Black Friday is a Mobile Commerce Holiday

horizontal mobile holidayThis year, mobile traffic will likely exceed 50 percent of all ecommerce traffic during the holidays, and year over year revenue from mobile commerce will continue to grow by the double digits, according to IBM’s Holiday Benchmark Data. It’s important for retailers to realize that Black Friday is not exempt from this shift to mobile commerce.

While much of the Black Friday focus over the past few years has been on brick and mortar door-opening events starting earlier (on Thanksgiving Day), it is the availability of promotions and discounts in the digital space that are truly making a significant year over year impact for retailers. With people using their mobile devices for planning, showrooming, coupon cutting, and just about everything else, you’ll need to make your digital experiences as mobile centric as possible every step of the way if you want to claim your full share of Black Friday’s revenue opportunities.

Critical things to consider in preparation for a mobile commerce-driven Black Friday:

1)    With 50 percent of traffic coming from mobile devices, are you truly optimized to create purchase events from smartphones?

2)    Make sure communications with customers such as email are also optimized to a smartphone environment.

3)    Understand that showrooming is becoming less about research and more about purchasing right from the device, ideally while the shopper is in a competitor’s store.

4)    Present your sales and discounts at an omnichannel basis rather than isolating your best offers to a specific channel.

An example to illustrate the weight of these last two points: a shopper is standing in your competitor’s brick and mortar location and they find an item which you happen to sell for a better price. Before making that purchase, they showroom – or compare in-store prices to what they find online.

If your site reflects that better price, then congratulations, you have just converted a shopper from your competitor’s aisles. But on the other hand, if your best offer is only available in your physical brick-and-mortar shelves 10 miles away, then you have set yourself up for an unnecessary lost opportunity.

Multiply that scenario by the number of shoppers pulling out their phones in your competitor’s stores on Black Friday and it should very quickly become apparent why showrooming is a big reason why Black Friday is becoming a mobile commerce holiday.

Data shows that consumers are starting to shop earlier and from their mobile devices. So, while your customers are at home recovering from their Thanksgiving food comas and pulling out their smartphones and tablets to find the best offers out there, will your site win them over? Will they find coupons that they can easily save and present in store? If they want to spare themselves from the crowds, is it easy for them to check out right then and there from their phones at home (or anywhere for that matter)? What if they end up in a competitor’s brick-and-mortar store showrooming your site? Will that be a competitive advantage or a missed opportunity for you?

If the answers to these questions are less than favorable, sorry. It’s too late to do much of anything now. Except one thing. You can make it your New Year’s resolution to not only deliver better mobile commerce experiences, but also to put your best foot forward in any and all mediums. You’ll reap the reward throughout the year.

Kurt Heinemann is the Chief Marketing Officer of Reflektion.