Apps Dominate Mobile Holiday Shopping

App fatigue, the feeling that a consumer simply cannot add yet another corporate app to her phone at a time when all enterprises seem to be competing for a place on mobile displays, is a major roadblock to successful app-based mobile strategies for retailers. But data from this holiday shopping season suggests that consumers are willing to download apps for the right incentives.

Report: Holiday Shoppers Prioritize Speed in Retail Experience

Among the survey’s most surprising findings is how quickly shoppers are willing to abandon their favorite retailers when those stores don’t have the items they want. Aptos found that 47% of shoppers will start looking elsewhere if their favorite retailer runs out of an item they’re looking for during the so-called Golden Quarter. Additionally, Aptos found that more than half of consumers (60%) say they will abandon their baskets if they find their items for cheaper elsewhere.

How to Thrive on Amazon around the Holidays: Tips and Tricks to Prep this Season

Figuring out how best to fit Amazon into your holiday marketing strategies can be tricky, especially when it comes to balancing the investment between physical locations and the online experience. Some retailers are doing this well and thriving without Amazon (think Glossier, shoe companies Rothy’s and Koio, as well as any number of DTC brands), but many more rely heavily on the site to augment both digital and real-world strategies. So if you’re looking to leverage Amazon to your advantage this holiday season, here are a few tips and best practices for retail success.

Mobile Drives Sales on Black Friday

Data from ShopperTrak showed a 3% decline in traffic at physical stores on Thanksgiving and Black Friday even though sales were up overall. That’s because retailers with strong online shopping programs saw significant gains, with a reported $9.2 billion spent on Cyber Monday alone.

In an analysis of holiday shopping campaigns, the people-based marketing platform LiveIntent found that brands had a “robust” performance on Black Friday weekend. Total conversions during Black Friday weekend stood at 36% higher than that typical time period. Retailers that pushed mobile shopping saw the greatest gains, as LiveIntent’s analysis found that mobile drove the most traffic.

Retail Q5: Secrets to Maximizing Holiday Social Advertising Campaign Impact

The heightened emphasis on shopping during the holidays is a boon for retailers and advertisers, as brands flood all of our social feeds and airwaves with hot deals—not to mention the ever present cadre of e-commerce offerings also trying to break through. Spending on digital ads is also expected to increase as more advertisers shift their efforts to social media over television and print.

Naturally, much of this social media spending will go to Facebook. It can seem difficult, especially for SMB retailers, to break through the noise. But there is hope if you know how to game the system to be able to maximize the impact of your Facebook ads. There is this concept of “Q5,” which refers to the ~15 day period during just before and after the holidays where the lead time on ground shipping makes shopping online difficult. You’ll hear differing definitions on the exact time frame, and there is a regional element, too, as not everyone lives within one- or two-day shipping distances. 

Spa Facial

The Beauty Industry is Prepping for Small Business Saturday – Here’s How

Small Business Saturday is one of the most important events of the year for local beauty and wellness providers. Spas and salons rely on sales of gift cards and beauty products to sustain their businesses during leaner times.

Developed by American Express in the depths of the recession in 2010, Small Business Saturday is placed in the middle of two of the biggest shopping events of the year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. While proportionally fewer sales happen on Small Business Saturday than Black Friday or Cyber Monday, consumer awareness around the annual event is growing.

Valuing Diversity, Gen Z Searches for Tailor-Made Holiday Experiences

Gen Z shoppers, in particular, have more friends with different races, gender identities, and sexualities than previous generations. They are more likely to be influenced by social media stars, who come from a wide variety of backgrounds, than traditional Hollywood celebrities. As a result, members of this generation value diversity more than other generations, and that value influences their purchasing decisions year-around.

“If you look at baby boomers from this lens, they’re far more homogenous. Millennials and Gen Z are the antithesis [of] homogeneity,” Hebets says. “Brands need to understand that millennials and Gen Z don’t want to be put in the traditional box with respect to marketing or otherwise. They want brands to embrace and recognize their diversity.”

Retailers Wooing Holiday Shoppers Try AI On for Size

What if e-commerce retailers could use technology to replicate the role of the in-store sales associate, providing people at home with the type of personal attention that really drives sales?

