As always, the 2022 holiday season will present some amazing opportunities for ecommerce businesses and marketplaces. With online shopping continuing to be popular and continually evolving, as well as the unprecedented boost during the COVID-19 pandemic, many online retailers can’t rely on chance as they approach Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the holidays this year.
Let’s look at the U.S. holiday-season trends from 2021 for insights that could help you make the most of your marketing strategies this winter.
A holiday season spending record
Sources for graph and statistics: Adobe: Consumers spent $10.7 billion on Cyber Monday; Adobe: U.S. consumers spent a record $204 billion online
- Consumers spent $33.9 billion during Cyber Week 2021, a decrease of 1.4 percent year over year.
- $10.7 billion was spent online by the end of Cyber Monday, also a decrease of 1.4% YoY from the 2020 record set by the most monumental online shopping day in U.S. history.
- 2021 season spending (November 1–29) totaled $109.8 billion (11.9% YoY growth).
- Over the course of the complete 2021 holiday season (November 1–December 31), $204.5 billion was spent, an increase of 8.6% YoY.
- Mobile-phone users represent a growing segment of total holiday spending, accounting for 43% of online sales. This represented a slight increase from 2020, when mobile accounted for 40%. Desktop and laptop computers are still the main way that people shop online.
- Curbside pickup was utilized in 23% of online orders.
- The average curbside pick-up order was $91.
- Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) revenue increased 27% YoY, with average spending of $224 per order using this method.
- Online shoppers viewed more than 6 billion out-of-stock messages, a 253% increase from the 2019 holiday season (prior to the pandemic) and a 10% increase YoY.
Build a solid ecommerce foundation for
To leverage the latest trends in the online shopping customer experience and holiday shopping in particular, you can:
- Configure and fine-tune the relevance of your search and navigation results. Use synonyms and adjust your language settings to take users to their desired products even when they search using words that are slightly different than those in your product catalog.
- Provide query suggestions to guide users and shorten the time they have to spend searching. Before they start entering a query, you can suggest popular searches, categories, and promoted products. This is especially powerful for users typing on tiny-screen mobile devices.
- Optimize your ecommerce platform for mobile and other devices besides desktop computers
- Ensure a seamless omnichannel experience to enhance and maintain customer satisfaction and loyalty
Optimize your merchandising strategy
- Take advantage of analytics to see what your customers are searching for this holiday season, then leverage this insight in your marketing strategy
- Use promotional banners to draw shoppers’ attention to your highlighted products and categories
- Hide out-of-stock products or push them to the bottom of search results
- Pin products and categories such as doorbusters to the top of search and category pages
- Recommend products on product pages: to increase order volume, suggest related items or those that are frequently bought together
technology stack is robust
Ensure that your
According to our 2021 Online Commerce Trends Survey, in the 2020 holiday season, 65% of ecommerce companies found that their ability to meet demand was insufficient, 47% were unable to scale to meet the demand, and 25% wanted to be able to iterate and merchandise more effectively.
One key to having a flexible, scalable, and reliable ecommerce platform is an upgrade from a traditional commerce architecture to a composable commerce (headless architecture), which could look something like this:
Benefits of composable commerce
With a composable commerce approach, you can:
- Easily replace parts: your decisions need to be business driven, and not limited by an outdated tech stack ‘s architecture. You want modern technology with the ability to quickly fix anything that’s not giving you the results you expect. Decoupling the front end from the back end and using API-first solutions gives you the freedom to quickly iterate and minimize time and resources for infrastructural change.
- Minimize your time to market: in the fast-moving world of ecommerce, what worked in the past for your business needs might no longer be effective. That means you need the ability to quickly launch new apps and maintain your momentum by continually bringing new capabilities to your ecommerce platform.
- Offer easy curbside pickup: to ensure instant stock availability information, your stock management system must be connected to your ecommerce store. Coupled with buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) functionality, this will impress your customers, who may prefer curbside pickup instead of waiting in line in the physical store. And the closer the holidays get, the more attractive BOPIS may look compared with more-expensive and less timely shipping alternatives.
- Let shoppers save search alerts: minimize the chances of losing potential customers who get discouraged or can’t buy an item they’re searching for due to logistics or stock limitations. How? By offering to automatically alert them when an item that matches their saved search becomes available.
- Send recommendation email: avoid ineffective cookie-cutter email marketing and ensure a personalized approach with every customer. For your registered or returning customers, make machine-learning-based recommendations in Black Friday promotional email. If a logged-in customer browses a category on your site, recommend best-rated products in that category. If a shopper just bought a product, recommend others that are frequently bought together or related to their purchase.
- Utilize social-media marketing tools: social media commerce options are now a “must have” for success-seeking retailers and marketplaces. Social media sites like Wechat, Instagram, and Facebook are not just marketing tools, they’re full-service ecommerce platforms. Put them to work for your bottom line.
- Provide voice search: convenient voice-assistant devices (think Alexa or Siri, or in-app voice searching) are already extremely popular with shoppers. The voice-search-enabled ecommerce market is expected to grow to more than $80 billion annually by 2023, so offering shoppers easy voice search could potentially maximize your 2022 holiday profits.
- Go omnichannel starting on Black Friday: seamlessly blend your ecommerce experiences and in-store shopping experiences to ensure that your customer satisfaction isn’t derailed by any one shopping channel. Whether your shoppers prefer using a voice assistant, an in-store kiosk, a mobile device, a desktop computer, or social media, you must ensure that the user experience is excellent and that each of your channels is well integrated with the others.
Make 2022 your best online retail year yet
The unprecedented growth of retail ecommerce, coupled with the evolution of multifaceted customer shopping behavior, means that companies must continually adapt to meet customer needs. During critical sales periods like the holiday season, it pays to go beyond traditional Cyber Week sales and marketing strategies and roll out advanced ecommerce capabilities.
Ensuring that your tech stack is ready to handle the pressure of the biggest sales season starts with a well-planned composable architecture built to withstand any and all seasonal shopping pressure. Give your retail business a gift that’s likely to keep on giving: get your site or app ready now to take advantage of everything the holidays have to offer you this year.
Want some personalized advice? Request a free search audit. We’ll check out your site and give you recommendations on how to improve your online store for this Black Friday.