Retailers, get ready: It’s the most mobile time of year
As the holidays edge closer, columnist Tom Mucklow takes a look at how marketers can improve the mobile and overall customer experience to get higher conversions this season.
It may still feel like summer, but it’s never too early for consumers to start thinking about what that special someone has been eyeing for the holidays. Before we know it, we’ll be in the midst of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales cycle, followed immediately by December’s holiday shopping frenzy.
This holiday season is set to be by far the most mobile yet. As many of us return home to spend time with our families, we tend to leave our bulky devices behind, with only our phone or tablet to access the internet.
This holiday season isn’t just busy for retailers; shoppers are running around with a million things on their minds, from selecting the best turkey to picking the perfect present. Smart marketers recognize consumer anxiety and offer as much convenience as possible. Setting the right strategy for the next few months is critical.
With fewer than 100 days before the post-Thanksgiving shopping mania, marketers need to focus on some key details to power a magical holiday experience.
Reduce cognitive load at the checkout
Digital cart abandonment is now at a shocking 69.23 percent, according to the Baymard Institute’s analysis of existing research. But this can be minimized when you know the reason. Almost a third of abandoners do so because the checkout is too long or complicated, according to the institute.
With fashion and travel among the retail categories most likely to be abandoned, according to SaleCycle, it’s vital for marketers in these verticals — which are some of the most popular during the holidays — to refine their mobile checkout.
Make life easier for your time-strapped customers by reducing the number of checkout form fields, correctly labeling input requirements, switching on auto-suggest, and displaying progress indicators that offer contextual, input-dependent app keyboards.
Go direct, but go gently
At the busiest time of the year, consumer attention is scattered. Marketers should not sit back and expect shoppers to organically show up in their app or online store. Instead, they need to actively prompt engagement by sending well-timed and strategic mobile-friendly notifications.
Push notifications can reach an open rate of as high as 40 percent. This is the ideal opportunity to empower customers and bring them into your app, whether they’re shopping for gifts in November or lounging in front of the family Christmas tree in December. It’s the perfect way to drive sales and engage customers, putting the power to purchase right in their hands.
Plan for added traffic
User experience is the most important factor driving the digital purchase cycle. A one-second delay in page response can result in a 7 percent reduction in conversions, according to Aberdeen.
Long load times have the potential to scare off sales. During the holidays, your servers may be busier than ever. Complete a thorough analysis of typical performance before the busy season to identify issues, implement solutions and develop contingency plans.
Don’t be complacent — identify your tipping point, and work closely with your IT team to make improvements like adding memory and implementing server optimization procedures, database configurations or cloud solutions.
Ghosts of Christmas past, present and future…
The holiday peak traffic period is a great time to run tests that can inform how campaigns should run throughout the year.
By now, most brands are familiar with A/B testing. A/B split tests tend to work best when there is a large pool of data to test on. This makes holiday “footfall” the best opportunity to figure out what works — lessons from holidays past can be implemented in the present to drive faster growth in the future.
Big results can come in small packages
As consumers become less tolerant of clunky mobile interfaces, many retailers have launched mobile apps to combat slower load times. Creating a mobile app from scratch might seem like a big endeavor this late in the year. But it’s important to remember that it is never too late to make small incremental changes that could have a similar impact on your bottom line.
By thinking mobile and implementing small changes to improve your customers’ overall experience, you will definitely be on their nice list for years to come.