Black Friday Sales and Cyber Monday Deals: Consumer Trends in Online Shopping

Consumer Online Shopping with Mobile Device: Black Friday and Cyber Monday Smartphone ShoppingWhile less than 20 percent of people say they shop on Black Friday, for the second year some retailers will start ‘Black Friday’ sales on Thanksgiving night. Not to be outdone, Cyber Monday is expected to once again be the largest online shopping day of the year, according to ComScore. Overall, retailers with ecommerce expect more than half of their holiday sales to come from online and mobile – and Forrester estimates a 15 percent online sales increase over last year’s holiday shopping season.

More than ever, consumers will integrate variety of devices into their holiday shopping – so much so that Google is calling this the first “nonline” shopping season, as more shoppers do not see a divide between online and offline shopping.  As displayed in the results below, Google found “shoppers turn to different platforms at different stages in the buying cycle”:

  • 51 percent research online and visit store to purchase
  • 44 percent research online and buy products online
  • 32 percent research online, visit store to view product, then return
  • 17 percent visit a store first, and then purchase online (a.k.a. “showrooming”)

Yes, consumers are using computers at home to search for deals, but more are also using smartphones and tablets to locate stores, look up coupons, read reviews and complete purchases. One of the most common practices of mobile users is comparing prices.

To help with holiday shopping, Google launched enhanced Google Maps for Android mobile devices, which include floor plans of stores and maps of malls with route suggestions on how to navigate from one store to another. Enhancing the online shopping experience, Google has integrated Social Reviews, as well as Shortlists, Promotions and a 360-degree view of many toys.

Many retailers are doing what they can to keep up with changing consumer trends. Companies should not only be improving their overall online strategies and offerings, but also enhancing mobile sites and mobile efforts, especially during the holiday season. Crafty loyalty programs, mobile apps, mobile-friendly coupons and even offers on deal-of-the-day websites can help consumers on the go. To combat “showrooming” (visiting the store, then purchasing online), some retailers have implemented online price-matching programs, which can be critical in keeping a sale.

In short, retailers need to be prepared for “nonline” shopping and offer consumers a maximized shopping experience across multiple touchpoints.

All of us at DVL wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and stress-free holiday shopping!

RELATED ARTICLE: Cyber Monday Boosted By Social – and Mobile – Media

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Blogger Outreach: Engaging With Online Brand Influencers and Advocates

PRadICAL: Blog megaphone

When Peter Merholz coined the term “blog,” (breaking up Jorn Barger’s word “weblog into “we blog”), it’s doubtful he could’ve imagined how the online platform would grow into what it is today. The number of blogs and people using blogs continues to grow at a staggering pace (about 181 million blogs globally, according NM Incite, a Nielsen/McKinsey company).

As the digital age rises, so does the consumption of – and trust in – digital-born entities, such as Huffington Post, TripAdvisor, Amazon, Yelp and self-made influential bloggers. Blogs come in all shapes and sizes. People like The Pioneer Woman, Perez Hilton and Seth Godin blog about entirely different topics, but have each amassed followers in the multi-millions.

More and more, people are going to blogs to find recommendations. As we know, stats can vary, but a recent Nielsen study revealed, “Online consumer reviews are the second most trusted source of brand information and messaging, with 70 percent of global consumers surveyed online indicating they trust messages on this platform, an increase of 15 percent in four years.” These reviews don’t just come from traditional review websites, but from influential blogs as well (many of them run by moms). NM Incite found that about 33 percent of bloggers are moms; 52 percent are parents with kids under 18.

In March, AdWeek.com reported on a BlogHer study that found, of those who indicated they use social media:

“81 percent of women representing the general U.S. population said they trusted blogs and Pinterest…”
– and –
“61 percent said they’d acted on a blog recommendation and 47 percent said they’d acted on one from Pinterest.”

If you think about it, this isn’t too different than what people have been doing for generations: Seeking out those they trust for suggestions on products and services. Only now, it’s also done virtually.

Companies can leverage the relationships these bloggers have with their followers to help spread brand awareness. Mashable stresses the significance that creating blogger relationships can have for a brand in its post,Blogger Outreach: 5 Tips for Connecting With Top Influencers:

“A single relationship with the right blogger could lead to thousands of instant relationships with targeted readers who fully trust that particular source; not to mention the back links.”

Not only can companies reach powerful influencers, but advocates who are already passionate for the brand as well that can support it online and offline. Social Business News explains:

“[Brand advocates] will share their opinion, recommendations and even defend the brand from detractors. They may not have thousands of followers or be quoted in the media as an industry thought leader, but they have influence within their social network.”

As public relations practitioners, we still reach out to traditional outlets to earn media coverage. However, thanks to the blogosphere, we now have more opportunities to connectdirectly with influencers and brand advocates.

So how do you best initiate those connections? A great way is to meet the bloggers face-to-face. DVL recently attended Reviewer’s Retreat, a conference for product and resource review bloggers, to learn more about the genre and engage with some influential parents who blog. Stay tuned to our next post where we’ll share some of our top takeaways from the event.