us, the trend to watch is the way that online, mobile and store channels influence each other to deliver more flexible fulfillment models. While it’s no secret that convenience and efficiency boost conversions, low prices and speedy delivery are only part of the story these days. Retailers will need to start focusing less on the transaction and more on the interaction. Creating a two-way dialogue that delivers a seamless and unified shopping experience is key to cultivating brand loyalty – the gift that keeps on giving, even well after the holiday season is over.