Consumer spending on Black Friday and Cyber Monday is expected to grow and set US records, with Cyber Monday alone projected to bring in $3 billion. But George Chang, SVP of sales and marketplace at Japanese ecommerce giant Rakuten, predicted that those days will actually represent less steep spikes when looking back on sales made in November and December.
“We see it as more of a Black November,” he said. “In terms of how people spend dollars and go to market, you’ll see a more consistent approach throughout November across all channels.”
Migliozzi said he wouldn’t be surprised if Black Friday, that idolatrous celebration of brick-and-mortar shopping, ends up looking like a bigger win for ecommerce this year. “People just expect sales now. Black Friday delivers that, and mobile delivers that very well too.”
“Many retailers have been doing promotions the same way for years, decades even,” said Michael Jones, SVP of retail and brand solutions at RetailMeNot, the mobile coupon platform. But according to Jones, huge strides have been made in how brands or retailers can target promotions.
For instance, in the not-so-recent past, omnichannel marketing may have been as straightforward as making sure the same discounts from the store applied online. Now brands can do things like bundle digital promotions as a way to dynamically meet a customer’s price point based on purchase history.
Chang said Rakuten has integrated its discount and special offers like rapid shipping much more structurally into the business, using targeted deals as a way to relieve supply chain burdens. He compared it to how countries can relieve strain on electric grids by giving tax credits to use high-energy appliances like washing machines at night.
Deichert similarly noted that he’s seen retailers make decisions about adjusting or targeting sales offers based around clearing inventory in specific stores or regions.
Mobile commerce is good for converting spot sales, but that can also be a concern for retailers. For instance, RetailMeNot’s customers are much more value-oriented than a typical in-store shopper, said Jones, and the platform caters to consumers loyal to a sale value as opposed to a retail brand.
Some tech companies can benefit from that. Michael Jaconi, CEO and co-founder of the deep-linking specialist Button, said it gives his startup a chance to pitch retailers on a service that brings customers back to the retailer’s own property, where there’s a better chance they fill a cart.
“I’m very convinced from our data and from retailers that you’re going to find smartphones dominated the shopping season,” said Jones. “It’s hard to predict where the money is going to be spent exactly … but people are figuring out how to get customers to start and end the shopping journey on mobile.”