Christmas online shopping trends, PLAs and being mobile friendly

January 15, 2014 - Digital State Marketing

We recently discussed the opportunities which exist in online shopping and in particular, Google’s shopping platform and their Product Listing Ads (PLAs). Since then, Christmas has been and gone and with that, the infamous ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Cyber Monday’.

‘Black Friday’ in American terms relates to the Friday following thanksgiving day and is regarded as the start of the Christmas shopping season. Last year, the term became popular in the UK too, perhaps due to Amazon, Apple and Asda promoting special offers and the phrase being thrusted into our minds. for example slashed their prices by as much as 70% for the day, with John Lewis offering discounts up to 50% on small electrical and audio items.

Further to this, ‘Black Friday’ is then followed by ‘Cyber Monday’ – the day originally anticipated to be the busiest online shopping day of the year. Again, originating in the US, this term has been gladly accepted here in the UK.  On this day alone 2013, Amazon reported sales of more than 4.1million items.  However, it seems that consumers are now spreading their spend across both days. Perhaps due to the number of offers available in 2013 on ‘Black Friday’ and it’s sudden media attention.

With both days, the online shopping figures excel, with many users chosing to make their purchases online. What’s being more and more apparent is these ‘online’ sales are not just occurring on laptops and PCs anymore. Mobiles and tablets are taking their fair share. One eccomerce platform whose clients include Costco and Ralph Lauren reported a 186% increase in sales on mobile on ‘Black Friday’ alone. Mobile shopping for consumers is super quick, very easy, and of course extremely portable. If you suddenly think of something you need, you can simply access the site online there and then, no matter where you are, and make a purchase.

Google Product Listing Ads of course had a fair share of Christmas sales and this trend is set to continue.  Marin Software produced a report from retailers included in the Marin Global Online Advertising Index where companies spend over $100,000 a month on Google text ads and PLAs. As a result, they expect by the end of this year, online retailers will allocate a third of their budget to PLAs and of this, 40% will come from mobiles. That’s a huge percentage of advertising spend focused on an area still relatively new. It’s clear that with the trust and popularity of PLAs and the Google Shopping Network consistently rising since it’s relaunch in 2012, it’s becoming more and more important to ensure you’re in the game by advertising through PLAs. Having a mobile friendly website will only heighten their success.

If you have neither, now is the time to take action. Many companies are still struggling to produce suitable feeds that Google require to advertise products on the shopping network.  Furthermore, many sites struggle to be mobile friendly, something which in this day and age, simply has to improve.

For advice on how to get started in this growing market of PLAs and being mobile friendly, contact the Digital State Marketing today.