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Black Friday + Cyber Monday = Mobile Bonanza

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday behind us, the impact of mobile devices on online shopping has really taken front and center stage.

Online sales put out record breaking numbers, showing an increase of over 20% compared to 2012. Mobile traffic accounted for 35% of all website visits – an increase of 45% compared to 2012. This surge in mobile traffic and spending is a clear indicator of where and how people are doing their shopping and for those retailers that reached out to the mobile market – this has been a very merry Holiday season so far indeed.

With all that said, 2013 marks the first time since 2009 that there was a decline in overall spending over the Black Friday weekend. While online sales surged, particularly from smartphones and tablet devices, online sales still account for only 14% of the total sales volume from the Back Friday weekend according to the National Retail Foundation.

So… with all the record breaking  mobile shopping going on this holiday season, there is still fantastic opportunity for growth. We cannot stress enough the importance of making sure your marketing efforts are actively reaching out to mobile users and that your website is truly mobile compatible – either via responsive design or through building an actual mobile site. “Mobile friendly” is not going to cut it in today’s market. Whatever the cost of creating your mobile site, judging by current holiday shopping trends, the cost of not having one will be significantly higher.

Your checkout process is a crucial part of your shopper’s experience. Let’s not forget that on a smartphone, you can be dealing with a 4 inch screen – not an ideal size for filling out forms, so when they say “K.I.S.S.” (keep it simple, stupid) there is some real merit to that line of thinking. This bears out in the difference between purchases between tablets and mobile devices. According to IBM, smartphones drove more traffic than tablets (19.7% vs 11.5%), while tablets actually generated nearly twice the sales volume (11.7% vs. 5.5%). Coindicence? We think not. That checkout process remains one of the most user unfriendly part of most mobile websites for small screens. Tablets, with their larger screen sizes, make this part of the process much easier, resulting in more converted sales on tablets.

Images are a great tool for email marketing efforts, but bear in mind that on that same 4 inch screen, that graphic may not display well and your message may be lost. Use clear blocks of text and links when reaching out to mobile users via email, and as obvious as this may seem, remember to put your phone number there. With the functionality of smartphones allowing for easy tapping (or clicking) on a number to make a call – make sure to take advantage of this.

Mobile devices are frequently used by shoppers to look up pricing and product details on the go, often in response to something your potential shopper has “just seen”. What they find or do not find on your site will determine if they stick around long enough to make their purchase. Shoppers expect to have access to all product data, including high quality photos and technical specifications all one spot. Missing data? Don’t expect a shopper to stick around. Make sure your product catalog is up to date and your pricing is reflective of real-time market conditions to take home your share of Holiday cheer.

Arie Shpanya

Arie is the former COO, Executive Chairman, and Co-Founder of Wiser, a dynamic pricing and merchandising engine for online retailers and brands. He has extensive experience in business development with a focus on eCommerce (eBay and Amazon), and is a guest blogger on Econsultancy, VentureBeat, and more.

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