FINANCE

IBM: Cyber Monday sales to hit record, fueled by mobile

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Cyber Monday online sales are up 17.5% over the same period last year as of 6 p.m. EST on Monday, according to IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark.

Mobile traffic accounted for 29.4% of all online traffic, up almost 62% compared to the same period last year.

In other findings from IBM:

  • Smartphones drove 20.2% of all online traffic compared to tablets at 9.2%, making it the browsing device of choice.
  • When it comes to making the sale, tablets drove 9.6% of all online sales, more than one and a half times that of smartphones, which accounted for 5.9%.
  • Tablet users also averaged $129.82 per order, versus smartphone users, who averaged $112.34 per order.
  • Shoppers referred from Facebook averaged $97.46 per order, versus Pinterest referrals, which drove $91.53 per order. Facebook referrals converted sales at the same rate as Pinterest referrals.
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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

BDO survey: Retailers using social media as part of holiday blitz

BY Marianne Wilson

Chicago — A majority (88%) of retailers are using social media as part of their 2013 holiday marketing blitz. But they still remain divided about mobile marketing, with only 38% using it this year, down from 50% in 2012.

Among the retailers who are incorporating social media into their marketing strategy this holiday season, Facebook (99 %) and Twitter (52%) remain the two most popular platforms. Marketers are also increasingly using Pinterest (27%) and YouTube (24%) to engage customers and drive traffic to their e-commerce platforms. A solid 16% of retailers are leveraging Instagram this year, as well, ranging from apparel brands such as Gap and Patagonia to food retailers like Starbucks.

These findings are from the most recent edition of the BDO Retail Compass Survey of CMOs, which examined the opinions of 100 chief marketing officers at leading retailers located throughout the country. The retailers in the study were among the largest in the country, including 11 retailers in the top 100 based on annual sales revenue.

Additional findings from the report include:

  • Seventy-two percent of chief marketing officers plan to allocate roughly the same amount of funds toward holiday marketing and advertising this year as they did in 2012, Although 20% plan to increase their expenditures, retailers anticipate a 1.0% decline in their advertising budgets overall.
  • A plurality of CMOs (41%) are investing most of their holiday budgets in traditional print ads, which have been a consistently popular medium over the last four years. And CMOs still believe in the power of TV to reach a wide audience: 29% say they will spend the majority of their holiday advertising budget on broadcast.
  • The 38% of retailers who are including mobile in their marketing strategy this year are embracing it are ramping up their efforts. Last year, mobile comprised an average of 5.9% of retailers’ overall marketing budget; this year, that number has jumped to 15%.
  • Nearly nine-in-10 CMOs surveyed say that they find it challenging to integrate and manage the massive amount of data available to them, down only slightly from 93% in 2012.
  • Among the top big data obstacles facing retailers are the ability to use data effectively for marketing efforts (44%) and organizing data and developing metrics (22%). To meet these challenges and capitalize on opportunities, major retailers like Wal-Mart and Apple have adopted new, cutting-edge data mining systems, which help contextualize data over time and make it easier to forecast trends.
  • Daily deals appear to be losing steam, as only one quarter of retailers anticipate using the tactic during the holidays, down from 42% in 2012. Flash sales were the top mobile promotion strategy for a plurality (30%) of retailers last year. This year, only 5% of retailers cite flash sales as their primary mobile tactic. Overall, greater emphasis on text message campaigns (33%) and mobile coupons (28%) point to a shift in mobile strategy. Retailers such as Starbucks, which is once again promoting weekly holiday offers via text, are moving to capitalize on the fact that 98% of text messages are opened and viewed, according to research from SinglePoint.
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REAL ESTATE

Report: Amazon opens pop-up in San Francisco

BY Staff Writer

New York — Online giant Amazon has opened a pop-up store in Westfield San Francisco Centre, San Francisco. The pop-up sells Kindle tablets and e-readers, as well as branded covers and power adapters from vending machines, according to The Wall Street Journal. It is one of a handful of pop-ups the company has opened in malls.

Citing one of the employees at the location, WSJ reported that the pop-up store would close after two weeks.

An Amazon spokeswoman told WSJ that the temporary stores were in a handful of malls as part of a marketing campaign.

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