How to Win at Mobile This Holiday Season

It came as no surprise that traffic from tap devices – phones and tablets – was way up this holiday season. What was surprising was when it happened and that shoppers shifted from browsing on phones to buying. Clearly, it’s hip to be tap. So now what?

Here are my three learnings from Cyber Week 2014, along with a few ideas on how you can win during the remaining days of the holiday shopping season.

Going window shopping… from your phone

Phones garnered their highest share of traffic at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Think about this, once we set our plate aside, we stepped away, walked (or rolled, more accurately) over to the couch, pulled out our phones and started to shop.

However, usage of site search was lower than typical, and, bounce rate was higher. Together, this says that shoppers are window shopping and are less apt to dwell (or wait) on a particular site. Understanding this consumer behavior presents a great opportunity for retailers to take advantage of a key shopping moment. Here’s how:

  • Email Marketing: Quite simply, time your email campaign to reach in-boxes at or near the peak hour; for Thanksgiving, that would be 5 p.m. But don’t overlook the basics – since shoppers will be on phones, ensure you deliver a phone-friendly design with a strong subject line and clear call to action above the fold.
  • Affiliate marketing: Is also bustling with shoppers looking for deals. Is your offer compelling? This is a great place to use an offer you’ve previously tested – does $ off or % off work for you? Free Shipping? BOGO?
  • Flash Sales: Consider timing your promotion or flash sale to occur during optimal browse-times. Using Thanksgiving as an example, providing a limited time offer between 4-7 p.m. could help lure and retain shoppers.
  • Make your window pop: Does your window draw in shoppers? Though Thanksgiving browsing behavior illustrated a higher bounce rate on the phone, the reality is that shoppers are impatient. Knowing that tap devices are increasingly being used to research and make a purchase, shape your window messaging appropriately. Is the call to action clear and present? Is the offer (whether discount or not) compelling? One tip: think in lists, like top shopping deals, best sellers, editor’s picks and highest rated products.

2. The computer should not be forgotten

While tap device visit share continues its meteoric rise, Cyber Monday bucks the trends, as shoppers choose computers more than usual. Clearly, shoppers are actively shopping, which provides retailers with a more captive ‘shopping’ audience. With the wider screen format, consider highlighting your merchandising tools, like guided selling applications and advanced search refinements.

3. Buying is happening on Phones… AND Tablets… AND Computers

While we’re all aware that shoppers are picking up their phones more frequently, we saw stronger conversion rates on phones during Cyber Week. And this activity isn’t showing any sign of slowing down. Remember that shoppers will buy where they want and even when they want. As a retailer, it’s critical that you ensure the shopping experience is smooth across every device. Some advice: make sure the shopper can get back to that basket she started a few weeks ago, regardless of how she may choose to access it – whether it’s through her phone where she started or picking things up from her desktop. And bonus points for those retailers that allow shoppers to email a basket to family, friends or just yourself!

A great and successful holiday shopping season requires so many things. The data tells a clear story though: serve your shoppers when and how they want, and you’ll find your brand is in a position to win during the most wonderful time of the year.

Rick Kenney, Industry Principal, Intelligence and Innovation, Demandware

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