My company recently conducted a survey of 1,000 U.S. shoppers and found that consumers are gearing up to do their holiday shopping from home. Over 95% of the survey takers said they plan to do over half of their holiday shopping online. In addition, according to a report published by Salesforce (via Inc.), online holiday sales are expected to rise by 13% compared to 2018, totaling $136 billion. For companies with well-structured online and mobile marketing operations, the holiday cheer looks good for the foreseeable future.
There’s a strong generational trend in preference for online shopping. While only 45% of baby boomers reported that they shop online, the percentage rises to 58% for Gen Xers, 70% for millennials and 77% for Gen Zers. We noticed some differences in the shopping habits of millennials and Gen Zers compared to other demographics, as more than 15% of them will only shop online during the holiday season.
Unwrapping a holiday gift for mobile marketers.
Marketers can reap the full benefits of this trend by embracing mobile engagement. As more and more people are using their mobile devices to shop (80%, according to our survey), it’s important for brands to engage with their customers in a timely manner.
Email is central to the mobile experience and a powerful engine of customer engagement, as I pointed out in a previous post. Our survey revealed another startling positive/negative dichotomy. While three-quarters of respondents said that generic messages from retailers annoy or bother them, almost the same percentage — 74% — said they were “excited” to receive emails from retailers about deals and/or promotions.
It’s hard to imagine a more telling pair of stats for mobile marketers. These results neatly encapsulate the resistance to traditional batch-and-blast messaging on the one hand and the power of relevant, personalized communication to push past that resistance on the other.
It’s interesting to note that consumers are so devoted to securing discounts that they are likely to open emails that may contain them. Retailers can utilize these messages as vehicles to send personalized alerts, announcements and news that would otherwise go unnoticed. The inclination toward obtaining deals is a driving factor in consumer behavior and a clear motivator when it comes to being open to communication from brands.
Other survey questions probed deeper into the dynamics of deal-based email strategies. We found that:
• Regardless of demographic or socioeconomic status, sales are the most common reason consumers are attracted to communications from retail brands and are likely to finalize a purchase.
• 65% of survey takers say they open notifications from brands because they want to be informed about sales deals.
• Higher-income earners (more than $150,000) welcome and get excited about receiving push communications from brands.
• Over 45% of consumers in our survey indicated that receiving a product update through an app or via email has led to a purchase.
• The younger generations, millennials and Gen Zers, prefer to shop on Cyber Monday and Black Friday as opposed to over one-third of Gen Xers and baby boomers.
With e-commerce, discounting is a powerful lever. However, without thought, it could easily lead to cannibalized revenue. Modern marketers use data-driven techniques to determine the optimal time and amount for sales. They also use holdback groups in order to measure the true incremental revenue from their campaigns instead of just counting conversions.
It all starts with understanding the customer’s buying journey. Our research shows that applying discounts furthest into the purchasing funnel, during cart abandonment, yields the most incremental revenue for e-commerce brands. Using inventory triggers such as “almost out of stock” or “back in stock” are a great way to bring someone back to complete their checkout. But don’t take our word for it. Finding the optimal timing, amount, trigger and channel for the sale are great ideas for A/B tests.
With the holidays upon us, these results offer some festive food for thought. Even better, they strongly suggest a way that marketers can spread the holiday joy throughout the year.