Smartphones and tablets make holiday shopping simple and quick in the midst of the chaos of the season. With mobile purchases revenue expected to be 50% of eCommerce revenue by the end of 2017, mobile commerce is a gold mine for retailers to dig through.
With that in mind, here are five-holiday shopping trends to watch for this Christmas season.
Google Image Search Results Push Buyers To Your Site
When shoppers search for something they want, Google Images provides search results in a carousel of images at the top of the results page.
Clicking these images sends buyers to your site. Google did this not only to compete with Amazon but also because image search results show up best for search partners. This extends the reach of your shopping campaigns beyond Google Search.
Your impressions will skyrocket, and your budget will be used up quicker.
Site to Store Pick Up Service
One major reason brick and mortar retail still wins is the lack of patience. Consumers want to have what they just bought right now and not wait 5-8 days for UPS to show up. On top of that, Adweek.com found 41% of those surveyed agree shipping costs are too high.
Wal-Mart and Best Buy connect their online buying experiences to offline store visits with free shipping. This saves the consumer money. It alleviates the nervousness around worrying if the product will be damaged in shipment, and it notifies the consumer upon delivery making the process convenient. Additionally, it gets the buyer back into the store for another potential purchase.
More Ways To Connect To Your Customer
Omni-channel shoppers tend to buy more and buy more in-store, but only if retailers understand the shopping behavior of the customers. Sears found that every dollar invested online led to eight dollars of in-store sales when they provided an image, price, and location details in mobile search results. This is all because of local inventory ads (LIA) and targeted search results. Office Depot improved the customer experience and gained a 3X return on marketing spend with LIAs.
Mobile Is The New Personal Assistant
Thanks to WiFi and mobile data plans, customers turn to their phones for answers to anything and everything. This means buyers can be more informed than your staff might be about their own products. Is that the customer experience you want to portray? Of the executives surveyed by Smartinsights.com, 89% believe customer experience is their primary mode of competition this year.
Leverage this trend by putting QR codes on product tags and letting in-store customers scan them for product reviews and feedback. Sephora did this and created a complete customer experience driving in-store sales.
Local Inventory Ads Complete The Loop
Local inventory ads help increase your in-store visits by solving the immediacy issue for buyers. Google knows ads that show local inventory, drive shoppers to stores. Consumers are hungrier than ever for local information with "near me" searches growing 2.4X year-over-year. Google found that 50% of search for local product details led to in-store visits within one day. Additionally, 18% of those visits led to a purchase. All this means targeted LIAs reach customers nearby.
What To Do Right Now?
There are a few things retailers can do right now to capitalize on these five trends.
Optimize your main website for mobile interaction.
Include a request to activate the phone's GPS for better targeting. Eliminate pop-up ads when the site is viewed from a mobile device. Don't ask for a bunch of information from mobile searchers. Consumers hate having to type stuff into their phone. Fingers are big and bulky, and phone screens are small and finicky.
Support multi-channel marketing within your organization from top to bottom.
Have solid measurements and a good infrastructure to handle the amount of data received. Provide an incentive for buyers to give up their contact info so you can interact and begin building rapport. Google knows multichannel shoppers spend more, and that's what you want.
Create an in-store experience that buyers will enjoy and connects with the effort you put into designing a great online portal. Safelite Auto Glass puts pictures of its staff on their mobile app so customers know whom to expect. Put a picture of the manager on duty or department head on your website or mobile app along with contact information so customers know to look for a face. Allow buyers to send email questions to staff that can be answered online. Staff can then invite the customer in for a product demo. The email contact is setting up a warm lead for your sales staff. Chat bots are a great way to build a conversation that can make the in-store sales experience more successful for the potential buyer.