Christmas Shopping Trends 2018: Marketing with Mobile and Social

Christmas is typically a peak selling season and the UK is no exception. Referred to as the Golden Quarter, predictions for 2018 retail sales are at a staggering £98.8 billion[i]. 51% of UK shoppers now prefer to shop online rather than in store[ii], and during the 2017 festive season, a third of all purchases came from smartphone users[iii]. Added to the fact that eCommerce stores with a social presence have 32% more sales on average compared to stores that don’t[iv], it’s imperative to make sure your business is leveraging these channels. In this blog post, we look at the latest Christmas shopping trends, and how retailers can capitalise on the spending bonanza using mobile and social.

Shaking things up with the Pinterest Gift Globe

In time for Christmas, Pinterest launched two new gift finding services. The platform’s ‘Gift Globe’ allows shoppers to search for gifts after scanning their recipients Pinterest boards. Taking seconds to run a search, mobile users also have the option of shaking their devices to refresh their set of suggested gifts. Pinterest also recently launched the Etsy Gift Guide. Shoppers simply fill in a virtual gift tag describing what and for whom they’re looking for, as well as an adjective to describe that person; resulting in personalised Etsy product recommendations. 87% of users say this helps them find the right products, with 66% agreeing it assists with last-minute gift ideas[v].

New shopping feature on Instagram

Social networks are having a growing influence on shopping habits, and smart retailers have realised the huge potential of user data held on these platforms. Not only does the data contain customer preference insights using ‘likes’, it also contains warm leads as shoppers already follow many brands they love. This year, Instagram launched a ‘shopping tags’ feature to its 1 billion active users[vi]. This seamless feature enables a ‘tap-to-see-more’ function where uses can view prices and product information, without leaving the app. In just two taps, users are on the retailer’s page, ready to add the item to their shopping basket.

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Targeting social users by age

Age distribution across social media platforms varies, but 16-34-year-olds make up 50% or more across them all[vii]. Personalisation and relevancy are essential when marketing to this group. With so much user data being produced, retailers can get creative with tailored advertising that resonates and connects, rather than selling to the masses. That’s not to say you should forget about your older audience. Instead, adapt your social marketing to best suit the end user. Facebook usage in the 60+ age range is at 67%, whilst Snapchat usage is at 1%[viii];  proof that retailers can optimise their campaigns for maximum effectiveness and as a result, less spend and improve sales

Maximum convenience, Minimum effort 

So how can retailers take advantage of these opportunities? The key ingredient is convenience. It’s the number one reason shoppers choose e-commerce over store purchases[ix]. As a minimum, your mobile offering should be as easy and intuitive as your desktop version. One example is mirroring saved items and shopping baskets cross-platform; putting the customer in control of where they choose to complete a purchase, and removing the need to re-add items makes life so much easier.

Another example is In-app fingerprint authorisation for purchases, taking the hassle out of making mobile purchases and giving customers one less hurdle to overcome on their purchase journey.

Mobile should no longer be considered as an individual channel. In reality, it connects sales channels by linking in-store with digital, and your strategy should capitalise on this. Instead of an afterthought, it should be a primary focus. Start by gaining an understanding of your customers and analysing your site visitors – where they come from, how they access your channels, what device they use, and how they prefer to engage is a great place to start. Understanding these key criteria will help you decide what platform to use, be it social, apps, or website; and create the first step towards a successful marketing strategy.