Long before Thanksgiving weekend hit, industry experts were predicting that Black Friday and Cyber Monday would be landmark days for mobile purchases. Now that the kick-off to the holiday shopping season is in the rearview, the statistics have begun to flood in from a variety of sources. And although some of the results vary across different reports, one thing is for certain: The uptick in mobile shopping not only met but exceeded expectations. The trend is so widespread, in fact, that marketers simply can't ignore the need to reach their email marketing list contacts on their mobile devices.
Smartphones, tablets beat out desktop shopping
A recent report by Moveable Ink revealed that mobile devices were more popular than desktops for shoppers who took advantage of this year's Cyber Monday and Black Friday sales. In fact, only 26.5 percent of consumers made their purchases on personal computers the day after Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, smartphones were the device of choice for 57.5 percent, and 16 percent opted to shop on their tablets.
Perhaps in reflection of the inherently rushed nature of Black Friday, Cyber Monday shopping saw more desktop-based purchases than its counterpart, Moveable Ink found. Yet PCs still didn't account for the majority of transactions, claiming only 40.2 percent. With 45.5 percent of online retail activity, smartphones still beat out laptops and home computers, while 14.3 percent of Cyber Monday shoppers chose tablets to carry out their shopping.
Mobile also won out over personal computers in terms of email opens during the retail-centric holiday. On Thanksgiving Day, smartphones accounted for nearly 60 percent of all opens, according to Moveable Ink. Black Friday wasn't far behind, as 57.5 percent of emails were opened on a smartphone. The weekend between Black Friday and Cyber Monday saw a surge of tablet activity, with slates accounting for 19.3 percent Saturday's email opens and 18.7 percent on Sunday.
Know the mobile marketing best practices
In light of such figures, it's only natural that marketers will want to embrace smartphone and tablet email reading. In an interview with Biz Report, iContact Senior Product Manager Eddie Howard insisted that the mobile craze is great news for those who engineer email campaigns.
"No longer are emails only consumed in front of a computer screen during certain hours. Now consumers are reading emails during the day, when in bed, at bars, while commuting and while watching TV," Howard told the news source.
Of course, marketers have to tailor their strategies to the trend. Howard went on to tell Biz Report that he believes emails have to be able to adapt to different types of viewing environments. As mobile marketing means reaching consumers on the go, firms should also use analytics and take a look at their customers' habits in an effort to create more targeted email lists.
Ride the wave of responsive design
Creating emails that will look good no matter what device a customer opens them on can be tricky, not only because of the variety of mobile operating systems, but also because marketers can't simply ignore desktop viewers, either. Mashable recently highlighted the importance of responsive design as a way of crafting email layouts that can adjust themselves based on the parameters of a variety of screens.
"Understanding devices and associated technology features is necessary for design purposes. We determine what our sites and our emails need to be designed for from a size, browser and operating perspective," Cathy Gribble, TeamOne's associate director of digital analytics, told the news source.
Mashable went on to note that responsive design is particularly vital for firms that use image-heavy layouts. If visuals are a key part of your branding strategy, deploying adaptive design may prove key to your mobile efforts.