Remember when lines wrapped around the aisles during the holiday season? So do consumers, but they don't remember those experiences as fondly as retailers do. Instead, many are turning to online purchasing as a way to avoid that very thing: lines. Convenience is one of the biggest motivators that is driving the move to ecommerce. The proliferation of mobile devices plays a big role in the switch, with 77 percent of Americans carrying around a device with massive computing power in their pockets: the smartphone. Changes in the way shoppers make purchases is creating an ever-evolving shopping experience.
The Growth of M-Commerce
For the first time, total digital sales are expected to reach 10 percent of all retail. That includes mobile, ecommerce, social and any other online sales path. With most shoppers pocketing a device that allows shopping on the go, it should come as no surprise that the m-commerce segment is expected to grow by more than 32 percent in 2018. As consumers loosen their tight savings strings and get back to shopping, more and more are turning to mobile for at least part of their buyer's journey. Some of the most popular items for mobile purchasing include cosmetics, apparel and gifting items. Keep in mind that people can also buy gift certificates, vouchers and services as part of their m-commerce purchasing.
Mobile Marketing Explains the Surge
While multimedia advertisements have been a stable of web ads for a long time, mobile has taken that to the next level with native ads. Consumers respond to mobile advertising efforts more positively and are more likely to convert based on what they are shown on a mobile device. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the biggest shopping days of the year. On both of these holidays, mobile ads dwarfed the conversion rate of desktop by almost 3 to 1 on Black Friday and 2 to 1 on Cyber Monday. That means that while ecommerce as a whole is outperforming brick-and-mortar retail, a surprising amount of that growth is mobile.
Focus on High-Performing Niche Markets
When getting ready for the 2018 holiday season, it is important to apply last year's trends to this year's marketing efforts. Since cosmetics, apparel and gifts are doing so well via mobile devices, ramp up your efforts in these categories through mobile advertising. Technology continues to sell best via desktop, so maintain your standard channels for this vertical. Monitor your SEO efforts, invest in quality paid search results, build organic search, and drive traffic using high-quality content. Social selling has not yet advanced enough to be a major marketplace, but it has a complementary effect on other channels. Items seen on a social media post may drive sales at-store or online.
Reduce Friction Between Channels
A sale is a sale. Whether you close the deal online, via a mobile device or in a physical store, the value is fairly static. That means that all of your efforts should work together to create a nearly frictionless purchasing environment. That's what customers want, and since it will help drive sales, it should be what you want too. Make buying easy by opening up the walls between different sales paths. Omnichannel efforts can start anywhere and end anywhere. A customer might see an ad on Facebook, the most-used app during the 2017 holiday shopping season, head into a store to see the item in person and finalize their purchase online.
Add In-Store Pickup
By adding a few functions, retailers can cater to this multi-pronged shopping approach. Buy online and pick up in a store is one of the most desirable services you can offer customers. Last year, 50 percent of Internet users picked up a purchase in store, and 40 percent of those bought extra items while in the store. If you don't offer in-store pickup as an option, you are already missing out on a large chunk of possible ecommerce and brick-and-mortar sales. You're also missing out on the opportunity to build flagging foot traffic.
Improving Omnichannel Service
While only 35 percent of retailers offer in-store pickup, the service needs some serious attention. Building online traffic has led to slow shipping times and missed delivery windows. Poorly executed pick-up locations and understaffing can lead to massive lines and headaches when customers go to grab their goodies. Where improved supply lines have dramatically shortened shipping times, customer expectations adjust to match. Your customers expect any purchase started online to complete according to the estimated delivery date and without the hassle of waiting in line for hours. Bring in-store pickup up to the efficiency standards now adopted along the rest of your supply chain, and see an instant boost in customer adoption.
Preparing for 2018
Before the holidays roll around again, make sure your mobile presence matches your sales goals. Streamline buying, so customers can learn about your store and make purchases from anywhere. Advertise the right products to the right customers, through the right channel. Increase your convenience offerings and explore the options of blending ecommerce and brick-and-mortar retail. When done well, you have the opportunity to grow sales quickly.
Onestop Internet brings all the above mentioned services together, putting the tools that power great commerce into the hands of retailers. Economies of scale make the difference between struggling to keep up and confident, sustainable growth in ecommerce. With a vertically integrated partner on their side, organizations can focus on the products and services they know best while reaping all the rewards that come with advanced, international operations.