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Smarter Commerce | September 21, 2014

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2011 Holiday Readiness (Part 1) - You must be this tall for the ride. . .

The economic roller coaster still seems to be in full effect, but the 2010 holiday season provided some hope for online retailers and the recently released IBM Coremetrics 4th Annual North America Online Retail Holiday Readiness Report shared even more good news as we start the approach into the 2011 holiday season.

This year’s holiday guide provided numerous insights, but there were just a few trends that stood out that I think are worth exploring further: increases in social and mobile traffic and the continuing effort to capture and understand customer behavior over time and across sessions.

Social media is the “it” topic and will continue to be as marketers are still experimenting with this area of investment. As the holiday report showed, only about 1% of site traffic to retail sites is coming from social channels. However, the conversion rate of visitors from social sites was double that of visitors from the traditional online channels. What does this mean? Well, it could mean that this segment of the population has a higher propensity to convert… or it could mean that this population of traffic is still too small to make a sound conclusion. Either way, marketers need to have visibility into these types of metrics to understand if this trend sticks or if it’s a blip on the radar.

Meanwhile, mobile browsing and shopping has surged since the 2010 holiday season – with the latest figures for June showing mobile traffic at nearly 8.5%. It’s no surprise that this trend has come hand-in-hand with the growing adoption of smartphones by the US population. Mobile sales as a percentage of overall site business nearly doubled in the reporting period with mobile shopping poised to break into double digits by the end of 2011. Mobile is a complicated a space with all of the different device types, providers and operating systems (and that’s just in the US), therefore it’s rather difficult for marketers to know where to invest. I say start simple, but start somewhere. How are you measuring your mobile traffic today? What pages, content and or products are they looking at? What devices are they using – this has a pretty major impact on the type of development that will be required.

We’ll look at additional steps in a preparing for this holiday season in my next post so stay tuned!
Lee Isensee
Product Marketing Manager
IBM Enterprise Marketing Management

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