Cyber Monday Fallout: It's Time For Stores to Go Digital

Online holiday shopping traffic

Cyber Monday traffic just keeps going up.  Image courtesy of Experian.

Well, the numbers are in, and Cyber Monday has officially surpassed Black Friday as online retail traffic increased 11% for the day over last year.  Even more significant, however, is the prevalence of mobile commerce beginning on Thanksgiving and continuing right the weekend. The lines are blurring between Black this and Cyber that, and it’s all due to smartphone/tablet shopping.

We spoke to Jim Barkow, the CEO and co-founder of Longboard Media, a leading digital advertising network for retailers, mobile commerce apps, and shopping publishers, about mobile’s ultimate influence on the paradigm shift.  With comScore reporting that e-commerce on Thanksgiving increased by 32% this year over 2011, we wanted details on how retailers can take advantage of the change, and what they should do going forward into the rest of the holiday season.

When it comes to mobile’s new dominance, it’s important for physical retailers to find a way to incorporate the technology and keep up.  Barkow says “I see mobile augmenting retail going forward, specifically in product content and price comparison, but also hopefully/eventually with more efficient inventory management, [tracking] in-stock items and ultimately seamless checkout.”  Basically, the mobile approach must be both consumer-facing and a part of how stores inherently run their businesses.

Meanwhile, speaking to the change in holiday shopping overall, Barkow points out that in terms of retail avenues, “the new paradigm online is at work or during the day, mobile in local and in-store, and tablet at home. At Longboard, we only expect these channels to continue and be more apparent.”  That goes a long way to explain how and why online retail traffic jumped the way it did this year on Thanksgiving, and why Cyber Monday blew everything else out of the water.

Ultimately, it seems that mobile and physical retail can’t and shouldn’t be pitted against one another.  Brick-and-mortar has to adopt the attitude that if you can’t beat them, join them, and going forward, make mobile strategy an inherent part of its overall approach, both through the holidays and all year round.