Shopping on Black Friday has long been an American tradition, but it's not what it used to be. We've gone from flash-sales and spending hours standing in line, to week long deals that you can shop from the comfort of your home. Has your Black Friday strategy evolved with the rest?
For decades Black Friday has been one of the most anticipated shopping holidays of the year. Prior to the widespread use of the internet, shoppers would literally camp outside of stores in an effort to score deep discounts on Black Friday. The prospect of getting their hands on a good deal was so appealing to some shoppers that they were willing to become physically violent with other consumers. In 2008, a Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death by a herd of consumers on a blind rush for Black Friday bargains. In 2011, one shopper was so desperate to get a Black Friday deal on an Xbox game that she pepper-sprayed the crowd standing around the Xbox game display.
Today's Consumers are Opting to Skip the Crowds and Shop Online
Flash forward to 2018 and the crowd outside of stores on Black Friday is a bit different. While some consumers like the tradition of gathering with the masses to take advantage of in-store discounts, more shoppers than ever are choosing to skip the crowds and make Black Friday purchases online.
While the numbers are still coming in, it's estimated that Black Friday generated a record-breaking $23 billion in sales for retailers in 2018. What's particularly notable about this year's Black Friday is that $6.22 billion of this amount came from online sales, which is 23.6 percent higher than the previous year.
More Consumers are Shopping Online Via Mobile Devices
In addition to the smaller crowds at the shopping malls this year on Black Friday, another notable shift is that many of these online consumers are shopping and making purchases from their mobile devices. In 2018, approximately $2 billion Black Friday purchases were made via smartphone devices. Businesses that focused on building better mobile website experiences for users can pat themselves on the back as they're responsible for turning 10 percent more smartphone visitors into buyers on Black Friday 2018.
Black Friday 2018 is an Indication of the Rise of the Digital Storefront
Given the convenience and wealth of resources that online shopping offers, it's no wonder that more consumers are choosing to shop from the comfort of their own couches via their laptop or mobile device. Marketers have been aware of the shift from in-store to online purchases for some time now; however, the $6.22 billion in online purchases on Black Friday is further confirmation of the rise of the digital storefront.
The Evolving Role of Social Media in Online Purchases
Visually-driven social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat have recently rolled out shoppable posts where consumers can scroll through their feed, see a product that piques their interest, and begin the purchase process with the simple click of a button. By lowering the number of steps that consumers need to take to make a purchase, shopper ads are able to deliver a higher engagement rate. Another reason why shoppable ads are successful is because they're able to tap into human preferences and serve content to the right audience at the right time.
With social media platforms rolling out shoppable advertising solutions to brands, it's clear that social media will have a critical role in the e-commerce space. In fact, the term "social commerce" is becoming a popular buzzword. Forward-thinking brands that make social media part of their e-commerce strategy now will have a competitive advantage as we enter into the new year.
The Importance of Selecting the Right e-Commerce Partner
Research shows that 79 percent of U.S. consumers (8 in 10 Americans) are making purchases online. As businesses continue to improve the performance of their websites and ease the online purchase process, we can expect this number to continue to grow. Partnering with the right e-commerce development company will allow you to reap the benefits of evolving social commerce tools such as shoppable ads and ensure that you have a high-performing e-commerce website that helps to drive sales for your business.
With the new year right around the corner, now is the ideal time to revisit your e-commerce strategy and determine if your current website, social media presence, and digital advertising strategy have your business poised to succeed in 2019. With more consumers than ever turning to the internet to research products and make purchases, you need to make sure that you're putting your best foot forward with your online presence as the new storefront is the digital storefront.
Our team at New York Ave can help your business to create an intuitive e-commerce website that is designed to convert visitors into paying customers. We also have the social media expertise to allow you to take advantage of the latest social commerce tools such as shoppable ads to raise brand awareness and drive sales for your business.
Contact us at New York Ave to revitalize your e-commerce strategy and start your year off on the right foot in 2019!