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Holiday Shopping Trends Part II: Omnichannel Shopping

12 December

mobile shoppingIn our last post, we talked about how mobile is changing the way people do their Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping. A study by IBM found that in 2014, one in four Black Friday online purchases were made on a mobile device. “This year was probably the first holiday season that we really saw mobile really take off,” according to Brian Yarbrough, senior retail analyst at Edward Jones.

We started tracking mobile shopping trends a few years ago in focus groups we conducted for Say Media (not affiliated with SayWhat Consumer Research). Early mobile adopters were using the Square app to process credit card transactions on the go, apps to manage and resell purchases, and barcode scanners to easily look up products and competitive prices.

It’s been interesting to observe the trend shifts even within the last few months, like the concept of the “omnichannel shopper” – the consumer who is as comfortable with mobile shopping as they are with the in-store experience. The Washington Post declared, “One especially popular omnichannel effort this year is offering customers the chance to buy an item online and pick it up in a store.” Toys R Us, Wal-Mart, Best Buy and others are having great success with this strategy, with Target reporting 15 percent of its digital orders fulfilled via in-store pick-ups. Last-minute shoppers won’t be disappointed by presents that don’t arrive in time for Christmas, and retailers benefit from reduced shipping costs, as well as a chance to sell additional merchandise when the shopper comes into their store.

We’re going to be watching mobile shopping in 2015, to see if, as one of our focus group participants said, we’re ready and comfortable with leaving the house with just mobile phone and keys—no wallet required.

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