It’s no secret that the holidays are an important time for ecommerce brands. While traditional retail stores used to own the holiday shopping season on Black Friday, trends are now shifting in favor of ecommerce.
In fact, the National Retail Federation reports that last year there were more people shopping online over Thanksgiving weekend than in stores.
This shift in online shopping behavior presents a great opportunity for ecommerce companies to take advantage of increased holiday traffic.
Below, we’ll discuss the top ecommerce trends your brand should adopt this holiday season.
Ecommerce Trend #1 – Make the move to mobile.
Mobile is no longer optional for any brand who wants to remain competitive in the digital marketplace. This is especially true during the holiday shopping season. In fact, ecommerce trends predict that mobile revenue will overtake desktop purchases this holiday shopping season, with 70% of all ecommerce traffic expected to be mobile by the end of 2018. This means that if you do not have an effective mobile website that is easy to navigate and use, you may be left behind.
To start improving your mobile experience, you will need to make sure that your site is mobile responsive. This means that it loads quickly and is easy to use on any mobile device. When working to improve the mobile user experience, consider the design and content of your mobile site.
For instance, large images and blocks of text are not ideal for mobile sites. Large images take longer to load and mobile users may not be able to view them properly from smaller screens. Similarly, large blocks of text can be hard to read on a smaller screen. Not to mention, long paragraphs require a lot of scrolling, which impedes the mobile user’s experience.
Another important consideration is the navigation on your site. When it comes to making your site mobile-friendly, the easier it is to navigate, the better. Consumers should be able to quickly view and choose menu items to find exactly what they are looking for. Limit the number of menu items on your site to keep things simple, and organize any additional pages under drop down menus. You should also make it as easy as possible to make a purchase. One-click purchasing is one of the latest ecommerce trends that can help you improve your mobile experience. By making the purchase process simple and fast, you encourage mobile shoppers to convert quickly.
Ecommerce Trend #2 – Embrace the pop-up shop.
One of the most interesting ecommerce trends that has surfaced recently is that of the pop-up shop. Though ecommerce brands typically operate only on the world wide web, there is a new trend springing up that helps ecommerce brands provide an effective omni-channel experience for consumers. Rather than just providing products online, ecommerce brands are beginning to host exclusive pop-up shops to offer more of their products in physical locations. Consumers love this shopping option because it can often provide an exclusive experience, while also providing the opportunity to purchase seasonal products.
Many consumers like the idea of browsing online and picking up locally. Even in the event that they shop online and pick up in-store, consumers often will not limit their shopping to just their online purchases. In fact, ICSC found in a post-holiday shopping survey that 61% of people who bought items online for in-store pick up bought at least one more item when they visited the store in-person to pick up their online purchases. This makes the pop-up shop a great opportunity for ecommerce brands to increase sales and influence upsells.
Pop-up shops can also help online retailers expand their reach. Many consumers may not be exposed to your brand online, so using a pop-up shop to feature your products locally helps you reach even more consumers and improve brand recognition in your target market. Not to mention, you are able to connect with consumers who want to experience your products first-hand before making a purchase online.
Ecommerce Trend #3 – Don’t limit the deals to just Black Friday.
The day after Thanksgiving isn’t the only day that you should offer exclusive deals to consumers. More than half of holiday shoppers start to research and plan their gifts in October or earlier. This means that they have holiday shopping on their minds months before Black Friday rolls around. If you want to take advantage of this enthusiasm for holiday shopping, you may want to start offering deals throughout November and December.
This is a strategy that major online retailers like Amazon use to help sustain holiday sales throughout the months leading up to winter. In 2016, Amazon launched their Black Friday site a month before the actual shopping day.
Referring to the shopping event as the countdown to Black Friday, Amazon offered different deals every 5 minutes through December 22nd. Of course, they still provided some of their best promotions between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, allowing them to still take advantage of the excitement around these shopping holidays.
With some careful planning, your company can adopt this ecommerce trend successfully this holiday shopping season. Rather than rolling out all your holiday deals at once on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, you can slowly introduce exclusive deals and special promotions throughout November and December. Be sure to use your social media channels and email marketing list to get the word out and build excitement for these special promotions. Whether you let shoppers know what they can expect upfront or slowly reveal deals each week, your company can take advantage of the Black Friday excitement well before Thanksgiving arrives.
Ecommerce Trend #4 – Use geo-targeted ads to reach more consumers.
In tip #1 we discussed the importance of developing your mobile site and providing a better experience for mobile users. Now, let’s talk about how you can use mobile marketing tactics to your advantage. Geo-targeting is a popular marketing tactic that involves delivering ad content to users in specific physical locations. Most ecommerce brands would not think to use this method in their own marketing strategy given that they do not have physical store locations that are local to their customers. However, this tactic can actually help ecommerce companies reach new customers while competing with physical store locations.
Many consumers use their mobile devices when researching products, which makes mobile search ads an effective tactic for ecommerce brands. In fact, in 2016, search ads drove 38.5% of sales on Cyber Monday. However, if your ecommerce brand uses geo-targeting to reach customers in specific geographic locations, you will not only be able to reach a larger audience but also potentially take traffic away from physical store locations that are competing with your brand. For instance, if you see that a lot of your website traffic or customer orders are coming from certain metro locations, you might use geo-targeting to reach more shoppers in these specific spots.
To get started, you will want to consider which areas you’d like to target. In addition to choosing locations where many of your shoppers live, you may also want to target areas surrounding your major competitors. For instance, if you know that many of your shoppers come from large metro areas and Bed Bath and Beyond is one of your major competitors, you could find the competitor store locations in the major metro areas and target your mobile search ads to display within a 10- to 15-mile radius of these store locations. This helps you get in front of shoppers who may be researching products or looking for deals on their mobile devices.
It may be a major understatement to say that the holidays are an important time for ecommerce companies. If you want to make the most out of this holiday shopping season, you may need to rethink the way that you plan and implement your holiday shopping campaigns. Adopting one or more of these popular ecommerce trends can help your company improve your reach, influence more purchasing decisions, and boost conversions.