Here Are the Top 6 Ways Consumers Will Shop Online for Holidays

 In Ecommerce, Spotlight

If it feels a little too soon to start planning your 2018 holiday campaigns, you’re not alone. While it’s true that we have weeks until the holidays roll around, the year is moving quickly and planning early is the best way to ensure you reap the results you want this holiday season.

The first step in that process, though, is to understand the latest consumer trends and how they’re likely to influence your online sales process.

When you understand the ins and outs of consumer behavior, you can refine your strategy, improve your approach, and create the results you want during your holiday campaigns.

Here’s what you need to know about Holiday shopping behavior, and what you can capitalize on for the sake of your upcoming campaigns:

1. Shoppers Will be on Mobile

While this may not be surprising any more, a growing number of people are choosing to shop on their mobile devices. According to Facebook’s 2018 shopping survey:

“From holiday 2016 to holiday 2017, Mobile-first Researchers (people who say they do the majority of their research on mobile devices) grew by 14.0%, and Mobile-first Shoppers (people who say they do the majority of their shopping on mobile devices) grew by 19.9%.”

During the 2017 shopping season, 54.7% of customers said that Facebook was one of the most influential platforms they visited when making purchasing decisions. At the same time, 39.3% reported the same feelings about Instagram. No matter how you slice it, these platforms are incredibly important, essential to consumer decisions,and critical for any brand that wants to improve or promote its holiday shopping efforts.

Wondering how people use these mobile platforms to shop? Here are a few of their most common activities:

  • They send holiday greetings on Facebook, or share holiday photos on Instagram
  • They use the social platforms to gain inspiration from friends and family members who like and are willing to recommend products and services
  • They seek advice about gifts from other people
  • They watch holiday-related videos

Despite all this online interaction, Facebook’s survey found that 70.2% of people still prefer to make their purchases in-store during the holiday season. That said, mobile can, at the very least, be a supporting factor that will help drive more in-store sales and create the awareness you need to boost your bottom line.

2. Customers Will Shop Around

Currently, an estimated 125 million U.S. consumers own smartphones and shopping online is one of the places that those mobile shoppers are using their mobile devices most often. While they’re in-store, they hop on their phones to compare prices and make sure they’re getting the best deals, a process that’s known as showrooming (when you compare prices from stores online, that process is called webrooming).

Around 43.7% of customers say they research products in-store, and that they believe it’s the greatest way to locate nearby stores that may be offering better deals, and to complement the in-store experience through more information, greater details and a comprehensive shopping experience.

What does this mean for your store?

It means that you suddenly have a range of opportunities that will integrate both your online and offline marketing efforts. In addition to allowing you to do things like list price and product details in-store, this mobile and in-store ecommerce marriage also drives a climate that encourages you to provide more details, utilize multi-channel marketing to raise awareness about discount coupons and promote in-store shopping via mobile research.

3. They’ll Start Shopping Early

A recent study reveals that more consumers are trying to shop early to alleviate the stress and difficulty associated with the holiday shopping season. Instead of waiting in long lines, customers will turn to their online devices to shop and find the items they need. Right now, about 58.7% of customers say they don’t want to deal with long lines, and 57.3% say they feel the same way about crowds.

Some companies have dealt with this by allowing shoppers to scan items in-store and pay with an app. Other ecommerce platforms have simply overhauled their marketing efforts to streamline the online shopping environment and ensure an easy check-out process.

Allowing customers to order online and pick up items in-store is also popular, and may be worth integrating for the purpose of making your customers’ shopping experiences easier and more convenient.

4. Customers are Researching on Amazon

As the world of ecommerce has evolved, customers are now utilizing Amazon as a search engine. In fact, about 50% of product searches currently begin on Amazon. With reports finding that Amazon is expected to account for 50% of all ecommerce sales by 2021, it’s obvious that this marketplace shows no signs of slowing down in the near future.

This holiday season, consider using Amazon Advertising to help your products stand out from the fray. Simple tools like Amazon Search, Amazon Media Group and Amazon’s ad platforms can go a long way toward creating a seamless brand experience that allows you to reap the results you want while cashing on recent Amazon statistics that show it’s the number one selling platform for cross-channel online retailers.

5. Customers Want Native Ecommerce

Facebook was the first platform to allow merchants to create and run native shops in 2015. Today, it’s becoming a must-have for customers. These native-social-selling partnership has the potential to expand your reach and create shopping accounts that double as social platforms.

This is perfect for driving organic traffic and becoming the household name you want your ecommerce store to be. As you establish your native commerce efforts, be sure to consider factors like age range, income and other important demographics to maximize your efforts.

6. Voice Shopping Will Explode

According to HubSpot, Echo and Google Home devices are predicted to account for $40 billion in voice shipping sales by 2022. That’s a massive increase from the estimated $2 billion these devices currently report. While only about 50% of internet users across the UK and US have made voice shopping orders so far, an estimated 20% of shoppers don’t own a smart speaker in the first place.

This just goes to show that voice shopping will increase in coming years, and that marketers and SEO experts are wise to start preparing now. On the flipside, make sure you don’t overlook the advent of virtual shopping, either. While this is a relatively newer trend, it’s evolving a rapid pace and is, indeed, the future of online commerce.

Mindset of the Online Shopper

The way customers shop is changing, and good targeting and strategy means understanding this. When you take things like voice and native shopping into account this year, you stand to create more effective campaigns during the holiday season.

To help you better understand the mindset of the online shopper, we’ve created this handy infographic for you to reference. Use the facts and stats it offers to improve your online store and generate more interest and sales this holiday season.

Infographic - Mindset of the online shopper

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