At least a third of the projected $617 billion to be spent this holiday season is expected to come from ecommerce transactions. Here are four top trends to boost consumer engagement and maximize sales this holiday shopping season.
1. Mobile adoption: Mobile devices have become part of consumers’ everyday lives. For retailers, this means the mobile experience they offer to consumers (both mobile web and in-app) needs to be simple and seamless across all devices when it comes to user interface, product offerings and advertisements. Mastering multiscreen is a must for retailers this holiday season, as smartphones and tablets are key sales vehicles. Mobile planning can take more than a month to get right, so retailers have thought through exactly what strategies need to be executed against and put in place.
2. Consumers are device agnostic: The consumer’s path to purchase is a bifurcated one. People are browsing across desktops, mobile devices, tablets and now even watches. Criteo research shows that 40% of ecommerce transactions are the result of cross-device use. A consumer may look for a product on their mobile phone within a browser while in store, then later go home and make a purchase through an app on their tablet.
With consumers constantly moving between devices, they’re unpredictable. This makes it difficult for retailers to calibrate where to invest budget and how best to optimize spend. Retailers are learning how their consumers navigate in store and web environments, understanding their behaviors by leveraging big data, and better predicting intent to be able to make informed decisions on how best to allocate resources in time for the holidays. While highly important in the last quarter of the year, retailers should aim to have a pulse on consumer behaviors year-round.
3. Companies are connecting the dots: While it’s much easier to understand how a consumer browses and shops online, it’s much more challenging for a retailer to be able to leverage online consumer data and stitch it to offline purchases. Companies that specialize in connecting online consumer data with offline transactions are partners for retailers heading into the month of December.
4. Email remains an effective tool: A recent Radicati Group study found that there are about 2.5 billion email users worldwide. Of that figure, 45% of email opens occur on mobile, 36% on desktop and 19% in a webmail client. In other words, no matter how email is accessed, it is a dominant form of communication.
When a consumer is browsing for products and doesn’t complete a purchase, there is no better way to re-engage them than through email. In fact, Experian Marketing Services uncovered that personalized emails deliver six times higher transaction rates. Still, a staggering 70% of brands fail to use them. Get your campaigns up and running smoothly ahead of crunch time to attract and retain consumers.
James Smith is executive vice president, Americas, at Criteo.