The countdown has begun as retailers are gearing up for the most important two months of the year. From November 1 to December 31, shoppers will be out in droves — both in stores and online — ready to plunk down an estimated $923.15 billion dollars, representing almost 20 percent of U.S. retail sales for the year. Capturing those dollars, however, may prove unusually challenging, as growth in online retail visits over the past two years has been stagnant. Only certain segments, like consumer electronics and apparel, have been on the rise.
Given the stakes, brands must understand the best way to connect with consumers if they want to remain competitive — especially during the holiday season. So, if you don’t want to leave this shopping season to chance, Adobe Digital Insights’ Holiday Shopping Predictions can help you adapt your strategies to shopper behavior. Based on robust data, this annual report offers a road map on what channels to use and when.
Here’s a quick peek from our report at some digital marketing strategies that will make this season merry and bright for retailers.
1. Master mobile.
It will probably come as no surprise that mobile visits continue to grow, as this has been the trend for several years running. In fact, we expect the “mobile moment” — when mobile visits outpace desktop for the average retailer — to happen by the end of 2017. However, despite the continued growth of mobile visits, year-over-year stickiness has not improved for retailers. Additionally, while mobile visits are up, mobile revenue is down, with each desktop visit worth about four times as much as a smartphone visit.
This trend suggests that brands should prioritize converting mobile traffic this holiday season. Retailers can also improve conversion by keeping the mobile checkout experience as simple and quick as possible, by offering one-click checkout for returning customers and requesting minimal data from new customers.
2. Focus on paid search.
Our research showed that paid search is dominating revenue results, and is, in fact, eating up visit share from organic traffic. Visit share for paid search peaks around the holiday season, making it even more of a priority for retailers who want to maximize their holiday revenue opportunities.
Interestingly, search channels, including both paid and organic, convert best in the afternoon. These channels seem less prone to impulse purchases. Similarly, while most revenue from the email channel comes during the morning, visits from email campaigns see a higher conversion in the evening. This suggests that shoppers come back to their morning emails after a day’s work.
3. Expand your social presence.
Social is becoming more relevant, and brands should take note. Since January 2015, it has more than doubled in volume. What’s more, our research indicates that social and display conversion seem to spike after 11 p.m., suggesting that these are more impulsive purchases. To get the most bang from social and display, brands can target these channels with the products and promotions most likely to stimulate impulse buying.
Finally, the other important takeaway is to organize your ad schedule on social channels so that it is not limited to the daytime. Instead, broaden your reach by taking advantage of advertising on different channels at different times of day.
Cross-channel campaigns may deliver the best tidings of the season.
With every type of device, and all the channels that are in play this holiday season, retailers who meet their customers with a strong presence across channels, and have seamless campaign orchestration across devices will gain an edge. Come November 1, successful brands will be ready to ring in the holiday season with strong digital strategies that should make the holiday shopping season a joy for customers and retailers.
Want more insights? Download Adobe’s Digital Insights’ Holiday Shopping Predictions report here.