November 18, 2015 | Business | by Xavi Beumala

Holiday Shopping Trends Toward Mobile

Holiday shopping is quickly approaching, which generally involves standing in long lines or racing through a sliding door at the crack of dawn to get the year’s newest toys or tech. The advent of online shopping, and more specifically mobile shopping, has changed this behavior. More and more consumers are now flocking to their smartphones or tablets to pick out, research, and buy their holiday gifts. This has also led to the creation of Cyber Monday, a peak buying day that doesn’t involve driving to the mall. The next wave of holiday shopping technology is here, and it’s in your pocket.

Mobile shopping continues to pick up steam, and for good reason. It allows you to not only shop from home, but at work, on the train, or on your lunch break. Ecommerce is expected to grow 13.9 percent from 2014, generating $79.4 billion in sales this holiday season. That number will give ecommerce a 9 percent share of the holiday shopping market, compared to the 7.1 percent share it takes the rest of the year. Mobile ecommerce, or mcommerce, will make up 32 percent of that market. That puts mobile on a much faster incline than its traditional ecommerce competition.

This is especially true of those few valuable days for retailers: Black Friday through Cyber Monday. Retailers depend on these days to get people into stores, and increasingly onto their websites. In 2014, 52.1 percent of e-retail traffic went through mobile, with 32.3 percent of all sales happening on a smartphone or tablet according to an IBM study. According to Offers.com VP Howard Schaeffer, “This year online shopping will be the biggest year ever when it comes to consumers purchasing their gifts online. Based on our data, consumers will be taking advantage of sales early online and enjoying their holidays from the comfort of their home instead of heading to the stores.”

Publishers are keenly aware of the importance of this one weekend out of the year, so what’s the best way to attack the holiday rush on mobile? First, you have to have a fast mobile website. Consumers are even more finicky on mobile devices than on desktops, and will leave your site if it isn’t loaded within three seconds. Making sure that the structure of your mobile website allows for increased speeds is vital to gaining more page views and, in turn, more revenue for e-retailers.

Once your site loads, how is it going to keep people there? Your website must be visually creative and easy to navigate. Make sure your holiday deals are front and center, so that users know what you’re offering as soon as they visit the page. From there, make sure they can find the specific products they were looking for, and find other products that relate to their interests. According to Daniel Alves, director of small business web design at 352 Media Group, “Some shoppers might not be savvy in searching, but are more likely to wander through your website based on the suggestions they receive.” Making those suggestions easy to navigate can generate more sales.

Taking these simple steps can increase your revenue on the single biggest shopping weekend of the year. Shoppers are increasingly avoiding the long lines of Black Friday while sitting at home to buy their gifts, and having a mobile-first marketing strategy can make a big difference in your bottom line this season.