Interesting communication from Hubspot today about Marketing and online shopping behaviour over the holiday season. I'm assuming this will all apply to the US population but it will certainly have some similarities to the behaviour of UK consumers.
Where do consumers do their research?
According to research by Catalog Spree, 74% of shoppers search online to get ideas for their holiday wish lists and the National Retail Federation say that 52% of consumers plan to do all their holiday shopping online this year with online shoppers expected to grow from 137 million in 2010 to 175 million in 2016.
53% of smartphone owners and 64% of tablet owners will use their devices to research and make holiday purchases and 4 out of 5 shoppers will use these devices simultaneously - and yet many websites do not have mobile friendly landing pages. Too much squinting and fiddling will send a potential customer elsewhere. Business owners need to be looking at developing websites which are responsive to the different sizes of screen that will be viewing them.
Stats from Ipsos Mediact and Google showed that:
44% research online and buy products online
51% research online and visit stores to purchase
32% research online, visit the store to view the product and then buy it online
This latter figure is borne out by the experiences of a friend who had a local shop and was a victim of this last type of consumer - those who will do everything they can to save a few pennies and who are the bugbear of many local establishments. She even had people who, having bought online, then tried to return their purchases to her when there was a problem!
Where does Social Media fit into holiday shopping?
44% of shoppers have bought a product they've seen shared on social media according to Steelhouse & Instant.ly and, of those shoppers, 85% found that item on Facebook.
27% of consumers will turn to social media sites before buying gifts this Christmas and two thirds of online shoppers will look at customer reviews and ratings when researching a purchase or the retailer of various products.
This year, the big new platform is Pinterest - especially for those with very visual products. 71% of marketers will invest in their Pinterest boards over Christmas against only 30% in 2011.
Shop.org says that 81% of retailers will use Facebook to alert shoppers about in-store deals and offers - up from 73% last year.
Experian says that 36% of marketers plan to incorporate social sharing into their customers' Christmas shopping experience. And, over the holiday season, 90% will increase their marketing spend on Facebook, 75% for Twitter and 67% for Pinterest.
As a business, you need to be sharing your best products and deals on social media.
How Can I Use My Website Over The Holiday Season?
27& of shoppers will follow retailers' websites to get the latest holiday announcements and many admit to buying through the recommendation of a blogger.
Experian report that 84% of marketers will invest in a mobile optimised website this holiday seas vs 57% in 2011 and this is because, as was seen in the earlier stats, people are using their mobile devices to research and to purchase.
However, despite the fact that Shop org have discovered that more than 42% of retailers say percentage off coupons for the entire site were amongst the online strategies which pulled in the most customers during the 2011 holidays, only 50% of retailers will actually use the real estate of their home page message as an opportunity to get the word out about in store offers. Calls to Action have to be front and forward where they can be seen and acted upon. You need to make people understand why your business is the best place to make a purchase and, as has been seen, discounts and offers are the key to consumers making that decision.
You also need to make sure that your product pages come up when people look online for them - optimisation for search is key.