Black Friday and Cyber Monday ring in the holiday season and officially commence what most retailers hope is their best time of year. Utilizing key online retail trends and consumer insights may give you the tools you need to succeed. Although people will still brave crowds that gather and line up outside locked doors in the wee hours the day after Thanksgiving, online shopping continues to gain momentum from a sales standpoint. According to a recent Forbes article, “Blurring the line between in-store price comparison shopping and stay at home shopping via the Internet, IBM reported the number of consumers using their mobile device to make a purchase on Black Friday 2012 increased by nearly two-thirds from 2011. . . . Online retailers had their biggest day ever on Cyber Monday as holiday shoppers drove sales up 30% vs. the same day last year according to IBM.”

Earlier this year, comScore asked 3,000 consumers which factors led them to shop on their computers, smartphones or tablets, to abandon their shopping carts, and to recommend retailers to friends. “Consumers have a growing number of digital touchpoints, with more ways to stay connected with their favorite online retailers through every phase of the shopping, buying and fulfillment process,” said Susan Engleson, comScore senior director. “What will set apart one retailer from another in a competitive marketplace is how well they meet the rapidly evolving needs and expectations of customers.”

Key findings among those surveyed in the U.S. include:

In a recent Harvard Business Review webinar, Jeffrey Rayport, Harvard professor and digital marketing expert, explained how the consumer landscape is being reshaped, and that five principles can help companies leverage the opportunities of the new reality.

  1. Deliver a commanding targeted abundance of content, apps and services.
  2. Socialize the brand, and forge communities of conviction based on location, identity, interest or condition.
  3. Work the web by letting the outside in, and adopt “open source” thinking as an aggregator while exploiting network effects.
  4. Design for occasion---allow the consumption context to drive decisions about user interface design. 
  5. Integrate the experience and orchestrate multichannel media content delivery to establish the best “ecosystem."