by Hillary Bressler, Founder and CEO, .Com Marketing
In just under 20 years, the Internet has revolutionized the way we shop. Cyber Monday’s historical and record-breaking results, combined with Black Friday 2013’s online shopping behavior, leaves little room for doubt that smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices will change our shopping habits for the next 20 — and likely, forever.
IBM reported that 2013 Black Friday desktop online sales were up 15 percent and mobile traffic increased 34 percent over Black Friday 2012. According to data compiled by Adobe Systems, Inc. prior to the recent Black Friday, 27 percent of all shoppers who did not use a mobile device to shop last year will do so this year. Online shoppers are about twice as likely to shop using a tablet rather than a smart phone, mainly due to the larger screen size.
Accenture predicted that 30 percent of all Black Friday shoppers would shop online. Furthermore, the same survey indicated that 19 percent of all holiday shoppers will use their tablet to shop and 18 percent will use their smart phones. This is up from 15 percent last year and this statistic is expected to grow even more rapidly over the next few years.
The “aha” story behind last weekend’s numbers is not just how much more consumers are shopping online – at desktops and on mobile devices – but how they are they are shopping, utilizing a blend of mobile, desktop and traditional buying behaviors. This trend has spawned several new buzzwords that are joining the vernacular of how consumers are shopping this holiday season:
1. Couch Commerce
This term describes the behavior of a shopper that prefers to do their shopping online from the comfort of their home, i.e. from their own comfortable couch. Smart phone apps make this all the more easy. For example, an app called Retale collects the weekly sale circulars from your favorite retail stores so you can quickly and easily flip through them and compare deals that week.
This term to describes using the Internet to research the details of products (the specs and online reviews, for example) and compare prices among retail outlets available in the area. Once a decision is made, the shopper will then go in person to buy the item(s) to save the shipping cost and/or make sure they’ve made the right choice. In some cases, a shopper may use his or her mobile device right there in the parking lot of the shopping center. According to Accenture, a whopping 65 percent of all online shoppers will webroom this holiday season!
This term describes going to a local retail store to see a product in person but then buying it online instead of the retail store. For some shoppers, this gives them the best of both worlds. They can touch and feel a product in the retail store, and in some cases even try it out, and then shop online for the best rock bottom deal. Many will take a picture of the item so they can look up the details when they do a web search.
According to the Accenture survey, 63 percent of all holiday shoppers will showroom this year. This is up from 56 percent last year. Of course, some retail stores have begun developing methods to lure showroomers to stay and buy the item from their store instead of online. Some stores offer special apps that give targeted deep discounts that can be immediately used. Other stores will match prices to those found online. The ability to show a cashier a deal right on your smart phone makes price matching much easier to navigate.
Further driving the trend are shopping apps, which are beginning to surpass the use of mobile browsers to shop on mobile devices. In fact, 56-60 percent of all those who used a mobile device to shop last year are more likely to use an app instead of a mobile browser this holiday season. This is why most of the big retailers are investing heavily in developing their own apps. Retailers who adapt quickly to the mobile age will be rewarded, as many were last weekend.
Some interesting stats just came out from Pew Internet Research. In looking at these statistics, I am amazed that 91% of American adults have a cell phone. Who are these 9% of people that don’t have one? Are they seniors, low tech people, or people of the back woods? I am so curious and want to know who they are and where they live. I bet they are someone you know. I have to say, that I only know one person that does not have a cell phone. She is in her late 40’s and just does not like technology. She doesn’t own a microwave, or cable TV. She is a purist. I like and admire her, but I am her opposite. Even my eighty-eight year old father has a cell. Granted, it is never turned on, but he has one as I insisted on it for emergencies. My Mom has a cell phone, and she complains the keyboard is too small and punches the number with a pencil to call someone. It is hilarious to watch.
Of these, 56% of American adults have a smartphone. I love my smartphone, and it makes my life go round. My best friend, who is 43, just upgraded to an iPhone yesterday because it was on sale. She is so happy, and now understands why I kept telling her she should upgrade. She is not a first adopter, but is getting there because of me, and of course the sale she could not refuse. Wait until I Facetime her…that will be fun.
Here are some other statistics that are interesting; 28% of cell owners own an Android; 25% own an iPhone; 4% own a Blackberry, and 34% of American adults own a tablet computer. – You can find more at Pew Internet Research- http://www.pewinternet.org/
Web 2.0 is rapidly growing into Web 3.0 and beyond. The Internet is social, smart and personal and those features will only become more prevalent in the future. The technology available for the restaurant and lodging industry makes digital marketing complex but exciting. We now have the ability to reach a more targeted audience on a much deeper level than ever before and it is time you take advantage of these resources. Check out the keynote presentation I recently gave to the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association’s Marketing Summit in Tampa, Florida. Hopefully this will help you get up to speed. If you feel inspired to do so, please leave your questions, concerns, or comments below. Happy Marketing!
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