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6 Ecommerce Lessons From Holiday 2016

If you are an ecommerce retailer, or if you’re planning on adding ecommerce to your business in the near future, there’s a lot to be learned from the recent holiday shopping season. Here are some ecommerce lessons you can act on:

1. Online shopping was up significantly compared to last year. Chain Store Age reports that total online spending hit a total of $4.47 billion on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, up 18 percent from last year. In fact, online shopping over Thanksgiving weekend exceeded in-store shopping: The National Retail Federation reports that 102 million Americans shopped in physical stores, but 103 people shopped online.

Takeaway: There’s really no surprise here. If you haven’t already added ecommerce to your retail store’s capabilities, what are you waiting for?

2. Not only online shopping, but mobile shopping, saw an increase. This year, 33 percent of total online holiday spending took place on mobile devices, up from 27 percent last year. In addition, people who made purchases on mobile devices spent more on the average purchase than those who bought from desktops.

Takeaway: It’s important to make sure that your shopping and checkout process is accessible, intuitive and easy on any type of mobile device.

3. Although consumers still did most of their holiday buying on desktops, IBMs statistics report that mobile traffic surpassed desktop traffic this year and was up by 15 percent from last year. In other words, even shoppers who may not feel confident buying on mobile devices are very willing to browse and research products on them.

Takeaway: Make sure you optimize your ecommerce website for search, and that search results are mobile-friendly. If you also own a physical store, your store needs to be listed in local search directories so shoppers on the go can find it.

4. Black Friday was still the number-one day for shopping, both online and in-store. About 73 percent of those who shopped over the Thanksgiving weekend either in-store or online did so on Black Friday; between 34 and 39 percent shopped on Thanksgiving Day.

Takeaway: While Thanksgiving is important, most Americans are more traditional in their shopping habits. Consider offering your extra-deep discounts for Thanksgiving shoppers to attract more of them.

5. Both online and off, the biggest shoppers were young people. More than 53 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds and 62 percent of 25 to 34-year-olds shopped in store over the holiday weekend, while 57 percent of both demographics shopped online.

Takeaway: Your marketing messages need to be tailored for different demographic groups. If you have a brick-and-mortar store, don’t assume the youngest consumers don’t care. Just make sure you reach out to them in a way that resonates.

6. Social media played a larger part in holiday shopping this year. Statistics from Adobe showed there were nearly 4,000,000 mentions of retailers on social media this year — 25 percent more “buzz” than last year.

Takeaway: While social media still isn’t fulfilling its promise of selling directly from social sites, it’s becoming an increasingly important part of driving customer traffic. Make sure you’re on top of your social media game to maximize your sales.

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