We just started to imagine what artificial intelligence (AI) can do to transform the experience for both marketers and consumers with its impressive versatility. Adobe just released its online shopping predictions for the 2018 holiday season, Retail Unwrapped, making use of its artificial intelligence and machine learning framework, to identify retail insights from trillions of data points that flow through Adobe Analytics and Magento Commerce Cloud, part of Adobe Experience Cloud.
Adobe predicts the following:
- The mobile revenue opportunity: Smartphones continue to gain share as consumers’ preferred devices for online shopping, representing 48.3% of visits and 27.2% of revenue. Mobile revenue is up 11.6% YoY. Yet, completed cart orders happen over 20% less often on smartphones than desktop, as a result of abandonment from sub-optimal checkout experiences. Closing this gap equates to $9 billion in mobile sales. Tablets are on the decline, making up 8.8% of visits (down 30% in four years) and just 9.6% of sales. Consumers using mobile apps will spend more time browsing and complete sales two times more often than on the web.
- Emerging shopping trends: Voice-assisted shopping is on the rise, with 21% of consumers reporting they are planning to reorder frequently-purchased items and 17% placing one-time orders for in-store pickup using their voice activated devices. Adobe expects holiday shoppers to ship and return purchases more often compared to the rest of the year (5% and 18% more respectively), and to shop more for experiences like cruises and hotels on Cyber Monday. More consumers will stay home on Thanksgiving Day. Sixty percent report they won’t shop in stores on Thanksgiving Day, up from 40% in 2016.
- Top revenue-driving marketing channels: Retailers will be able to capitalize on loyal customers that go directly to their website to make a purchase, with revenue per visit (RPV) rising the most at 36%. Search has the second highest RPV growth at 23%, followed by helper sites like RetailMeNot (15%) and email at 8%.
- Social losing value for retailers: Social referral traffic will generate 11% less RPV compared to Q4 2016. It is the only marketing channel to see a decline in RPV, despite the increase in referral traffic coming from social. Adobe attributes this to consumers’ weakening trust in social networks. Shoppers are also expected to consult social media sites 25% less for gift ideas this year.
“As online shopping surges with another record-breaking holiday season, the retailers with compelling websites coupled with physical store locations will have the advantage,” said John Copeland, head of Marketing and Customer Insights at Adobe. “Many shoppers want to interact with retailers’ products and the brand in-store, and the ability to pick up online orders in-store within a matter of hours can’t be underestimated.”
Retailers with online and physical footprints are therefore expected to see 28% higher conversion online in comparison to retailers lacking a traditional storefront. Adobe Analytics data anticipates shoppers increasingly buying online and picking up items in-store (BOPIS) during the holiday season. BOPIS has increased 119% since January 2018 across all retailers and over 250% for large retailers.
Additional predictions include:
- Top-selling products: Adobe predicts one percent of SKUs will drive a record 70% of sales during the holiday season, 30% more than during the rest of the year. 4K TVs, as well as retro video consoles and games such as Tekken 3, Ridge Racer Type 4 and Final Fantasy VII, are expected to perform well for the second consecutive year. Top toys include Fingerlings, Fortnite Monopoly, Grumblies, Hatchimal Hatchibabies, Jurassic World Jeep Wrangler, LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Great Hall set, and Pomsies.
- Best days for deals: Black Friday reigns supreme for discounts on electronics, including tablets (discounted at 33%), TVs (22%) and computers (16%). On the Sunday before Cyber Monday, shoppers will see the best deals on apparel (22%), appliances (18%) and jewelry (5%). Cyber Monday will see the largest discounts on toys (19%), Giving Tuesday for furniture and bedding (14%) and Thanksgiving for sporting goods (13%). (Source: Adobe)