It’s Digital and Brick and Mortar Retail This Holiday Marketing Season

Written by: on November 19, 2018

To listen to the likes of those who hype, intentionally misinform, or peddle preposterous predictions like the supposed end of mobile apps, brick and mortar stores will be deserted this holiday season while consumers in overwhelming numbers will go mobile-only in their pursuit of shopping for gifts.

Common sense, history, and new research tell us that neither will happen.

Why do I say this?

There are few-to-no absolutes in mobile and technology. As an example, we were told that cash was going to be gone by some Tuesday in 2013, replaced by the mobile wallet. I’ll bet you the $10 in my pocket that you have at least that much right now in one of yours.

What will happen this holiday season – and you can bank on it – is that physical and digital will play complementary roles in the buying journey.

In fact, according to Adobe Digital Insights, online retailers with physical storefronts especially stand to benefit over the next several weeks. These businesses have seen a 28 percent higher online conversion year-to-date leading into November and December. In the consumer survey portion of the analysis, 47 percent of the 1,000 participants indicated they would visit a store to see a product they intend to purchase later online.

Consumers will spend $5 of every $6 in stores. Yes, you read that correctly.

But that leaves $124.1 billion online breaking out this way: 57 percent of retail visits will come from mobile devices (tablets and smartphones), accounting for 37 percent of total online purchases, ADI predicts.

ADI forecasts 48 percent of all visits to retail websites will come from smartphones. And 27 percent of all online revenue will come from those smartphone visits. Tablets, which not that long ago were presented by some as the most desired lean-back shopping tool, will account for 9 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

Why am I so confident that mobile apps will not only drive business this year but are here to stay? First off, mobile apps are twice more likely to convert shoppers than the traditional Web, ADI says. This higher conversion is correlated with 2.4 times higher time spent in apps, 30 percent better content relevancy, and 25 percent better return frequency.

Second, mobile apps are still finding their way to devices. Nearly two apps are downloaded every month per human being on the planet, according to App Annie. As to the future, the Pew Internet Project projects the following:

“In 2020… there will be a widespread belief that the World Wide Web is less important and useful than in the past and apps are the dominant factor in people’s lives.”

I’ll bet you a second $10 that in the holiday season two years from now, we will still be looking at apps and physical stores complementing each other. Certainly, some stores will close, but others answering consumer desires will thrive with such innovation as skip the line checkout (Target most notably introduced that nationwide recently), curbside pickup, and in-store augmented reality and other experiences enhanced by mobile devices in hand.

To think otherwise flies in the face of everything we know and have seen.

Jeff Hasen

Jeff Hasen

Jeff Hasen is Wunderman Thompson Mobile's Senior Strategist and is one of the leading evangelists in mobile and emerging technologies. He enables brands to get closer to their customers in times upended by new devices and behaviors. The results are increased sales and loyalty and businesses doing the disrupting rather than being disrupted.

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