Technology vendors are working feverishly to make that a reality. Using artificial intelligence and voice assistants, like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and Siri, online retailers are beginning to imagine a world where shoppers can ask their voice companions for recommendations on product fit or gift suggestions in specific price ranges. There may even be a time, not too far in the future, when shoppers can get personal feedback during try-ons inside their own closets, thanks to “smart” mirrors and other virtual reality technology.

Should Small Businesses Participate in Black Friday?

The total amount spent by shoppers on Black Friday in 2018 was $715.5 billion, according to The Balance. What’s even more noteworthy is the average amount spent per shopper, at $1,007.24. This represents an increase of approximately 4.3% over Black Friday 2017 sales. The numbers show that shoppers are ready and willing to spend on Black Friday. So, rather than leaving it to large-scale retailers, if you’re a small business owner, why not consider joining in?

The truth is, you still might be wondering whether the additional time and investment are worth it. Below, we present some pros and cons of participating in Black Friday you may not have considered.

Holiday Discounts Don’t Necessarily Lead to Loyal Customers — Here’s Why

When brands go in on discount-focused events like RetailMeNot’s Cash Back Day, which was held earlier this month, there’s concern that the long-term impact might be negative and that brands might be training customers to expect discounts. That expectation can reduce the perceived value of the brand’s products, and it can diminish brand equity over time.

95% of Consumers Plan on Buying Most Holiday Gifts Online

While brick-and-mortar sales remain a robust part of the holiday shopping experience, online shopping is asserting clearer dominance than ever before this year. A walloping 95% of consumers plan to do the majority of their holiday shopping this season online, according to multi-channel engagement platform Leanplum.

5 Ways to Improve the Customer Experience for Holiday Shoppers

The retail space starts to feel chaotic this time of year, with brands pulling out all the stops to win over holiday shoppers. Amidst all the talk of sales and discounts, retailers this year are looking at integrating new customer experience initiatives designed to bring in first-time shoppers and encourage long-time loyalists to spend even more than usual.

To learn even more about the customer experience strategies retailers are launching this year, we checked in with a few industry experts. Here are their thoughts on the best customer experience strategies retailers are trying out this holiday season.

Which Emerging Social Platforms Will Win Big This Holiday Season?

Retailers looking for an edge this holiday season are testing the waters with newer, emerging social platforms in a bid to generate awareness and market their products to huge audiences of tech-savvy teens and twenty-somethings.

On TikTok, a mobile app for creating and sharing short videos, retailers are poised to connect with a base of more than 500 million users.

5 Innovative Ways to Use AR in Holiday Marketing

A technology that was once considered to be on the fringes of digital marketing has moved into the mainstream, as retailers around the country find new ways to use AR in their 2019 holiday campaigns. From virtual try-ons to camera filters designed to drive people into physical store locations, there’s no limit to the number of ways creative marketers can use AR. Enterprising retailers are capitalizing on the momentum as they come up with smarter ways to help shoppers contextually visualize what products will look like on their bodies and in their homes.

Let’s take a look at how five major companies are using AR for holiday marketing this year.

6 Trends to Watch in Holiday Search Marketing

With fewer than two months to go until Christmas, retailers are already kicking their holiday search marketing tactics into high gear. Holiday sales this year are expected to increase roughly 4% over 2018, according to the National Retail Federation, and consumers are expected to be especially price-conscious. How will the retail industry respond to the changing dynamics in search marketing?

Let’s take a look at some of the biggest trends expected to influence holiday search marketing this year, from tactics for extending the local reach of holiday campaigns and how those tactics convert customers at the point of decision to newer products like Local Inventory Ads, which allows marketers to feed store-level inventory into Google search.

Defining Your Purpose: 4 Ways to Optimize Purpose-Driven Marketing

Ultimately, ensuring the success of purpose-driven campaigns comes down to building meaningful connections using all the technology, data, and creativity at one’s disposal to reach the elusive double bottom line. Here are four tips that can help marketers tap into data and technology to optimize their purpose-driven campaigns:

November Focus: The Holiday Blitz is Here

This year’s holiday shopping season is not new (by definition), but there will be salient differences and revelations this season. The past year has seen lots of retail innovation as the industry looks to counteract the cautionary tales of late-adopting counterparts in the “retailpocolypse” graveyard.

It’s those innovations and integrations that will be exposed when put to the stress test of the holiday shopping blitz. After reading and writing about them in the pages of Street Fight all year, we’ll now get a look at how a lot of these implementations perform (good or bad) with greater shopping scale.