If you work in digital advertising in the UK, chances are you’ve heard of Cyber Monday. Originally a Christmas marketing campaign to persuade people to shop online after the Thanksgiving weekend in 2005, Cyber Monday now become one of the biggest online shopping days in the USA and this year, the average shopper is predicted to spend US$646 (£402) in online purchases this year, up 11% from 2012.
Online shopping and international delivery meant bargain savvy British shoppers have been able to take advantage of Cyber Monday but in recent years, we’ve started to see our own home-grown version.
eCommerce has remained strong since the start of the recession as customers took advantage lower overheads and instant price comparison between retailers. In 2013 online spend is expected to make up near £62 billion and Brits are expected to spend over 18% of that amount in December. “Clickmas” has been coined by the mainstream media to describe our own Christmas season spending spree that traditionally starts on the first Monday in December – otherwise known as Cyber Monday.
This got me thinking, with our online Yuletide shopping habits starting to look more like the US, what can British brands and advertisers can take away anything from their American counter-parts to be successful this Clickmas?
Looking at the trends from Cyber Monday 2011 and 2012 (and so far in general for 2013), it has to be focused on the individual. As more advertising dollars move online, people are bombarded with more and more advertising and the message really has strike a chord with your customers to attract their attention.
While brands use a profile of last year’s customers to drive big creative campaigns, online advertising affords them the ability to personalise their advertising, and even sections of their website, to the individual in real-time goes a long way to cutting through the white noise and earning customer kudos.
The concept of real-time advertising is now very much a reality. From an advertising perspective, retailers can use their websites to understand what products potential customers are interested in and then use that information to showcase the products in the way that clients are most interested in. What’s more, this dynamic technology can now be applied to a retailer’s website making it even quicker and easier for customers to find what they’re looking for.
But there is no point in the most targeted, interesting and interactive advertising campaign to attract people to your site if they have a bad experience once they’re there and leave before they make any purchases. While site customisation goes part of the way, in 2013 the true reflection of user experience will be mobile.
In the US this year, customers are expected to make 19% of their purchases by tablets and 18% by smartphone (up 15% and 14% respectively from 2012) . Given the tablet ownership in the UK is fairly similar to the US, we should expect to see a similar trend here. But British consumers are still favouring apps as they are more convenient, faster and easier to browse than a mobile website. If retail brands mobile adverts are clicking through to their website, they need to invest in developing creative that works on mobile with a simplified purchase process otherwise, they’ll end up with frustrated customers and potentially loose sales.
In short, the online message for brands and advertisers is to focus on their potential customers. The simpler and quicker it is for the consumer to find what they want, make their purchase on the device they’re on and get back to Christmas drinks, the merrier Christmas will be all round.