Key Retail Trends for Q4

Operation Q4 is well and truly under way, but if you’re a retailer, you’ll be well aware of that! Q4 represents the business end of the year for retailers. Of course, black Friday is called ‘black Friday’ in reference to it being the day many retailer’s balance sheets turn from red to black. So, what are the key things to bear in mind for this, the most important time of year?

First off, it isn’t enough to just be geared up for the black Friday/Cyber Monday surge of traffic and conversions.  Whilst focusing investment and preparation on a black Friday and Cyber Monday push is a wise move, it is important to remember the lasting increase in visits and conversions online right up until Christmas. Cyber Monday traffic is typically around 5.5x higher than an average week, whilst conversions are 2.2x higher than usual. Obviously, these are massive numbers. However, even the week before Christmas typically sees traffic 2.2x higher and conversions 1.5x higher than usual.

The implications to retail marketers? Well, it would appear we as a nation are still guilty of last minute Christmas shopping! Therefore, any increase in marketing investment should begin in advance of Black Friday and continue right through to Christmas. But where should that investment come from? One look at the stats would suggest a focus, first and foremost, on mobile marketing efforts.

A massive 70% of offline purchases are influenced by digital research. If you do not have a digital presence in search engines, on social channels, or otherwise, expect to lose out as competitors facilitate the consumer need to research before purchase. Another important one to remember is that 29.3% of consumer research on mobiles is done in store. That’s why many of the big retailers continue to invest in digital touch-points in store. Customers expect to be able to research in store. Not only is it important to meet their expectations; it represents a fantastic opportunity for data capture and the ability to measure the true value of the online shopper journey.

Before considering the massive impact of online research on offline decisions, stats surrounding the actual purchase of products further drills home the need to nail down mobile performance. As much as 45% of e-commerce conversions now occur on mobiles and tablets. And, with that number being north of 50% in the Far East, it’s clear to see that mobile holds within it the potential to grow e-commerce sales further.

The bottom line is that if mobile sites are fully optimised and responsive, research in-store is facilitated, and an effort is made to have an online presence at the start of the buyer journey throughout the Christmas period, retailers can expect a very Happy New Year indeed.