The following is a guest contributed post from Eyal Oster, CEO of international mobile engagement leader, MobileBridge.
Online shoppers spent a record $4.45 billion between Black Friday ($2.72B) and Thanksgiving ($1.73B) in 2015. This is up 25% from the previous year. Cyber Monday saw a record $3 billion in sales, which is 16% above what we spent the year before. E-commerce sales spending was up 17.8% from the prior year, and more than ever customers opted to browse deals on their mobile devices.
However even with these record numbers in online sales, in-store shoppers only spent a mere $102 million, lower than what was projected. Sales at some department stores fell. For example, Macy’s sales fell 4.7% at existing stores in November and December. Competing with lower-priced online and discount stores along with the weather contributed to the decline.
Retailers need take advantage of the holiday shopping season, but do so effectively and more importantly profitably.
So how do retailers do this? How do they optimize both their online and in-store revenues to make this not just the highest sales volume period of the year, but the most profitable? The solution lies in being able to answer one question: are your shoppers Black Friday or Cyber Monday shoppers?
Here are three tips for retailers wanting to improve not just sales, but profitability this holiday season.
Optimize for Mobile
One-third of online shoppers used their mobile phone to make purchases during Thanksgiving and Black Friday in 2015. That was up 70% from 2014! The growth in consumer preference for doing their shopping on their mobile device is growing quickly, and retailers who don’t adjust to this will miss out. It takes more than just a responsive website to support your mobile customers.
Consider launching a mobile app that provides a better user experience for the small-screen, and focuses on getting the customer the information they want quickly, versus browsing your entire website. Make the purchase process as seamless and easy as possible. Like how Amazon Prime customers often wake up to new packages they didn’t remember ordering (or is it just me that shouldn’t “Drink and Prime”).
Use geolocation data to target consumers that are near your store – or maybe even when they are by a competitor’s store. Push a notification alerting them you have their desired product in store and to come in for an extra discount – or just some friendly service. These things will differentiate you from the pack with your customers who are mobile only.
Connect Online and Off-line Worlds of Your Customers
Now here’s the tricky part – how to do you get one single view of your customer? Why does my favorite store still send me Black Friday promotions when they should know I never set foot in a store on that day? The key is to connect your customers online and off-line worlds to create a single truth of who they are and their preferences for shopping.
Integrating data between your CRM, e-commerce, marketing automation and mobile platforms might seem like a herculean feat. But in reality, a platform like MobileBridge provides connectors to each of your existing systems to allow you to begin connecting those dots. Add to that the intimate knowledge of your customer you gain through their mobile device, and you begin to get very clear views on who they are and how they prefer to shop. Once you know that, targeting highly relevant and contextual offers is easy.
Adapt to Real-time Conditions
We can project, but we never really know which products are going to be hot this holiday season and which ones will get overshadowed by the hype. Mobile allows the retailer to drive demand for a product to help manage inventory and customer needs. Send out notifications to people in a 5-mile radius that a specific TV is on sale. Or promote a holiday baked goods to accelerate demand so there is no waste.
Even harness the weather to your advantage. Typically sell a lot of winter scarves and gloves? What is the weather is 70 degrees (like it was last year)? Remind people even though its 70 now, the cold snap is right around the corner. Keep the right products top of mind to your consumers.
So as you gear up for this holiday shopping season, be sure you can answer the question – are your customers Black Friday or Cyber Monday shoppers? If you can – you should have a very merry season.