Black Friday is still a big deal to the media, retailers and consumers — but for how much longer? New data from Google reports that U.S. consumers’ approach to the holidays is shifting from a focus on “marathon” shopping days, such as Black Friday, to a steady stream of purchases throughout the holiday shopping season.
Google calls the new approach “micro-moments” — a trend in which consumers research, browse and buy in small increments of time using their smartphones. Although these mobile shopping sessions are shorter, the report describes them as “more purposeful,” and says the share of online purchases made via smartphone has increased 6 percent since last year: Smartphone purchases now account for 30 percent of all online purchases.
There’s good and bad news for entrepreneurs in this data. Google says the transformation to micro-moments is eroding brand loyalty, as consumers focus more on their immediate needs than on particular brands. If your business is there when consumers turn to their phones to research and buy, you can win the business from your competition. But if you’re not, you could lose your customers.
How can your ecommerce or retail business take advantage of these micro-moments?
- Be responsive. Your business website must load quickly, be easy to use on a mobile device, and be simple to navigate. Consumers don’t have a lot of time — that’s why these moments are called micro-moments, after all. If you can’t give them what they need instantly, they’ll turn to a competitor who can.
- Provide relevant, useful information. Your website also has to include the information customers are looking for. That’s the basics, such as your address, phone number and hours of operation; but you can be even more successful if you add more useful details, such as a map, current promotions or a click-to-call button
- Get found. None of the above will matter if your business website doesn’t pop up tops in search results. Make sure your website is listed on all relevant local search directories, as well as on industry-specific ratings and review sites. Create a complete profile of your business in each listing, using photos, testimonials, discount offers or anything that could convince consumers to choose you over your competition.
Retail-related searches on mobile devices have increased by more than 120 percent in the past year, Google reports. In addition, more than half of consumers will use a smartphone for holiday shopping before ever visiting a store this year, and 82 percent will use their smartphones in-store — an increase of 37 percent over last year.
Prepare now to capture these micro-moments: Some 61 percent of holiday shoppers in the survey say they’ll start researching their holiday purchases before Thanksgiving, an increase of 17 percent from last year. And while Black Friday still matters to holiday retail, Google says Sundays are actually the single most popular day of the week for mobile shopping searches.
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Karen Axelton is Chief Content Officer of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her company’s blog at SmallBizDaily.com.