E-commerce seems like it’s been around almost as long as personal computers have. Shopping is, after all, a national pastime, and online shopping is so much more convenient—we can do it at home, in our pajamas! So, it should come as no surprise that recent research, reported by eMarketer, indicates that e-commerce sales will outpace total retail growth this holiday season—with e-commerce growing at around 14% compared to overall retail growth rates of only 5.6%. And Q4 sales are projected to be 30% higher than Q3 due to all that holiday shopping.
While m-commerce does peak in the fourth quarter, last year the growth continued into January—not surprising given what a hot gift shiny new iPhones and smartphones are every year. In fact, Apple products have actually overtaken venerable French brand Hermes and their much-sought-after Birkin bag as the number one luxury gift in China.
Not only do we love shopping, we love our smartphones, and mobile commerce (or m-commerce) is growing at a rapid clip. M-commerce sales are projected to be 32% higher this year compared to last year, garnering an impressive 22% share of the overall “shopping pie” this holiday season.
If you’re an e-commerce subscription retailer, you should certainly take note of the growing popularly of mobile shopping—and perhaps you already have! If so, then you may already know that an astounding 71% of digital buyers will be mobile buyers this year, and that 11 million more people will buy with their smartphone than did in 2014, according to eMarketer. And amongst “heavy shoppers”—those most desired of customers—the mobile channel accounts for over half of these shoppers’ online purchases and 65% of their research, as reported by eMarketer.
Clearly mobile is an important, relevant (and in some ways underserved) channel. But what does all this mean to your subscription billing business? Knowing that trends point towards increasing mobile engagement, mobile shopping, and mobile purchasing by consumers, ask yourself:
What is your brand’s relevance within the mobile landscape?
How can you uncover hidden connections with your customers and prospects that can be strengthened via a mobile experience or offering?
What are your customers’ preferences and frustrations that could be addressed or alleviated through the mobile channel?
In particular, given how much shopping and buying that occurs during the holiday season, how can you reach those heavy shoppers who have so many gifts to buy their friends and family (maybe even a few for themselves) and who research indicates will likely respond quite favorably to a mobile offer?
Maybe it’s something as simple as marketing gifts subscriptions to your customers and prospects through the mobile channel. A gift subscription is “a gift that keeps on giving” (to use an old marketing slogan) arriving regularly as it does in the recipient’s mailbox. Even those who like to shop might appreciate how easy and convenient gift subscriptions are. With just a few clicks while waiting in the department store checkout line or over a coffee break, they can cross a few more people off their list. No wrapping or shipping required! As an added incentive, you can offer your customers a discount for every gift subscription they buy. Remember, it’s always more cost-effective to reward influencers (your good customers) than acquire new customers.
You may not have time to develop a mobile app in time for the holidays, but you should at least ensure that your site is optimized for mobile viewing and transacting. As well, responsive design—where a site is developed for optimal reading and navigation across a wide range of devices—is an increasingly necessary design methodology.
The holiday shopping season—while officially occurring over November and December—has actually already begun: 32% of US shoppers reported starting their holiday shopping as of early September, as cited in a recent eMarketer webinar. eMarketer also reported on additional research that indicates that almost half of those surveyed anticipate finishing all their holiday shopping by Cyber Monday (November 30th). With that in mind, it’s still not too late for you to ready your mobile strategy to take advantage of those mobile shopping opportunities during this most wonderful time of the year. Merry Marketing!