As we prepare to kick off the holiday shopping season with two of the biggest shopping days of the year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it’s a good time to look back and take stock of how much the retail industry has changed in just one year.
Last year, the Black Friday and Cyber Monday craze was all about m-commerce – especially optimizing the mobile experience for the holiday season. And indeed, TechCrunch reported that overall online sales saw a 19% increase on Black Friday 2013, but mobile sales surged 43%. Cyber Monday also saw record-breaking results: e-commerce sales increased by 20% from 2012-2013 while m-commerce sales increased by 55% year-over year, according to Mashable. The question is, how will the Black Friday Weekend, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday, be different in 2014?
For much of 2014 retailers have taken note of the general rise in popularity of online retail channels, and have wondered whether brick-and-mortar retail would survive to see another holiday season. But on the brink of Black Friday Weekend 2014, brick-and-mortar retail has never been more relevant – and online retail channels are just as critical.
For retailers, the omni-channel experience is the culmination of an entire history of retail evolution: millennia of brick-and-mortar retail, followed by the late 20th century creation of e-commerce, and finally the mobile phone, social media and, ultimately, commerce revolution.
The goal of an omni-channel retail strategy is to unify the customer’s shopping experience across all of these channels in a seamless way. Unfortunately, most retailers are at a loss as to how to implement such a strategy in their physical and online stores. However, there are a number of solutions available to help retailers of all sizes cater to the consumer expectation for a personalized cross-channel shopping experience.
For cross-border merchants, November 11 is more than just an average Tuesday. While the holiday retail frenzy of Black Friday (November 28 this year) and Cyber Monday (December 1) are still a few weeks away, in China the biggest e-retail day of the year occurs on November 11 – Single’s Day.
Whereas Black Friday and Cyber Monday kick-start the lengthy holiday shopping season in the United States, Single’s Day is a holiday in and of itself. Some liken Single’s Day to Valentine’s Day, but, in fact, the holiday is more similar to an “Anti-Valentine’s day”: a block of time when bachelors and bachelorettes are meant to celebrate the joys of being single – mostly by spoiling themselves with online purchases.