This year, holiday spending is expected to top $1 trillion. This annual increase in holiday shopping will only intensify broader trends in how consumers shop.
It should come as no surprise that mobile shopping and purchasing is the new normal, with 75 percent of smartphone and tablet users purchasing a product or service straight from their device in the last six months. Smartphones are also increasingly bridging the gap between online and offline actions. For instance, 70 percent of people call businesses from mobile search results, and two out of three U.S. consumers will visit a store to supplement mobile product research.
This holiday season and beyond, marketers must create their mobile strategy with the overall customer journey in mind. For example, how can you use mobile to help consumers get questions answered or purchase in their moment of need? How can mobile help facilitate the next step in the customer journey, instead of being a means to an end? This might include featuring directions to a storefront or providing a click-to-call phone number in a mobile search result or promotional email. Or it could mean delivering hyper relevant product recommendations in a mobile app, giving the option to purchase with one click.
I've been inspired by a few brands doing this well. Let's take a look at a couple of approaches:
Nordstrom connects online and brick-and-mortar shopping
Nordstrom understands that an omnichannel strategy should create a seamless experience between mobile, web, and in-store, with each step referencing the last. When you do a mobile search for a product at Nordstrom, you have the option to continue online, click-to-call, or go to the nearest Nordstrom that has the item in stock. If you leave the item in your online cart without purchasing, Nordstrom will retarget you with ads about the item on Facebook and across the web. This is a great example of a brand empowering consumers to purchase when and how they want.
Celebrity Cruises engages travelers before, during, and after they book
For travel companies, mobile is key to reaching customers. Research shows that 47 percent of travelers begin their travel research on mobile. Celebrity Cruises knows that cruises are a big, expensive purchase for most people, and that part of the research process typically includes a conversation. As a result, Celebrity Cruises makes it easy to call directly from a mobile search result or its website. During a phone conversation, Celebrity Cruises gathers your email address and follows up with personalized emails based on your destination and other stated preferences. It's a great example of various channels working together to drive consumers toward that big purchase!
The bottom line
These three brands have created mobile strategies that bridge the divide between online and offline actions. More importantly, they've built experiences that reflect the way their customers want to interact with them -- this holiday season and into 2017.