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Black Friday is right around the corner. As families and friends plan out their turkey day festivities, savvy shoppers are also cooking up game plans for scoring the best deals. These plans, however, are changing as consumer preferences and behaviors evolve.

Take a surprising statistic that emerged from last year’s Black Friday. According to an Adobe Analytics report, the Friday after Thanksgiving was the first day in history to see more than $2 billion in sales stemming from smartphones, with mobile representing 33.5 percent of e-commerce sales.

Clearly, Black Friday is changing fast. The question is, what are you doing to keep pace?


Multichannel Brings Major Revenue

The success of the 2018 holiday season pointed to one group in particular – multichannel shoppers. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), more than 89 million people shopped both online and in stores last season, up nearly 40 percent year-over-year.  They also spent about $93 more than single-channel shoppers.

E-commerce also emerged as a force to reckon with. Cyber Monday attracted 67.4 million shoppers, but it didn’t stop there. Consider this:

  • Last year, Thanksgiving Day online sales hit 3.7 billion (up 28 percent YoY).
  • Online Black Friday sales totaled $6.22 billion.
  • Click-and-collect orders were up 73 percent.

The big winners were retailers that allowed shoppers to interact with them seamlessly across touchpoints.  According to NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay, “For several years, we’ve been talking about the dynamic nature of the retail industry and the speed of change necessary to meet the consumer demand. This year’s research clearly shows that the investments made by retailers are paying off in a big way.”

To help you prepare for the holidays, we’ve got last year’s results, 2019 predictions, and a download of Pivotree’s Holiday Prep Guide.


Predictions for the 2019 Holiday Season

Initial observations from NRF show that consumers are in good financial shape and retailers can expect strong holiday spending this year. The 2019 forecast for holiday retail sales in November and December shows an increase between 3.8 percent and 4.2 percent, reaching up to $730.7 billion.

There will be some challenges, however. In addition to uncertainty around global risk factors, the holiday season will be shorter by almost a full week.

What else can retailers expect? Here are a few key predictions shared by Retail Touchpoints:

  • Consumers are expected to spend an average of $1,047.83 this holiday season, up 4 percent YoY.
  • E-commerce will see 13 percent growth for a total of $13 billion.
  • Mobile will continue to shine, with 84 percent relying on mobile phones to research products, price compare, and check reviews.
  • Brick-and-mortar is still important to the multichannel mix – 90 percent of shoppers say they’ll make purchases from a physical store.


Five Tips for Holiday Season Success

As we’ve seen in the past few years, Black Friday shopping has truly evolved, driven by shifts in shopper behavior and retail strategy.

As you prep for this year and plan for the future, here are five tips to help:

  • Plan Early: More than half of holiday shoppers said they start researching potential purchases in October or before, and purchases are starting earlier than ever. As you tackle Black Friday 2019, start strategizing now for how you can improve in 2020.
  • Make It Seamless: In-store shopping satisfies a desire for “old-fashioned” holiday traditions, while digital browsing reigns for its convenience and product/price comparison. When channels work together, the retailer wins with bigger revenue. Competition is fierce, and shoppers will jump ship if you aren’t providing a seamless experience.
  • Know Your Customer: Consumers rely on personalized recommendations to cut through the noise and fill up shopping baskets to qualify for free shipping and promotions. Managing your customer data, commerce capabilities, and product information is becoming more crucial than ever. If you don’t have the infrastructure in place to excel in these areas, now is the time to start.
  • Have a Holistic Plan: It’s not just about Black Friday anymore. Shoppers are also taking advantage of Thanksgiving Day, Cyber Monday, Green Monday, Free Shipping Day, and post-Christmas sales. Retailers must be able to support agile pricing and traffic spikes on all major shopping days.
  • Continue the Connection: The holiday season is a big chance for retailers to build long-term brand loyalty. While revenue is often the focus during the winter holidays, remember that this is a chance to make a lasting impact with your shoppers and keep them coming back year-round.


Get a Game Plan

Holiday shopping can account for as much as 30 percent of annual sales for retailers. Depending on your systems’ ability to handle the ebb and flow of traffic, that day can either be a story of success or a major fiasco.

Holiday readiness services can make a huge difference and the right holiday strategies. For example, one Pivotree client saw an average 800 percent increase in user sessions during Black Friday 2018, and it proved to be a great success.



Are your commerce channels and strategies ready for the big shopping season? Let us help. Click here to download our guide, Holiday Prep for eCommerce.
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