By Leena Rao
As we witnessed last year, mobile has become an integral part of the holiday shopping experience for consumers. And retailers started to pick up on this, with more mobile-friendly sites, experiences, offers and more. In this year's holiday shopping season, we're going to be seeing a number of new trends and developments in mobile commerce, says Todd Pollack, Google's Head of Retail. The search giant has issued a survey today, which attempts to capture some of the key trends we'll see in the coming months during the holiday rush.
Last year, we saw a sophistication using technology to inform customer's purchase decision, with consumers far ahead of retailers when it came to using digital resources like price comparison tools and more, Pollack explains. But this year retailers are really betting on mobile, both in-store and on the web.
Pollack says that retailers like Target (NYSE:TGT) and Walmart (NYSE:WMT) are making additional investments in their mobile apps to capture consumers in-store with offers, additional inventory and more. For example, Target just added in-store QR codes to the top 20 toys of the season so in case a toy is sold out in-store, a shopper can just scan the code and purchase the item online.
With 51 percent of people researching online, and purchasing items in a store, retailers need to engage with consumers both in-store and online.
Another example of retailers investing in mobile is actually making sales representatives in-store more knowledgeable with the addition of mobile devices. Macy's (NYSE:M) is putting tablets in the hands of their sales reps so in case a customer has a question about an item or an item is sold out, the rep can provide the proper info for the customer, and potentially keep the sale.
"Companies are recognizing that websites are not just about ecommerce, they are a gateway to the brand. It used to just be about the transaction, but now consumers need access to mobile, inventory, and more," says Pollack.
A few trends that Pollack noted are the increase in online video as part of the shopping experience, the exponential growth in mobile query volume, and the focus on using multiple devices for shopping, including an iPad, smartphone and computer.
Other stats from the study Google issued today: 54% of consumers will start holiday shopping before Black Friday; 46% of consumers plan to spend more time shopping around for gifts this year because of the economy; while consumers are researching early, 31% plan to do the majority of their holiday shopping in early/mid December; 37% of consumers say search is their go-to source for gift ideas, and 51% plan to research online but buy in-store; 4 in 5 mobile/tablet owners will use their device for holiday shopping, and mobile users continue searching after Christmas.