It’s a boom economy – unemployment is at its lowest rate in half a century, wages are (slowly) rising, and people are feeling confident about spending a little more this holiday season. This has driven retailers into a tizzy, frothing at the mouth for your attention. Their only desire is your desire, making your decision to purchase easier and faster.
“Just click this button and all your cares will disappear. Don’t worry, we have your information. No need for all that. That’s it…just one click, swipe, or tap. There, don’t you feel better? Try it again.”
While all this sounds devious, it’s actually innovation at work, pure competition driven by an explosion in cutting-edge technology. The five days that began on Thanksgiving and culminated on Cyber Monday (known as “The Cyber Five”) will account for approximately 40% of all holiday shopping. Retailers had been preparing for this since last year, studying data, sprucing up their digital offerings and implementing fancy new technology.
We took a look at the coolest things happening in retail from all sides – on your phone, in the store and online. And once you see what’s being thrown at you, you’ll realize resistance is futile.
Mobile Sales Strategies
Across all industries, mobile “buy now” buttons have become the rage. Buy buttons capture consumers where they are and capitalize on the impulsivity of the moment. This holiday season, 39% of shoppers will use “buy now” buttons via mobile devices. Marketing to Millennials? That figure jumps to 57%.
But what if they’re already in the store? Yup, they’ve got you covered. The store maps on both Walmart and Target’s apps switched over to a Black Friday version and showed consumers where to find the physical location of an item in-store, in case a product sold-out online. Each app also includes a barcode scan feature – just scan the tag with your phone (now a pricing gun) and you’ll be taken to the listing online where you can ship to your home.
Another en vogue mobile technology? According to Forbes, 25% of shoppers will use “shoppable photos” this holiday season – those clothes or items you see from your favorite influencer on social media. 42% of Millennials are partial to shoppable photos, preferring mobile over desktop. It’s all about meeting the consumer where they are, and most people nowadays are on their phones. This is the future of retail.
Online Sales Strategies
Brands used to fight the influence of Amazon and try to entice consumers to buy from their own channels. No more. This previous concept (known as “channel cannibalization”) has given way to brands using Amazon as a way to reach a high-volume of consumers, especially during the holidays.
This season we saw the debut of Amazon Assistant, which helps both consumers and brands compete. With Amazon Assistant (and other apps like “CamelCamelCamel”), you are notified whenever an item you’re watching has a price drop. Other plugins like “Honey” automatically find coupon codes from across the internet and apply them at checkout.
Brick-And-Mortar (In-Store) Strategies
This season, it’s all about interoperability – brands are no longer choosing between an online, mobile or in-store experience, they are intertwining all of them. And despite the drumbeat of stories about the death of brick-and-mortar stores, brands know there is still tremendous power having a physical presence for their consumers. Among some of the more creative ways brands are capturing consumer attention in-store this holiday season are:
- Creating a Welcoming Experience
Not everyone is into shopping, so once the consumer is there, make it worth their time. Walmart has begun offering complimentary cups of coffee and cookies to customers while they shop. Other stores include comfy chairs and live TV broadcasts so you don’t miss out on the big game.
- Offering In-Store Only Deals
When looking for a highly-coveted item, most consumers will make the trek to the store to get it. Brands are utilizing social listening tools to find in-demand products and then creating in-store-only deals to increase foot traffic to the physical locations. Smart.
- Making Shopping a FOMO Moment
People have an innate fear of missing out (FOMO) and brands are using this to create special events only available in their stores. Things like selfie walls, celebrity/influencer appearances or special giveaways are all popular methods of getting people out of the house. Also, there’s something about the energy of Black Friday – people oddly want to be a part of the excitement.
- Doing Good for the Community
For all its consumerism, the holidays are also about giving back. Many brands are partnering with local nonprofits and asking consumers to come into their stores to donate unwanted clothing. And while they’re there, hey…maybe a shop a little bit?
These tactics are just scratching the surface, and we haven’t even gotten into artificial intelligence, robots, drones, etc. But there’s no time for that now – we have some shopping to do.