Category Archives: Shopping

Why Consumers Are Using Social Media For Holiday Shopping

Recently, we posted information on ways consumers are using social media during gift buying.  Today, we’ll look at the specific social media functions social networkers are using when making gift decisions.

shutterstock_20917339• Over four in 10 online consumers checked out reviews on social media when making a holiday purchase decision

• Nearly 20% looked at online wish lists

• Over 10% engaged in online discussions with social friends about things they may purchase

• Roughly one in 10 reviewed a gift recipient’s Facebook page for information or checked out photos the recipient may have placed online

• Less than 10% followed brands on social media to see what popular gifts might be, gone to pinterest to see things that the recipient might have “pinned” or looked to see what holiday gifts were trending on social media sites

• Other social media actions consumers engaged in were seeing what products had a lot of  “likes”, watched product demonstration videos or followed a gift recipient on Twitter to see what they might like as a gift

What Does This Mean To You?
Social media gives great insight into who consumers are and what they
buy.  It also can be great to promote your offerings.  With competition
as stiff as it is for the holiday dollar, what are you doing to leverage
social media?  If product reviews are important to shoppers, odds are
reviews of your business are important too.  If you haven’t  taken a
social inventory yet, you need to.  If it’s been a while since you’ve
looked at what people are saying about you online, it’s time to look
You may find that there are some good reviews that you can use as virtual testimonials.
You also may find negative postings, out of date information or
unanswered questions.  While positive comments are hidden gems that can
create new business, negative or out of date information can push
shoppers away – possibly to your competition.  Unanswered questions may
falsely portray your company as one that doesn’t care about its
customers.   For more information on how to create a social reputation that will bring you business,  please contact your Sun Sentinel representative or:
Julie Otto
Advertising Marketing Manager

Source: eMarketer; ConsumerSearch


How Big Was Cyber Monday?

Last month, we had a post that looked at the reasons why consumers were shopping on Cyber Monday.  All indications point to lots of businesses having ecommerce success during the first official weekend of holiday shopping.

shutterstock_119962987• Total online sales on Cyber Monday reached nearly $1.5 billion – making it the biggest day for ecommerce in US history

• Cyber Monday shopping increased nearly 30% from last year

• Thanksgiving Day online shopping had the second highest year over year gain at 20%

• Ecommerce sales for Black Friday were up 17%, the Saturday after was up 15% and the Sunday prior to Cyber Monday saw a 19% jump

• The top day for mobile shopping was Black Friday.  Over half of iPhone users and over 40% of Android user shopped on their mobile device on Black Friday

• In total, 28% of Mac users and 23% of Windows users shopped online during Cyber Monday

What Does This Mean To You?
Holiday shopping is no longer just about hitting the stores; it’s also about filling the electronic shopping cart.  With so many consumers using their desktop, laptop and mobile devices to make holiday purchases, what are you doing to ensure you get your share of the shopping?
Do you offer an ecommerce option?
Is there a mobile companion for your online storefront?
How are you promoting your ecommerce capabilities?
Ecommerce and Mcommerce are all about convenience for the consumer.  It gives them the ability to shop when they want to.  As hectic as the holidays are, online and mobile shopping gives shoppers the gift of time and eases the stress of dealing with holiday crowds.
If you have an online shopping option, you need to promote it and the value you offer.  While you may not be able to compete with major online retailers in the price arena, things like easy returns and exchanges are important when buying someone a gift.  For more information on how you can be competitive with Ecommerce and Mcommerce solutions, please contact your Sun Sentinel representative or:
Julie Otto
Advertising Marketing Manager

Source: Marketing Vox; comScore; Exelate

The Importance of Gift Cards

A few weeks ago, we had a post on the types of gifts shoppers plan to give this year.  Gift cards came out as one of the top presents people plan to give. Knowing what types of gift cards people plan to give can help you create a gift card strategy for your business or what gift card vendor your business should do business with.

shutterstock_112219064• Gift cards are going to be a major purchase this year – reports show that roughly half to three quarters of consumers will buy a gift card as a present this year

• Four in 10 consumers plan to give 1 -3 gift cards this holiday season

• A quarter of shoppers plan to give 4 to 6 gift cards

• Gift cards to discount retailers will be the most purchased – 36% of consumers expect to buy cards to that store type

• One in four consumers gift cards purchased will be for a restaurant

• One in five cards bought will be for a prepaid multi-use card such as a prepaid Visa or an online only retailers such Amazon or iTunes

• 17% of holiday gift card buyers will buy a card for a regular department store

• 15% of gift cards purchased will be from a specialty retailer or from an electronics retailer

What Does This Mean To You?

