It seems the holiday season creeps up earlier and earlier every year. This year, Canadian consumers saw festive ornaments and gift baskets alongside Halloween candies and costumes. But brands needn’t worry that shoppers have holiday fatigue by mid December. With the exception of Black Friday, the most popular shopping days, including Super Saturday (December 16th), Christmas Eve, and Boxing Day, are still ahead, and brands have ample opportunity to connect with those last minute patrons.
As the holidays come to a head, consumers are increasingly turning to their pocket personal assistant; their mobile devices. They seek gift inspiration and conduct product research, engaging with brands for hours on their smartphones before stopping foot in retail locations. This results in thousands of micro-moments that brands can leverage to influence shoppers’ buying decisions.
Micro-moments are critical digital interactions along a consumer’s purchase path, when information regarding products and services is actively sought out, especially through a mobile device. Over the holidays, there are two specific micro-moments which brands should aim to address. By providing relevant information during these vital moments, brands can help guide consumers’ interests and ultimately gain their business.
More and more, consumers are using their smartphones to investigate the best brand options in a particular product category. Mobile searches for “best purse brands”, for example, are up 140% and searches for “makeup brands” are up 150% versus two years ago.
Consumers are much more savvy when it comes to narrowing down their holiday purchases, taking into account third party views and expert opinions. They are also taking an inverse approach to finding their preferred holiday gifts, with mobile searches regarding “what products to avoid” increasing by 150% over the past two years.
These searches present a prime opportunity for brands to highlight their credibility as product specialists. Ensure experts are front and center, providing tutorials and communicating key product attributes. Brand advocates can be especially powerful in this space, with consumers more likely to trust unaffiliated and unbiased perspectives. Content and messaging that offers convenience through a clear and engaging format will be crucial for time-strapped shoppers.
With a product in mind, the next logical area of inquest is where to obtain said product. Mobile is progressively becoming the method of choice for consumers determining their optimal retail location. Mobile searches for “where to buy” grew over 85% in the past two years, with queries focused on broad categories such as cards, gift boxes, and even ugly Christmas sweaters.
With the busiest shopping days directly in front of us, retailers will benefit in pushing their mobile marketing campaigns to the very end of the holiday season. In the past couple of years, mobile searches for “where to buy” actually peaked on Christmas Eve, with searches regarding “store hours” culminating on Christmas Day. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day also saw the highest number of mobile searches regarding the top retailers versus any other day in December.
Once consumers have landed on a retail location, they refine their search even further, investigating exactly where within the store to find their product. To that end, “Store tour” videos are gaining traction on YouTube, with view times growing an incredible 1000% versus only two years ago. “Shop with me” videos, in which consumers can virtually accompany an individual on their shopping expedition at a specific retailer, are particularly popular on mobile, also watched ten times more than they were two years ago.
Bricks and mortar locations aren’t the only consideration when consumers search for a point of purchase. Over 40% of online transactions are now done through mobile. Whether online or off, consumers expect a seamless shopping experience, and brands employing an omni-channel strategy can help deliver on that expectation and get a leg up on the competition.
Consumers continue to demand quick and easy holiday buying solutions up to the eleventh hour. In fact, 67% of smartphone users claimed that they are focused on the most relevant information, regardless of the company it comes from. Consumers are increasingly loyal to the best information, and by extension, the brands and retailers that provide it. Whether this information pertains to what to buy or where to buy it, ensure brand and product communications during the key holiday micro-moments are easily available and pertinent to the consumer’s search to secure the best chances of success over the shopping days to come.
FOR MORE INSIGHTS ON HOLIDAY MOBILE SHOPPING, SEE THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE ON THINK WITH GOOGLE.