For retailers, holiday season preparations are in full swing, making now the time to look back at what happened last year and what it taught us. The top three key trends reported in the wake of Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) 2017 include:
So, what are the implications of this as we all make inventory and promotion plans for 2018?
The first and perhaps the most actionable trend is the move to mobile devices by online shoppers. Retailers must have a mobile strategy that moves beyond just a responsive site. Retailers must optimize experiences for mobile shoppers using a mobile-first website or custom app. This may mean we’ll see more retailers move to Progressive Web Apps prior to BFCM. Yes, optimizing for mobile may make the PC-browser shopping experiences something of an afterthought. But, shoppers won’t be coming back to PCs, and there are now tools that minimize the development differences between the mobile and PC platforms.
To further endorse investing in mobile, remember that Google started moving to mobile-first indexing in March. So, from a pure SEO perspective, optimizing your sites for mobile users is just sensible.
The second issue that needs to be addressed is the gap between the growth in mobile shoppers and actual mobile transactions. Adobe reported that mobile devices made up 47% of online shopping visits but only 27% of purchases during the 2017 holiday shopping period.
The browser/buyer gap highlighted by Adobe indicates we still have a lot to learn about converting mobile shoppers, but there are some lessons from the desktop world that apply, just more so because of the screen-real-estate challenge. Getting your mobile search functionality right for the 2018 BFCM shopping season really matters.
With these trends in mind, how should a thoughtful practitioner prepare for Black Friday Cyber Monday 2018? SLI Systems’ Customer Success Managers spend every day looking at retail sites and have developed the following three recommendations for 2018.
One final point on the trends we saw last year. Because the BFCM shopping season is no longer two discrete shopping days but a four-day window in which promotions will either succeed or fail, world-class merchandisers are placing more emphasis on monitoring shopper behavior as it happens and adapting pricing and promotions as necessary.
Without extremely robust reporting and merchandising tools, you may find yourself in a position of not “seeing” what’s happening on your store until it’s too late to respond in any meaningful way.
For more on how to be ready for BFCM, check out our e-book E-commerce Merchandising: The Ultimate Guide to the Newest Techniques.