If your company doesn’t have a gift card available for itself, it might be something you wish to explore. Partnering with a vendor who sells cards for other companies may also be something to think about.
Not only are consumers buying them as gifts, they are the type of present the most consumers want to receive.  Gift cards make a great point of purchase sale – especially during the holidays.  Shoppers are in a hurry and gift cards are a clean, easy purchase to make.  If your business sells greeting cards, that is another place to locate them.  For more information on how to make your company more profitable for the holidays and beyond, please contact your Sun Sentinel representative or:
Julie Otto
Advertising Marketing Manager

Source: Mobile Commerce Daily; Deloitte

How Consumers Use Smart Phones In-store During Holiday Shopping

There is mounting evidence that “showrooming” will be commonplace this holiday season.  One of the benefits that mobile consumers find while shopping is that smart phones give them all the information they need.  This can lead to showrooming.  Smart phone functionality can also be used to reinforce the value of making purchases in stores.

shutterstock_117336892• Close to 70% of holiday shoppers said they will use their smart phones in stores this year

• Nearly 60% of these “smart” shoppers are planning to check or compare prices

• Roughly four in 10 will get product information or scan a barcode associated with products

• 36% will use mobile devices to find discounts, coupons or other information on sales

• Over one-third will read reviews

• Just under a quarter will check product availability mobil-ly

• Approximately one in five shop or browse via mobile web

• 16% receive text messages or exclusive offers from retailers

• 14% plan to access social networks on their mobile device

• Roughly one in 10 will use geo-location applications

What Does This Mean To You?

Mobile’s affect on all shopping – not just holiday buying – is going to continue to grow. During the holidays, when consumers are short on time, making purchases  for the best deals – mobile’s impact is just amplified.  Some of the mobile activities that consumers engage in can help you mitigate “showrooming”.  Nearly 40% of shoppers are scanning bar codes.  Utilizing QR with custom messages promoting the value of shopping in-store can sway shoppers to complete there purchases in-store.  Permission-based SMS campaigns can being the same affect.  Using virtual testimonials in your social entities are also something that can draw traffic in-store and keep keep them shopping there.  Consumers are looking for the quickest and easiest way to get through the holidays – but they also don’t want to pay too much. If you leverage mobile functionality to keep sales in-store, you will diminish the affect “showrooming” can have on your business.  For more information on how mobile can make your holiday sales stronger, please contact your Sun Sentinel representative or:
Julie Otto
Advertising Marketing Manager

Source: Mobile Commerce Daily; Deloitte

Social Media and Holiday Shopping

Social media has become a major influence on consumers.  In yesterday’s post, we showed information on were consumers learn about new holiday items – social media being one of those places. Today, we’ll look at how consumers are using social media when making holiday purchases.

shutterstock_101250643• Nearly half of all holiday shoppers use social media during the purchase process

• The top reason consumers used social media was to find discounts – 54% of consumers who used social media during the holiday purchasing did so to find a discount or offer

• Over half researched gift ideas

• 47% read reviews

• 43% checked to see what family and friends wanted as gifts

• Just over four in 10 browsed products

• Nearly 30% posted comments or shared links

• More than one in four visited a retailer’s fan page

What Does This Mean To You?

