Black and Cyber All Over: Holiday Shopping Is Here

Total U.S. holiday spending is expected to increase under 4% from 2014’s results, according to the National Retail Federation, but per Forrester (research group) online spending is expected to jump 11% over last year… (exceeding) $95 billion this year.”

This is according to an overview of Black Friday and Cyber Monday — those retail explosions which happen to follow Thanksgiving — on  

And according to the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), this may because one key commodity is consistently lower in price than it was last year: “Nearly half (42%) of all regular Black Friday shoppers expect to shop more this holiday season as a result of lower gas prices, according to the results of a new consumer survey released by the NACS.”

But it’s only having more money — or at least the perception of it — fueling sales. According to The Street, “mobile shopping is particularly popular during key holiday dates like Thanksgiving and Black Friday because phones allow shoppers to access time-constrained offers at any time wherever they may be… consumers continue to look to the web channel for convenience, selection, and value over physical stores.”

So along with a somewhat more stable economy are expanded digital opportunities to, well, spend more.  Meaning you should take the seasonal opportunity to contact your AVPS Rep, and make sure all your e-Commerce and Point of Sale options and devices are up-to-date, and as secure, and shopper-friendly, as possible.

But customer devices — whether in pockets, or on desktops —  won’t be used merely to rack up sales. According to Forbes, “big Data analytics is now being applied at every stage of the retail process – working out what the popular products will be by predicting trends, forecasting where the demand will be for those products, optimizing pricing for a competitive edge, identifying the customers likely to be interested in them and working out the best way to approach them, taking their money and finally working out what to sell them next.”

“Next,” as in, when Black Friday and Cyber Monday are past, and all those post-holiday sales begin! Afbeeldingsresultaat voor holiday shopping public domain images

But does a growing reliance on Big Data mean it will only benefit Big Retailers? Not according to the Forbes: “A growing number of middle men are specializing in providing Big Data ‘as a service’ infrastructure. This allows smaller businesses and independent operators to take advantage of many of the same data-driven approaches to sales and marketing, without the need for implementing expensive hardware solutions and hiring in $100k-plus per year data scientists.”

But you already have a leg up in this regard, as an avid reader of AVPS’ blog and newsletter. For example,  the Forbes piece also mentions that analytics have “revealed that a great number of customer visits to online stores fail to convert at the last minute, when the customer has the item in their shopping basket but doesn’t go on to confirm the purchase.” One theory is that “customers often can’t find their credit or debit cards to confirm the details,” so something like Visa Checkout — offered free through AVPS — will help speed up that process and make you look savvily up-to-date in responding to, well, big data and analytics.

But for now, we’re wishing you small epiphanies and good time with your loved ones. We’ll get out a “holiday edition” next week, then see you again…. in December!

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