Online Marketplaces Drive Big Changes

Now is the time to quickly implement your holidays 2016 promotional planning strategies. Amazon Prime Day, held in July, changed shopping patterns this year. They motivated consumers to shop often and early to get the best deal for the latest products.

Other big retailers have been following Amazon’s lead by launching early holiday promotions as well. The Amazon strategy has also caused retailers to use online marketplaces, such as Amazon, eBay and others to sell their products, rather than just selling directly on their sites.

Embrace The OmniShopper

OmniShoppers use multiple devices in their shopping experience

OmniShoppers use multiple devices in their shopping experience

According to a MasterCard report, eight out of 10 consumers globally are OmniShoppers using a computer, smart phone, tablet or in-store technology in their shopping experience. These OmniShoppers can now discover a wider variety of products to compare against, and to understand the choices available to them.

High-value promotional offers attract attention and cause shoppers to take pause and make a purchase. During the 2015 holiday shopping season online-only sales, limited time offers, and free shipping were the most successful promotions. Capturing shoppers with a promotional offer that’s too good to pass up often gets the job of an immediate purchase action done.

Black Friday OmniShopper Expansion

Black Friday 2016 is the day following Thanksgiving in the USA. The term was created because it is the day many retailers move from being in the red to being in the black, turning a profit for the first time for the year.

Brick & Mortar saw a 10% decline and Online increased 16.2% in 2015

Brick & Mortar saw a 10% decline and Online increased 16.2% in 2015

People enjoy going to a brick-and-mortar location for the enjoyment of the shopping experience, better inventory levels and for social interaction.

Last year, however, saw a shift with more shoppers choosing to abandon their need to visit a physical location, to shop from home instead. In 2015 there was a marked shift in Black Friday shopping patterns. Brick-and-mortar saw a 10.4% decrease in revenues during the entire Black Friday weekend, while online sales for the same weekend were up 16.2% over prior year.

With the shift to OmniShopping becoming the norm, your in-store promotions need to be honored online. The entire experience for all channels needs to be seamless, with hassle free shipping and returns.

Cyber Monday Madness

Cyber Monday is the Monday following the Thanksgiving holiday in the USA. The 2015 Cyber Monday was the biggest day in online shopping history, with revenues up 16.4% over prior year. Predictions for this year indicate an increase of 16% by eMarketer to 11% by NetElexir. Either way, prospects look great, and you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity.

Digital Devices Play 80% In The Path To Purchase

According to a MasterCard survey, ‘digital devices play a part in 80% of all paths to purchase. It is the new shopping ecosystem that we all need to embrace.’

For millennials social media is a primary source to learn about products & promotions

For millennials, social media is a primary source to learn about products & promotions

Social Media will continue to play a role in the holiday shopping journey. More retailers are looking into adopting social selling platforms such as Facebook’s Soldsi (selling through comments) and Instagram’s Like2Buy (user-generated shopper galleries). Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest all released Buy Buttons last year, and it is expected that social networks will continue investing in social commerce.

OmniShoppers use social networks to discover and talk about products, and retailers have been investing in more social media resources. Millennials, in particular, are connected to social media and use it as a primary source to learn about products, special promotions and shopping news. To effectively target this segment, retailers need to integrate digital media and promotions with their traditional media, or replace it altogether if millennials are the primary target.

The Smartphone Phenomenon

Mobile device, or Smartphone, use is expected to grow during the holiday shopping season. In 2015 mobile traffic devices accounted for 49.9% of all online holiday shopping traffic, an increase of 16.3% from prior year. Among millennials, 89% use their mobile device to connect and they are routinely comparison-shopping on mobile to get the best value.

Email and Computers are Still Most Effective

Email is still an effective way to reach consumers, and should not be overlooked. While there is a shift to social media and mobile devices to find information, email is an effective way to stay connected with your customers and to offer them exclusive promotions and deals.

In 2015 email generated 25.1% of all online orders. While these percentages may decrease in 2016, email is still one of the best ways to motivate customers to purchase action using sales promotional offers.

In 2015 the average transaction size from computers were higher than mobile and in-store

In 2015 the average transaction size from computers were higher than mobile and in-store

In the 2015 holiday shopping season the average transaction size from computers was higher than mobile and in-store transactions. This indicates that consumers may look at social media advice, shop around at brick-and-mortar, and look at other resources to find deals. When it comes to making the holiday purchase the bulk is done on a computer.

Free and paid search followed email marketing in generating online orders. In 2015 they generated 21.1% and 13.5% of orders respectively. For the fourth quarter of 2015 mobile devices accounted for 39% of paid search traffic and smartphone click volume rose 48% over prior year, according to Merkle RKG digital marketing report. As trends change new strategies are needed to reach consumers where they are, on the devices they prefer to use, to engage with you.

Things The Holidays Shopper Value Most

The MasterCard study found that ‘in choosing a retailer, Omnishoppers prioritize value, track record and convenience, over loyalty rewards and promotions.’ In 2015 there was a surge in off-price store openings. Nordstrom Rack, Macy’s Backstage, and Sacks Off Fifth are examples of how consumers love combing the value they can get from a retailer they trust.

Traditional retailers have been restructuring their organizations to meet the changing shopping patterns. Your sales promotions 2016 strategy should incorporate value using offers such as discount coupons, free shipping, and gift card with purchase types of offers.  Make them limited time offers or exclusive online-only buy now deals to create an immediate purchase action.

Selling through the online marketplace will catapult your products to a larger audience and improve your brand’s perception. This is a good strategy to improve the ‘track record category’ for new to the market or lesser-known retailers.

We Live in Exciting Times For Retail

For the Holidays 2016 Promotional Planning season TECH will influence the shopping and buying experience in more ways than ever before Be sure to quickly prioritize your online and emerging channels strategies to take advantage of the massive shift that is occurring in retail. Going from red to black means being aware of, and implementing, smart tech strategies. Use aggressive promotions that add significant value to achieve purchase action.

Kevin Danaher

Kevin’s career spans over 30 years where he worked for New York Sales Promotion and Advertising agencies such as Ventura Associates, and BBDO developing promotional campaigns for some of the world’s leading brands including VISA, General Electric, Kraft/General Foods, Fidelity Investments, and Chrysler. Read More