Now that the 2017 holiday shopping season has come and gone, it’s the perfect time to reflect on brick and mortar retail sales, as well as eCommerce sales, to see if this past year’s numbers lived up to the hype (or lack thereof). Traditionally, Black Friday, or the day after Thanksgiving, has been the biggest retail sales day of the calendar year — a day marking the point when retailers were “in the black” (hence the name). However, retailers have begun promoting their holiday sales and lower prices earlier and earlier in the season, leading some to speculate that the Black Friday and Cyber Monday trends are on the way out.
In fact, the pre-Black Friday forecast for 2017 was less than sunny, with the narrative being that Black Friday wasn’t the same symbolic day that it once was. In spite of these predictions, consumers clearly had other things in mind, and not only did they turn out — they turned out in droves.
The National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics reported in a recently published survey that upward of 174 million Americans went shopping over the weekend — far more people than were expected and a promising start for the retail industry. For the third year in a row, sales continued to skew toward online shopping, with the divide growing — 58 million shoppers shopped exclusively online, while only 51 million shopped exclusively in stores. An interesting trend among some of the larger retailers, including Target, Walmart and Macy’s, is the fusion of brick and mortar storefronts and eCommerce, with 64 million Americans shopping both and spending an impressive $82 million more than online-only shoppers.
From the 2017 holiday shopping season, we can see some interesting eCommerce trends that are continuing to evolve and emerge in the space and should continue to do so well into 2018 — and beyond.
eCommerce is a Major Player, and It’s Here to Stay
Cyber Monday 2017 marked the biggest day ever for online sales. Adobe Digital Insights 2017 reported that Monday’s online sales were already up 17 percent over last year’s figures — and that was by 10 a.m.
Mobile Sales are Continuing to Gain Traction
It’s no secret that mobile is a hotspot for eCommerce. Of those online purchases, nearly half of them were made on mobile devices — mostly using smartphones.
BOPIS is a Hot Trend Right Now
BOPIS, or Buy Online Pickup In Store, is a hot trend in the retail world, and the Black Friday weekend was no exception. Many stores are beginning to rethink their layout as they incorporate this BOPIS into their strategy to improve customers’ in-store experience.
Four eCommerce Tips to Keep You in the Black
Having an inviting and engaging website should be the center of any eCommerce strategy, with easy-to-incorporate tweaks that can easily be made to increase seasonal sales.
Include Gift Guides and Content Resources and Feature On-Trend Pieces on Your Site
Adding gift guides or informative content resources to your website is a great way to encourage sales without coming across as pushy. For instance, a blog or article on the “Top 10 Toys for Kids Under 10” will not only help you convert visits to sales, but it will also help drive traffic to your site for months, or even years, to come.
Update Hero Images and Banners
The hero images on your website are often the first thing that visitors see and can have a “make or break” effect on their impression of your site. To give your site an immediate visual refresh without having to do any redesigning, update your hero imagery to put future holiday promotions and/or gift ideas front and center for your visitors.
Make Sure You’re Ready for Mobile Shoppers
While this isn’t the quickest tip on our list, it is arguably the most important. With all of the online sales that now originate from a mobile device, it is a no-brainer to make sure that your site is properly optimized for mobile visitors to make it easier for your customers to browse your inventory, find your products and ultimately make their purchase.
Stir Up Buzz on Social Media
Of course, it doesn’t do any good to optimize your site if you don’t have a regular stream of traffic going to your site. One of the strongest things that you can do to increase future holiday sales is to encourage your existing customers to interact with you on social media — sharing pictures of their purchased products, leaving reviews, etc. These implied testimonials coming from a friendly face can be just what your brand needs to persuade uncertain shoppers.
Jarrell was founded in 2013 by web development veteran Mike Jarrell, whose father ran his own eponymous software venture for more than 25 years. Jarrell was reborn when Mike borrowed the name as an homage to his late father. The firm maintains the same values it has for over two decades – marrying efficient function and seamless form to meet the needs of a variety of organizations.
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