No time offers a clearer window into how consumer and retailer shopping trends are shifting than the holiday season. The fourth quarter is always the busiest time of year for brands and retailers — it’s when many of them move from red to black.
This holiday season indicated that there’s never been a better time to be a consumer. The rise of online and mobile shopping has given consumers more choice, flexibility, and often better service, and retailers are shifting their strategies to keep up.
In a new report from BI Intelligence, we look at some of the top trends affecting retailers at each stage of the purchase funnel and how they’re responding to those shifts.
Here are some of the key takeaways:
- Within digital, consumers are spreading out their retail purchasing across channels, forcing retailers to spread out their online marketing budgets. Paid search, affiliate marketing, and email all increased their share of e-commerce referrals last year, according to Custora.
- Mobile continues to drive the most sales growth for retailers, but sales still aren’t keeping up with retail traffic. IBM found that smartphone traffic beat both tablet and desktop, making up 53% of all online traffic. But mobile still only accounted for 29% of all online sales.
- Retailers only have themselves to blame for underperformance on mobile, as many still aren’t using best practices for mobile websites and apps. Only 60% of the top 100 global retailers currently have a dedicated mobile website, according to The Search Agency.
- The increase in online shopping has put stress on the shipping and logistics industry. The number of UPS ground packages delivered on time during the holidays fell from 97% in 2014 to 91% in 2015, according to ShipMatrix.
- Retailers that can’t afford to invest in alternative shipping options are offering consumers more fulfillment options using what many of them do have — brick-and-mortar stores. Buying online and picking up in-store, also called click and collect, made up about 30% of e-commerce sales at Sam’s Club in 2015.
In full, the report:
- Looks at how retailers are shifting their ad spending and marketing efforts to keep up with online retail behaviour.
- Identifies which channels are top performers for referral traffic and new opportunities for reaching consumers.
- Analyses how retailers are responding to the rise of mobile purchasing and where they’re falling short.
- Examines the evolving delivery landscape and the aggressive moves retailers are making to become their own shipping carriers.
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Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
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