We’ve surpassed the cycle where consumers are hesitant to buy products online before checking them out at a store. With mobile payments in US expected to grow to $142 billion in 2019 from $54 billion in 2015, consumer’s increasing reliance on their smartphone scales their expectations. Businesses can find new room to pass customer expectations in payments and commerce with the evolution of digital experiences.
Historically, holiday season shows the highest revenue for retailers every year. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holidays saw a boom in retail sales. As of March 2015, mobile traffic to U.S. retail websites reached 47.4 percent—a huge increase from the 28.7 percent recorded in March 2013 by IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark. 56% of searches during the holiday season were conducted on a smartphone or a tablet. 60% of millennials surveyed said that they “love” holiday shopping. The average transaction via computer was higher than mobile and in-store – desktop leading in basket size.
So what are your plans for the 2016 holiday season? If you haven’t set, here are a few tips to get it right:
- Know your customer better: The success of a seller is when you understand the psyche of your customer better than them. A joint study by IBM and Econsultancy found that 69 percent of marketers believe that they deliver a superior online experience to customers. But only 22 percent of consumers feel the average retailer understands them, and only 21 percent believe the marketing communications they receive are usually relevant. Understanding the browsing patterns of your customer, the time they spend on each categories and products, how often are they reading the product details, reviews add to the data to understand customers better. Understanding user behavior at-location through LBS technology products like Proximity MX is a good way to start in-store digital strategy.
- Engage across all channels: A holistic engagement across all channels is a necessity more than a luxury. According to a report by IDC, shoppers that buy on multiple channels have a 30% higher lifetime value than those who shop using only one channel. Omni-channel engagement helps in retaining customers also. As customers get more tech-savvy, they demand premium experience across various channels. Planning omni-channel strategy requires a lot of thought as to how one channel can impact the other. Delivering the same experience across all is the challenge to be addressed.
- Loyalty & Gift cards: Gift cards are the easiest way to wish someone a happy holiday or thank them for a job well done. Virtual gift cards cost less than the plastic ones. They are flexible, trackable and scalable instantly which provides the merchant with a wealth of valuable data and relatively easy to keep up with consumer demand. By 2018, gift card sales is predicted to reach $160 billion from $130 billion in 2015. The 2015 Census by Colloquy shows that specialty store loyalty memberships now total 434 million. U.S. consumers hold 3.3 billion memberships in customer loyalty programs, the 2015 Census shows, a 26% increase over the number of memberships reported in in 2013. Rewards and incentives are convincing enough for consumers to use them. Holiday season reward points are a good way to attract them even after holiday season. However, loyalty cards should never be limited to a physical card. Integrating it with your online shoppers database is something you should start working on right now if you haven’t thought about it yet. It was the need of the hour last year.
- Keeping brick and click in sync: The brick and click is the combination of offline and online retail strategy. Ordering and paying for the product online and picking them up at the store without waiting for the queue to bill is a satisfactory customer purchase. If you have an existing brick and mortar store, the logistics and operations can be aligned with Android Pay and Apple Pay with a faster checkout time. Customer feedback can be processed faster with this sync.
- Social media to shop: Various social media channels now have incorporated the “buy” button. So customers can buy their products with minimal interactions and quicker confirmation for orders. The younger demographics drive the social shopping trend. Engaging a captive audience’s browsing and converting them into sales is an imperative iron in the fire for brands.
- Phenomenal mobile interactive experiences: It’s all about keeping it simple and easy for the users, with minimal interactions. With Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Mobile and Alternative Payments, Location Based Strategies influencing this season, customers are in the lookout for phenomenal user experiences.
It’s holidays and time to gear up your sales
The idea is to convert casual shoppers to brand loyalists. Having a well-defined strategy and planning ahead is crucial. Understanding customers with real-time insights and personalization will decide the winners during this holiday season. Utilize the on-location data to drive marketing campaigns and see the difference in results. Omni-channel engagement is the best bet in this situation. Get your brick and click strategy right by understanding your customer and create experiences they desire.
Want to create engaging mobile experiences for this holiday season?