5 eCommerce Trends For the 2015 Holiday Season
A retailer’s work is never done. And that’s never more true than when it comes to the holiday season. With so much at stake – almost 20% of the industry’s sales occur in those last few weeks of the year – it’s no wonder that so much planning starts so early.
As you begin to prepare for the Holiday 2015 season, LYONSCG wants to share five trends that will be important in driving sales growth this year.
- Mobile: In 2014, comScore reports mobile commerce jumped 28% to $31.6B, outpacing desktop which grew by 13% to $236.9B
- Branded Shopping Days: Nearly 3/4 of Cyber Monday shoppers visited stores less because did so much shopping on Cyber Monday
- Search: The top search marketing trend to watch in 2015 is the continued shift to mobile1
- Email Marketing: Mobile revenue made up 20% of all email-generated revenue, growing by a third in one year2
- Social Media: Paid social leads to 25% more conversion than organic social3
So that you can take full advantage of these eCommerce trends, let’s look at some highlights to get you started on a successful 2015 holiday season.
Branding Brands monthly mobile commerce index showed that compared to March 2014, smartphone’s March 2015 share of total online revenue increased 56%4.. To get the most out of your mobile marketing, consider:
- Analytics: Pay attention to the proportion of visits on mobile devices, and make sure site content and performance is optimized for the specific mobile devices your visits are using. Also be mindful of how this visitor subset navigates your site compared to a desktop users, and if there are any optimizations that could better their experience.
- Geo-location: Take advantage of geo-location to include a “check stock” function so a mobile user looking for a specific item at a store near them can quickly see if it’s available.
- Site search: Optimize internal search for misspellings, related terms, synonyms and hypernyms5. One of our clients realized a $1M increase in sales over a four-month period after optimizing site search.
Branded Shopping Days
While combined sales in 2014 accounted for only 9.5% of eCommerce revenue, Forrester research on consumer sentiment and retailer promotions for Cyber Monday showed “ubiquitous free shipping offers, aggressive email marketing, and an effective mobile presence” are three keys to increased sales.6
Consumers are already conditioned to expect special sales on branded shopping days. So why not use this to your advantage? You can “manipulate” traffic, and increase transactions at slow periods in the day through flash sales.
The holiday season starts earlier each year. When planning, you should use October 1st as the kick-off date for the shopping season. To be ready in time, you should start planning what keywords you want to optimize for around May or June. It’ll take around two months to prepare and test pages; and about another three months for Google (and other search engines) to index your site.
Another area to pay attention to that will deliver extra pay-offs with mobile is local search. Almost a year old, Google’s local search combines standard search and map results, giving preference to nearby stores. You’ll need to build out individual pages for each store with relevant information on store hours, phone number, location, directions and other relevant information.
Many people prefer visuals. They want to see pictures of an item for inspiration, and then locate where to make a purchase. Make sure your Google feed has great pictures and all the information needed for display.
Personalization is taking a huge leap forward. With so many emails being opened on mobile devices, there’s more emphasis on understanding the context in which the recipient is interacting with the email.
Emails can now be built with elements that change in real-time per available data (shopper info, recipient’s time, location, device, weather, and social context). The ability to serve dynamic content in the same email helps boost relevance, which will drive more click-throughs.
The big news in social media is pay-to-play. Starting this past January, Facebook started pushing paid social media marketing. Other social platforms such as Pinterest and Polyvore which now offer CPC models, are quickly climbing on the bandwagon in the search for new revenue streams. The trend will only continue. To have your brand stand out, you might want to look into becoming an early adopter.
Video will be the dominant content format for social because they are so highly shareable. Tutorials and other informative videos are more relevant to your customers than a recycled commercial. Social networks will give extra exposure to videos uploaded to their platform because they keep users on their sites longer.
Our recommendations aren’t just for the holiday season – smart companies should be employing these marketing strategies year-round. That way you can continuously build on the momentum you create as well as have a steady stream of feedback and analytics that allow you to fine tune your efforts.