It’s estimated that around 30% of small and midsize business’ annual sales occur during the holiday selling season –– making it a significant driver of overall company revenue. As such, you likely began planning for the holiday season months ago, but some recent data and insights released by Google may throw a kink in your strategy.
“It used to be that people would plan their shopping marathons for days like Black Friday or Cyber Monday,” wrote Matt Lawson, Director, Performance Ads Marketing at Google. “Now, shopping happens in the moments between everything else in our lives. Last year, for example, we saw steady consumer shopping interest in ‘gifts and presents’ all season long.”
What this new data suggests is that there is no longer a single holiday shopping timeframe. Instead, consumers purchase in bits, and throughout the holiday season.
The catalyst for this change appears to be increased mobile commerce: “This holiday season, shopping moments will replace shopping marathons. Rather than rely on day-long mall marathons on Black Friday weekend, shoppers are now turning to their mobile phones at hundreds of micro-moments throughout the day, all season long,” wrote Lawson.
For your business, this means you need to have a stronger emphasis on mobile product positioning, mobile checkout and driving a mobile shopping audience to your mobile-friendly site. In essence, it means your site needs to be fully optimized first for mobile, then for the desktop purchaser.
How to Capture the Mobile Holiday Shopper
Mobile shoppers might not be marathoning their holiday purchases, but they aren’t 100% in-the-moment consumers either. Much like the shoppers that used to head out to the malls on Black Friday, mobile shoppers enter a purchasing mindset when preparing to buy from their smartphones.
How do we know? Because mobile shoppers spend, on average, 7% less time during a shopping session than those on desktop. Yet, despite what might be perceived as a lower level of engagement, mobile purchases have increased 64% over the past year, now accounting for 30% of all online sales.
Less time on site, but increased sales –– that only equals one thing: mobile shoppers are not browsers. They are instead determined to find the products they want, when they want them and with as few distractions as possible.
Here’s what you need to know about them, then, to provide just that.
Target Mobile Shoppers on Sundays
According to Google data, most mobile commerce takes place on Sundays. During Q3 of 2015, mobile shopping peaked on Sundays, with 18% higher mobile shopping search queries than on any other day of the week.
To optimize for the mobile shopping mindset on Sundays, schedule abandoned cart emails and site promotions targeted to a mobile audience for that day. Send emails out at about 10 a.m., and push shoppers back to a mobile site showcasing promotions for increased average order value or flash deals ending at midnight on Sunday.
For potential new mobile customers, ensure your site is mobile-friendly and that your products are easily findable in Google Shopping feeds. Also, target your social network advertisements toward a mobile audience on Sundays (via Power Editor in Facebook, for instance). In all, optimize on mobile traffic for Sundays to see if doing so can boost your bottom line.
Tailor Your Marketing to Shopping Moments
Customers are buying products whenever they have a spare moment during the holiday season –– and are converting more quickly than when they shop on desktop. Cater to this audience by providing quick to skim gift guides with prominent CTAs.
Also, limit how many products you add to each guide. On desktop, a shopper may browse through your entire guide. On mobile, if a shopper doesn’t find what they are looking for, and quick, they will bounce to a competitor. Reducing the number of choices is a proven method to increase conversion and customer satisfaction. Less options can truly be more –– especially on a smaller screen.
Clean Up Your Merchandising Strategy
A solid merchandising strategy is key all year long, but especially so during the holidays –– and it extends much further than your own website. To ensure that mobile shoppers can find your products, no matter how they search for them, you’ll need to implement a smart multichannel strategy, offering points of sale on various marketplaces.
Perhaps the most important marketplace to begin utilizing is Amazon. After all, nearly half of all online shopping search queries begin on that site. If your products don’t show up there, then you aren’t even in the running to win those customers and close those deals.
If you’re worried about inventory levels (Amazon is strict about this), pricing strategy (You want to be in the box!) or any other consideration you’re using as a barrier to Amazon entry, here’s a good, relatively simple way to get your products up and running, if only as test: SKU differentiation.
Take a look at your analytics. Identify the products on site selling relatively well on their own (i.e. you aren’t pushing advertising traffic to their product pages) and which have high margins. Now, create a variant of that product. Your variation can be either color, size, custom engraving, whatever it is you can manage. Then, place that variant on Amazon with a lower price point to help get you into the price box.
What you’ve essentially done at this point is figured out which of your products are driving organic search volume (meaning people are searching for this item) and organic sales (meaning their organic search find is what they want, and they are buying it). If the product is doing well based off of Google search traffic, then it will perform similarly on Amazon as far as organic traffic goes. Then, because you have a higher margin on this item, you can mark down the price to more competitively compete with other sellers on Amazon and hopefully get your product into the buy box. Finally, by offering a variant of the item you sell on your site, you can easily manage inventory levels and push shoppers back to your own site to further explore additional options, if desired.
Acting on data, or being data-driven, is a much-hyped digital strategy days –– and for good reason. If you have the time, be sure to use Google’s most recent mobile shopping data to inform your mobile holiday strategy this year. And remember, it isn’t just about how well you do during Cyber Week. You have until the last possible day you can ship an item in order to win over customers and close out the 2015 year on a high note.
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