Back to school has come and gone and now retail is fully shifted over to focusing on the 2015 holiday season. We’ve been covering the 2015 season for months now on our blog, starting as far back in July! We aren’t the only ones who can help you arm yourself with the tools you need, and the trends you need to know about to make the most of the busiest shopping season of the year.
Our friends over at Magento have recently released their 2015 Holiday Marketing Guide to help you get your operations fully prepared. Magento’s 2015 Holiday Commerce Marketing Guide is chock-full of holiday strategies to help you navigate the complex puzzle of the shopping season. Magento took a look at their data to bring to you three trends that are facilitating the growth and behavioural changes that retailers should consider in their holiday planning. Their guide is available free for download here, but we thought we would do you and your Commerce business a solid and summarize all the important points in the guide to help you drive conversions and engagement through the season.
Top eCommerce Spending Days
We aren’t kidding when we refer to the holidays as the biggest shopping season of the year. According to Magento’s data, the top 10 eCommerce spending days of 2014 were all during the holiday season. This means plenty of opportunity for merchants online who want to achieve revenue goals and win the loyalty of customers. Revenue for November and December has experienced a growth streak over the years, and although Black Friday and Cyber Monday are still sitting pretty as the top shopping days for the season, other days are still taking a piece of the pie with sales continuing well into the season.
In 2014 the top U.S. eCommerce spending days were:
- Cyber Monday (Dec 1) – $2.04 billion
- Tuesday (Dec 2) – $1.80 billion
- Green Monday (Dec 8) – $1.62 billion
- Black Friday (Nov 28) – $1.51 billion
- Friday (Dec 12) – $1.45 billion
- Tuesday (Dec 9) – $1.34 billion
- Thursday (Dec 11) – $1.19 billion
- Wednesday (Dec 3) – 1.17 billion
- Wednesday (Dec 10) – $1.17 billion
- Tuesday (Dec 16) – $1.16 billion
These dates from last season should give you a good idea of the dates this year that you need to ready yourself, and your business for. Optimize your programs from last year and schedule out your promotions for this year. Psst: we wrote a post this summer about managing promotional content in Magento for the holidays (you’re welcome)!
Trend 1: Mobile
Over the years the impact of mobile has been growing steadily. Although customers still prefer the screen sizes of PC and laptops, mobile has transformed into a touchpoint, a position it had never once been in before. For the 2014 holiday season mobile broke new records, even though most online sales came from desktops. Mobile devices rapidly gained traffic last year, with 45% of online traffic coming from mobile – that’s an increase of 25.5% year over year. There were 25 million more mobile shoppers in 2014 than 2013, with this increase in ownership also came an improvement in mobile experiences with responsive gaining traction.
Your challenge should you choose to accept it this holiday season will be not only recognizing mobile’s new footprint in shopping and purchasing, but optimize for mobile and simplify the check out process. Know your customers this holiday season, and where they’re interacting on your site to prioritize your efforts. Optimize your ad copy and website based on your research and self-assessments and be sure to capitalize on the the new marketing channels that mobile provides, like:
- push notifications
- mobile ads
Trend 2: Payment and Fulfillment
New service offerings through companies brought about the improvement and simplification of payments options and the fulfillments process, both for in store and online. When shopping online fulfillment and check out can influence the allocation of customer’s budgets. The top reasons Magento found that would cause U.S. digital shoppers to spend more of their shopping budget via. mobile device include:
- Easier checkouts
- Full product selection
- Clear and well-sized images
- quicker connection speeds
- one-click check out
- sufficient product information
- faster mobile searches
As the use of mobile increases during the holiday season, online and offline will unify. Fulfilment performance has also improved; boosting eCommerce sales through the season as many of the issues encountered in prior years had been resolved. In-store pick-up is also a promising alternative for customers during the busy holiday season. If your operations are omnichannel, in-store pick-up should be an option for your customers. eBay Enterprise saw big increases during the 2014 season for in store fulfillment, as customer look for a convenient option to purchase gifts and guarantee their arrival in-time to be given as well as save on shipping costs. For your eCommerce store this holiday season Magento suggests that you consider implementing faster and simpler check out options that reduces that need for users to fill out long check out forms. One of the easiest ways to cut down on the amount a user has to fill-out on check out is by using trusted services like PayPal or Google Wallet. If you are offering in-store pick up, make sure your inventory management is able to support it!
Trend 3: Search and Email Drive Traffic
Search and email marketing are the largest drivers of traffic during the holiday season! 38.5% of online came from free/paid search, while organic drove 21% and paid 17/5%. These acquisition channels could create an easy win for you this coming season, but only if you prepare properly. It may scare you to see that Ad Spend is increasing (it’ll cost you more), but the return potential is much greater. It’s predicted that for the first time mobile ad spend will account for more than 50% of all digital ad expenditure. This past summer we helped you kick start your digital marketing efforts by guiding you through SEM Budget Planing for The Holidays.Ranking third behind paid and organic search was email marketing, driving 17.7% of all shopping transactions during the holiday season. Email marketing was the primary channel during the American Thanksgiving weekend (end of November), accounting for 27.3% on Black Friday and 23.9% on Cyber Monday.
Magento suggests that you plan for the best but prepare for the best. After you’ve taken care of you search engine and email marketing, the next strategy you need to formulate is your”in the event of a disaster”:
- Create back-up promotions if things aren’t working
- Generate alternative email creative in case your numbers aren’t up to snuff
- Set up promotions on your commerce platform in advance
- Be ready to apologize by drafting emails for events, like your website crashing.
Win email marketing this holiday season! We created an eBook of our Email Marketing Specialist’s favourite campaigns from Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2014. Click the button to download this free resource to help get your creativity flowing:
Are you prepared for a Holiday filled with eCommerce cheer?
We’re edging closer to the biggest shopping season of the year, and as a retailer you want to enter Q4 as prepared as possible. This means making sure you’re aware of the season’s trends to best prepare your strategy. Research firms and industry experts release reports and insights on the coming trends and retail annually. These predictive trends and collected data for Holiday 2015 can be incredibly beneficial to your business, by providing you with areas to focus on in organizing your holiday strategy.