Mobile SEO & E-Commerce Growth Beyond Black Friday & Cyber Monday

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As we come down off the high from Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we’ll no doubt be looking at some exciting preliminary figures for commerce online.

But it’s not time to kick up our feet quite yet. According to data cited by Google, 48 percent of shoppers will do their shopping in early December. Additionally, due to the last-minute gift rush, December 21 and 23 were shown to be the best in-store shopping days aside from Black Friday in 2013.

The forecast continues to look good this year in terms of online shopping. The National Retail Federation reported that more than half of U.S. consumers planned to make at least some of their holiday purchases online this year.

The purchase journey online will consist of multiple devices, as expected. According to the 2014 Pre-Holiday Retailer and Consumer Study by Shop.org, people are using their smartphones and tablets specifically to:

  • Research products (42 percent smartphone, 53 percent tablet)
  • Look up store contact and hours information (one-third of those surveyed)

Mobile users are also converting at a growing rate. According to IBM ExperienceOne, 19.1 percent of all website sales in December 2013 were on smartphones and tablets – more than three times that of December 2011.

Numbers from this year are sure to reflect an even larger growth as more brands become mobile friendly.

In fact, research coming from BrightEdge shows smartphone and tablet sales for the first three quarters of 2013 rivaled desktop in average order size; smartphone conversions increased 26 percent in Q3 from Q1 2014.

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To illustrate, the following chart shows the average order size by device for the retail industry, indexed to desktop performance.

As marketers, we’re on a constant iterative cycle to take what we’ve learned and apply it to the next marketing cycle, so no doubt there will be some interesting takeaways from our holiday marketing campaigns in 2014.

However, we also need to capitalize on new trends and skillfully implement best practices. Beyond just having a mobile-optimized site, brands may want to consider creating device-specific experiences to cater to the growing number of shoppers who are researching and buying on mobile.

With that, let’s look at ways we can ramp up in 2015 so next holiday season is even brighter.

3 Ways To Serve The Mobile Consumer In 2015

To serve the mobile consumer in 2015: (1) decide which mobile configuration is best, (2) use device-specific content, and (3) ensure your mobile analytics program allows for device data segmentation.

1. Mobile Configuration: Decide Which Is Best

Google recently launched “mobile friendly” labels for its search results pages in an effort to make the experience more streamlined for users. Here’s an example of what that looks like to mobile users:

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You don’t want to risk missing out on clicks from mobile users in 2015. So, decide which type of mobile configuration is best to optimize the experience for your mobile website visitors: a responsive design, dynamically serving web pages, or a separate mobile site.

2. Mobile Experience: Device-Specific Content

Remember, however, that one type of mobile configuration is not always a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s best not to force visitors into one experience or the other.

Create and optimize content specifically for the mobile device and the goal. At minimum, add images, icons, buttons and calls-to-action with the mobile experience in mind, rather than relying solely on desktop content that shrinks to a mobile screen.

Additionally, test and optimize for mobile conversions by analyzing the shopping cart and checkout experience via a mobile device.

3. Mobile Measurement: Segment Data Well

Finally, set up your mobile analytics so it reports key metrics separately from desktop data. Benchmark to industry standards; based on that, make plans to improve and optimize your mobile site experience.

As we wrap up the 2014 holiday shopping season, there’s no better time to plan for next year’s marketing. That includes not only looking back at our performance this year but also looking ahead to the holiday and mobile shopping trends on the horizon.

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