Well it happened, and we knew it would. This year’s holiday shopping trifecta, Thanksgiving (it's no longer just about family, food and football), Black Friday and Cyber Monday topped last year's in terms of total sales by 15 percent.
Fifteen percent may not seem like that big of an increase, but when you’re dealing with total sales of around $11 billion, 15 percent is a significant increase.
How did the retailers keep up with this spike of in-store and online traffic? Not as well as they could have done. For example, Target's website crashed for a short time on Cyber Monday due to its site-wide sale. In years past, retailers braced for a major increase of in-store traffic, but weren't as equipped to handle online traffic. Target experienced traffic and order volumes that exceeded its predictions, and it was forced to meter traffic.
How did this happen? Well, part of this is due to the fact that more consumers than ever made purchases from their smartphones. Tamara Gaffney, an analyst with Adobe (who monitors online sales), said,“Most of our predictions have been spot-on, but mobile surprised us, it’s much higher than we’ve ever seen...with the larger screens, they’re (mobile phones) easier to see and use.”
So with all this excitement and money being spent, how is your business faring this holiday season? Are your sales figures matching your expectations or are they falling short? This answer largely depends on your marketing strategy for the holiday shopping season. Are you offering your consumers an incentive to shop at your business? Are you taking advantage of the online marketing platforms available to you? Did you update your holiday hours on your Google My Business page?
More options to buy using mobile and now wearable devices, mean more options for consumers. So if the Holiday hustle and bustle has left you feeling a little humbug, fear not. There’s still several weeks left in the holiday shopping season, which means you still have time to take action and generate some of "what could have been" from this past weekend.
Be Found: You need to make sure your business is on the map and showing up in correctly in search results. . How do you do this? It starts by claiming and optimizing your business's local listing pages on different online directories. Google, for example, has options to add your hours of operation, address, phone number, forms of payment you take and much more.
Think about it this way. Google wants to advertise Google products. If your business is an active and complying user of a Google product (Google My Business) then the likelihood of your business showing up in search results is increased. There are hundreds of factors that impact search engine rankings, but this is a good place to start.
Be Chosen: Why would a searcher choose you over the guy down the street? Is it your unique offering, your wide selection of products or is it your great customer service? Whatever the reason, make sure your local listing pages and website reflect your unique selling proposition. Consumers want a transparent, accurate representation of who they’re choosing to spend their money with.
And, as we alluded to earlier, your online presence matters. Consumers are making snap judgments about your business based on your online appearance. Don't turn consumers away by having incomplete and incorrect local listing pages. Take a look at the example below, which would you choose?
Be Easy: It's one thing for your business to be easy to work with once consumers are in the door, but what about all the steps before? Consider this, 80 percent of mobile searches lead to a purchase, often within a few hours. Why is this? Data suggests that consumers are closer to the point of purchase when searching on mobile devices. They're often looking for a nearby solution to fulfill their needs.
What does this mean for your business? Well, it means you better have a mobile-friendly website. This doesn't just mean that your website will fit to different screen sizes, either. A mobile-friendly, or responsive, design must allow consumers to complete all of the same on-page actions regardless of the device size.
Is the phone button able to be clicked to call your business? Does it have a place to contact you through email? Is your address easy to locate? Want to find out if your website passes all the mobile-friendly tests? Check out Google's Mobile Friendly Test tool to see if your website is up to par.
I hope you found these steps helpful, or at least insightful as you think about the future of your business. Your online presence is more important than ever, especially around the holidays. So gift wrap yours and put a bow on top; you never know who may be the next one to open it.