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Cutting Through the Consumer Data Clutter This Holiday Season

  |  December 5, 2013   |  Comments

We've seen a very impressive start to the holiday shopping season, especially for digital, despite this shortened shopping season. That doesn't mean retailers should take their foot off the gas.

shutterstock-153160190Consumers didn't let the fact that there was one less week between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year stop them from filling their online shopping carts.

Shoppers made up for the truncated shopping season from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday by pulling out their wallets in full force, something that must be taken into account when you review your business metrics. Retailers should see tremendous lift from now until Christmas, and the good news is that, so far, we are.

Smartphones and tablets have surged ahead as the shopping devices of choice for consumers, according to analysis of more than 150 leading ecommerce websites, comprising more than 165 million sessions. Here are some other highlights.

Smartphones and Tablets: Ecommerce Equals

We've seen big gains in key performance indicators for both smartphones and tablet devices. Let's break it out by metric to start to understand the performance:

  • Traffic: The year-over-year numbers have soared with smartphone traffic jumping approximately 60 percent and tablets up more than 80 percent. Interestingly, traffic share is being cannibalized directly from desktops and laptops, which is down about 6 percent.
  • Revenue: Traffic gains are great, but the Holy Grail is revenue, and here the numbers deliver. Tablet revenue increased 170 percent compared to last year, while smartphone revenue shot up nearly 110 percent.
  • Average Order Value (AOV): The AOV for tablets comes in at $166.71, very similar to the AOV from traditional desktops and laptops ($165.17), which shows that consumer habits are starting to align across devices. But AOV for smartphones falls short at $134.40, perhaps an indication that smartphones are not the device of choice for a "considered purchase," like a new television or another item that may require some research.
  • Conversion Rate: Conversion rates from smartphone users are improving, with a jump of 34 percent from last year. Tablets (26 percent) and traditional computers (32 percent) increased as well. When you add in the traffic increases for smartphones and tablets, you can see that this season is the tipping point for smartphones and tablets in ecommerce. 

Why are mobile phones and tablets the devices du jour?

Consumers are becoming more comfortable, whether shopping from their smartphone, which they are tethered to all day, or their tablet-their go-to device at home. Retailers have also become better at converting shoppers-and enhancing the website experience-on these devices, a win-win for both consumers and retailers.

Winning on Email

The one black eye on marketing statistics so far this holiday season is email.

Traffic and revenue from email are down considerably from last year, with traffic plummeting 37 percent and revenue sliding 21 percent. Just about every other channel is outperforming last year.

Email marketers will need to take a hard look at what they are doing and more importantly what they need to do to counteract this performance. Sending more of the same email isn't going to change this trend. The solution: Send relevant email.

The email that consumers opened led to higher conversions, 24 percent higher. That means those retailers that did a good job and got through the clutter were rewarded.

‘Tis the Social Media Season

For the past couple of holiday seasons, social media has been seen as a money pit when it comes to marketing. In fact, many have been writing the epitaph for social marketing for years. But so far this season, both traffic and revenue are up.

Social experiences are now at the forefront of mobile usage because of social's ability to deliver a better user experience. Only time will tell whether this trend is here to stay, but many are betting that it is.

Ready, Set, Shop

We've seen a very impressive start to the holiday shopping season, especially for digital, despite this shortened shopping season. That doesn't mean retailers should take their foot off the gas.

Instead, see what you can do to pivot your programs where possible. At the top of my recommendation list: Look closely at your mobile website experience on both mobile phones and tablets to see how you can increase efficacy and the overall experience. And don't underestimate the importance of email. Make sure you are sending smarter email for the remainder of the season.

Holiday 2013 is already in full swing so get out there and make the most of it!

Title image courtesy of Shutterstock

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nathan Richter

Nathan Richter is the global director of client solutions at Monetate, where he advises top enterprise clients on website optimization. A veteran of digital marketing and online retailing, Richter has extensive hands-on experience helping enterprise clients implement successful multichannel marketing campaigns. Richter has directed online marketing and site optimization programs for David's Bridal, QVC, The Franklin Mint, and dELiA's.

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