The Multiscreen Shopper Has Emerged, and Other Findings From the IBM Smarter Commerce Twitter Chat
The 2012 holiday season is in full swing, and e-commerce earnings for retailers are projected to be record breaking. IBM Smarter Commerce held a Twitter chat yesterday to recap the lessons learned, emerging trends and final results of the chaos that was Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Week.
Moderated by Forrester Research Analyst Sucharita Mulpuru (@smulpuru), the chat featured Richard Feinberg (@richardfeinberg), professor of consumer sciences and retailing at Purdue University, and Jill Puleri (@jpuleri), IBM Global Retail Lead, not to mention the Twitterverse. Participants deliberated mobile commerce and how the multiscreen shopper will impact holiday sales this year. Tweeters were asked to use hashtag #smartershopping to follow the chat.
"Q1 This holiday was record breaking. What surprised you most this holiday season? Any standout trends or stats? #smartershopping" @smulpuru
Puleri noted that it's become clear that consumers are shopping for specific items through different channels. "Specifically, people are using mobile to shop for clothes online, but are shopping for home goods in the physical store #smartershopping," she tweeted.
Another trend Puleri discussed was the increase in home goods sales this holiday season. Sales were up nearly 8 percent in-store and 27 percent online. "Holiday shopping is usually about clothes & toys. This #trend gives meaning to the phrase "Home for the Holidays. #smartershopping."
Feinberg noted that Amazon.com was the most visited site during the period, with 28 million visitors, and that the retailer has "clearly emerged as a cyberforce beyond books #smartercommerce." He also touched on the fact that consumers are no longer just shopping on Cyber Monday. Actually, it's become Cyber December. "Make everyday cyberMonday #smartercommerce," he tweeted.
"Q2 How were shoppers shopping this holiday? Were they using tablets? How did Couch Commerce come into play? #smartershopping" @smulpuru
Mulpuru tweeted, "Mobile buying usually isn't the #1 use of phones while shopping but it was during Thanksgiving weekend."
Both Feinberg and Puleri agreed that tablets and mobile devices played a large role in retailers' success over Cyber Week, with Puleri tweeting "This was clearly the year of the multiscreen shopper! #smartershopping #smartercommerce." Feinberg added the following: "The paddification of shopping has just begun. The iPad emerged as a significant shopping platform #smartershopping."
It is according to Puleri. "Consumers were shopping from their smartphones even during Thanksgiving dinner! It was the new utensil this holiday. Couch Commerce even played a role, with the iPad generating more traffic than any other tab or smartphone #CyberMonday #smartershopping," she tweeted.
"Q4 Tell us about the multiscreen shopper - how did this phenomenon impact holiday shopping this year? #smartershopping" @smulpuru
Puleri tweeted "58% of consumers used smartphones compared to 42% who used tablets to surf for bargains on Cyber Monday #smartershopping." While consumers are using multiple devices and finding them to be convenient tools, this isn't necessarily good news for retailers, according to Feinberg. "Anything that makes it easier to compare & contrast products & prices gives power to the consumer hurts some retailers #smartershopping," he tweeted.
"A5 Shoppers' positive consumer sentiment on promotions, product availability and convenience all grew over #BlackFriday #smartershopping," Puleri tweeted. What's more, "Positive sentiment around retailers themselves also maintained its overall three to one ratio #smartershopping," she added.
"Q6 What tips do you have for retailers, marketers, or CMOs to excel in the era of the multiscreen shopper #smartershopping" @smulpuru
Feinberg focused mostly on the retailer-consumer relationship, and how to connect with consumers through loyalty programs. "A6 How a retailer treats their consumers online and in-store affects what the consumer will do online #smartershopping," he tweeted. He followed that tweet with another: "A6 Retailers need to collect emails from consumers & must firm up their loyalty clubs #smartershopping."
Puleri discussed how retailers could further optimize their marketing strategy via social and mobile channels, tweeting "Measure the value of your marketing channels with attribution modeling #smartershopping." She also tweeted, "Coordinate your marketing across multiple channels to drive success. Deliver a consistent experience across channels #smartershopping."