Holidays 2014: It’s a Wrap!

Ask IBM Smarter Commerce Director Jay Henderson what was noteworthy in the digital commerce sphere in 2014 and he points to 2010. “Only 6.5% of online traffic came from mobile that year. This year it accounted for 45% of traffic and almost a quarter of all online sales,” he says.

Henderson is in charge of the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark, which tracks commercial online activity during each day of the holiday shopping season. He offers the following takeaways from Holiday 2014 for marketers to keep in mind when they tackle the 2015 promotional calendar.

Fine-tune CX by device. Smartphones claimed 31% of online traffic, but only 9% of sales. Tablets accounted for only 13% of traffic, but 13% of sales, as well. “I think that you’re going to see retailers investing in fine-tuning the experiences for tablets to take advantage of their ability to drive sales,” Henderson says.

Don’t abandon the desktop. Consumers certainly haven’t. More than half of all retail online traffic during the holidays emanated from desktop PCs, as well as a commanding  three quarters of sales. “There are certain days during the season—Cyber Monday, for instance—when people prefer to be in front of their PCs shopping,” he says. “So, we’ll also be continuing to optimize the desktop experience and use its appeal to develop even more convenient ways for consumers to shop on it.”

Shopping will continue to be a bricks and clicks affair. More retailers have adapted to showrooming, accepting the practice of in-store smartphone research by making price-matching and mobile engagement a part of doing business. “Some retailers have realized they can turn their stores into strong assets for mobile shoppers by making it easier to give them the instant gratification of going home with the merchandise,” Henderson says. “We will continue to see more investments by retailers in websites, mobile apps, guest Wi-Fi programs, and in-store engagement technologies like beacons.”

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