Your social networking sites are often the face of your business.  Make sure that you promote your offers and discounts there as well as your desktop and mobile sites. For holidays, it may make sense to create special social network pages linked from your main page.  This will give you the opportunity to create unique selling and messaging opportunities.
Nearly half of social consumers are looking at reviews and over a quarter make comments – these activities can have a direct bearing on whether the shoppers make a purchase from you.  Customers pay attention to social reputations and a large percentage of consumers will not do business with a company who has unanswered questions or issues in their social feeds.  Positive comments, on the other hand, serve as virtual testimonials and can help boost business.  For more information on using social media to increase sales, please contact your Sun Sentinel representative or:
Julie Otto
Advertising Marketing Manager

Source: Mobile Commerce Daily; Deloitte

Where Holiday Shoppers Learn About New Items

“Jingle All The Way” might be one of the B list holiday movies but its storyline plays out every year.
There’s always one toy on the list that is virtually impossible to find – you go to the store and it’s sold out. You go online and there are none available.  You check with friends and they tell you that they found it…weeks ago.  Have you ever wondered how people hear about the items they intend to purchase for the holidays?  A new report chronicles the sources of information consumers use to learn about holiday gifts.

shutterstock_71205736• Over two-thirds of shoppers use digital tools to learn about the things they plan to buy

• For adults age 18-24, nearly 80% get their information via social media, online or mobile means – as do over 70% of those aged 25-34

• Six in 10 get inspiration from traditional media

• Nearly 60% learn about gifts from friends
or family

• Just over one-third get the idea to buy a certain item from catalogs

What Does This Mean To You?

Long-gone are the days of the old Sears Wish Book.  The toys were
conveniently located in the middle of the catalog and it always seemed
to open to the ultra cool GI Joe battle scene or the bridge of the USS
Enterprise with its spinning teleporter room.  The toys were never as
cool as the pictures.
Today, digital tools are the primary way
holiday shoppers learn about the gifts they intend to buy. And because
most sites have places to post and read comments, you find out that
Barbie’s playhouse has over 100 parts and takes over 3 hours to put
together.  The digital revolution has given shoppers all the information
they need.  Mobile has made that information more powerful and
portable.  It has also given you more opportunities to create unique
selling opportunities and set yourself apart from the competition.  Take
time to look at all of your digital promotional entities.
Does it give customers a reason to shop at your location?
Does it set you apart from your competitors?
Does it easily tell consumers where you are located and how to contact you?
The holidays are very busy, shoppers make quick decisions.  If your
site, mobile space and social presences don’t help bring customers to
you, then you are doing yourself a disservice.  In tomorrow’s post,
we’ll take a look at the influence social media has over holiday
shopping.  For more information on digital campaigns that will bring you
great holiday success,, please contact your Sun Sentinel representative or:
Julie Otto
Advertising Marketing Manager

Source: Mobile Commerce Daily; Deloitte

Places Holiday Consumers Plan To Shop

Since the holidays started, it seems like all of the stores are
crowded.  But some stores are getting more traffic than others.  New
data suggests that shoppers plan to spend more money at certain types of
retailers than others.

•Over half of holiday shoppers plan to spend time in a big-box, discount retailer this holiday season

• Just over a quarter will shop at a traditional department store or an electronics retailer

Roughly 20% will spend money at an outlet center or an off-price store

• One in five will also shop at a toy store or warehouse club

15% will be spending money at a restaurant for gifts as well as home improvement and sporting goods stores

• Just over 10% will spend shop at a drug store or dollar store this holiday season

• Virtual shopping is going to remain a frequent shopping behavior. 45% of consumers plan to shop online for gifts – that’s an increase of 10% from last year

• In fact, 23% of holiday consumers plan to do the majority of their shopping online

What Does This Mean To You?

The competition for holiday dollars will continue to be stiff.  Big box stores, online retailers and outlet centers are going to be key shopping locations for holiday consumers.
Many consumers are going to be consolidating trips to conserve gasoline this year as well.  To make this the merriest of seasons you need to create offers that consumers want, promote them in media vehicles they trust & rely on and leverage every possible advantage you may have.  If your location is in a place, or near a place that attracts shoppers – promote that in your offers.
If you are going to free or discounted shopping – let consumers know about it.
If you are having an event or have special holiday offers – include it in your message.  Show shoppers how convenient doing business with you can be. For more information on how to generate great results this holiday season, please contact your Sun Sentinel representative or:
Julie Otto
Advertising Marketing Manager

Source: Mobile Commerce Daily; Deloitte