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The Modern Marketing Blog covers the latest in marketing strategy, technology, and innovation.

Welcome to the most mobile-enabled retail holiday season in history

It’s finally here. The week of all weeks for retailers. Technically, most retailers have been fully in the throngs of holiday planning for going on 25 days now, but now we are in the final approach leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Hopefully you’re all feeling prepared. After all, you started planning for this week back in May when I was telling you to get ready, right? Or you at least got started in August with our holiday planning webinar when Wacarra Yeomans and I laid out the keys to a successful holiday shopping season.

One of the key points you hopefully gleaned from all of blog postings and webinars is that this holiday will be the most mobile-enabled shopping season in history. And just in time for this week, Oracle has announced two new research papers focused on consumers holiday shopping habits with some key points about how consumers leverage mobile in their holiday shopping. The first research project, Holiday Research 2014 Part 1: Unwrapping Shopper Plans is actually just the first deliverable of a very unique 2-part study comparing the holiday shopping habits of consumers before and after the holiday season.

The second report, Oracle Pulse Report: The Who, What and Chatter of Holiday Electronics Shoppers is a view into what online shoppers look like for the 2014 holiday season through the lens of the top 3 categories in consumer electronics, keying in on who they are, products they want to buy and what they are saying about them in social media.

Mobile Shopping

To me, one of the perhaps most interesting findings in Part 1 of our Holiday Research Study was that 97% of consumers have made a smartphone purchase at home, not on-the-go, which is often mobile-shoppingthe default presumption of most retailers. After all, if I’m at home and shopping, I must be on my desktop, right? Wrong. In fact, I make purchases all the time on my home right from my bed at night (albeit, probably not the best time to make purchase decisions).

One of the scariest findings is that 43% of shoppers have transacted in the car! If you fall into that group, please do everyone a favor and put the phone down and drive safely this holiday season. I promise, the GoPro or the TV or whatever it is will still be there when you put it in park.

The reality, especially this year more than any in the past, is that any can be a mobile moment for that holiday shopper, whether they’re at home watching TV, at work but not really working, (hopefully not) driving down the road, or in your physical store.

Showrooming

Showrooming, using a smartphone to buy products online while shopping in the store, is of paramount concern to almost every brick-and-mortar retailer. And while 47% of respondents said their primary use of a smartphone in a store was to look for pricing information, a further 53% are looking for information to help them along their path to purchase (reviews, technical specs, opinions, etc.).

Some retailers, like Walmart, have implemented price matching policies to help mitigate the showrooming effect and convert in-store shoppers, but if you’re going to engage in that same tactic, hopefully, you’ve learned from their mistake in only comparing to reputable websites.

When it comes to showrooming, brick-and-mortar retailers need to understand that they have the advantage. The shopper is already in their store. They need to engage that customer in their digital experience in order to avoid them from shopping directly from a competitor like Amazon.

Mobile Communications

When it comes to engaging holiday shoppers, no online channel is more important than email in communicating out the holiday sales and events to customers. In fact, of the top 10 ways shoppers said they heard about holiday sales, email, at 41%, was the only digital channel in the top 5, well ahead of all other digital channels. So make sure that your emails are optimized for mobile viewing and, better yet, mobile interaction.

Given more and more shoppers using mobile to directly shop, this year more than any other has a significant opportunity for you to get your mobile shoppers to opt-in for SMS alerts and download your mobile app to receive push notifications.

This is going to be extremely important, especially for those late-December, last minute online holiday shoppers who need to be certain that their online purchase is going to arrive on time, and orchestrated email, SMS and push shipping and delivery notifications are the best way to do it.

I don’t want to give it all away, so I’ll leave it to you to download and digest Holiday Research 2014 Part 1: Unwrapping Shopper Plans and Oracle Pulse Report: The Who, What and Chatter of Holiday Electronics Shoppers while you sit down and digest a little turkey this Thanksgiving.

Happy holiday selling!

Image sources: thenextweb.com, imagescdn.tweaktown.com

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