Tis the season to head into your favorite stores for Black Friday shopping – or is it? Unlike previous years, consumers are now leaning towards the new trend of online shopping. With convenience being at the top of many consumers’ list, shopping online is easier than ever. Consumers no longer need to cut Thanksgiving dinner short and rush out into local stores to purchase their holiday items. Instead, it is predicted that online sales will exceed in-store sales for the first time in history. Now, people can relax and enjoy quality time with the family instead of rushing to the store before the items are sold out.
There are some key conveniences that are driving consumers to switch to online shopping this year. The top attributes include the ease of being able to search for products quickly, as well as the variety of products that can be readily available online, the delivery options available to avoid transferring large items home, and of course, the price matching that can be easily conducted. All of this can be done from the comfort of your home in an efficient and effective manner, avoiding the headache of venturing out into the crowds.
Adobe is forecasting online sales to reach $107.4 billion this holiday season, which is an increase of 13.8% year-over-year. Furthermore, they are predicting this year to be the biggest Cyber Monday in history with an estimated $6.6 billion in sales, a 16.5% increase year-over-year. Companies such as Amazon, are expected to prosper during this time, as they have extensively built out their online business. However, many brick-and-mortar stores may not be so jolly this season, as they struggle to keep up with the digital trend. Department stores, such as Macy’s and Sears, are no longer the top place to shop. In fact, according to the Deloitte study, only 28% of consumers stated department stores would be their first choice (down 4% from last year).
So what can marketers do to ensure online success? One thing is to be sure mobile performance is stronger than ever. Consumers rely heavily on their mobile devices to quickly look up information on certain products as well as compare prices between various locations. According to Forbes.com, 60% of shoppers use their phones to do just that. That being said, performance needs to be running smoothly. Patience runs thin when it comes to things such as website time-loads, and causing frustration will not give consumers the convenience they were expecting. It only takes a few seconds for consumers to lose interest in a site and move onto another site that is showing better performance.
What will you be doing this holiday season? Will you look to the internet to make most of your purchases or do you find joy and excitement in rushing to the brick-and-mortar stores to scope out the best deals?