By Blair Symes
The data is in, and it’s no surprise: more and more of our winter holiday shopping is now done on smartphones. Research from Adobe found that smartphone-led mobile devices make up 54% of web visits and 37% of online sales on Black Friday 2017. Adobe also found that through 10 p.m. on Cyber Monday 2017, smartphones accounted for 40% of website visits, a 22% increase from last year, and revenue driven by smartphones grew 39%, hitting a record of $1.6 billion in sales.
What starts online, however, doesn’t always stay online, and businesses and agencies should take notice. When consumers take to their smartphones en masse to research purchases, book appointments, and buy goods and services — such as on Cyber Monday — businesses experience a corresponding and dramatic increase in inbound phone calls.
That’s what DT University discovered when we compared call volumes from the DialogTech voice management platform for Cyber Monday 2017 to the rest of the year — over 50 million calls in over 40 industries, including retail, automotive, home services and maintenance, childhood education, construction, finance, and healthcare. Cyber Monday 2017 inbound call volumes were 58% higher than the average daily call volumes the rest of the year. That’s a significant increase in consumer calls.
As businesses invest in their mobile experience to win more business on these mobile-heavy shopping days, don’t ignore the phone call experience. A single negative caller experience can cost you that customer, and not answering your phones, forcing callers to wait on hold for too long, or connecting them to agents who don’t know why they are calling or can’t help them can be revenue-killers.
We were also curious if customers are grumpier because of holiday stress, and how that can impact a business’s bottom line. DT University analyzed over 630,000 consumer phone calls made during the 2017 and 2016 winter holiday season and used our proprietary conversation analytics machine-learning algorithms to detect the sentiment of these callers (expressions of positivity, appreciation, satisfaction, and praise, offset by expressions of frustration, confusion, anger, and concern).
We found that callers on Black Fridays (2017 and 2016) are nearly 20% more negative than they are the rest of the year. Conversely, callers on Cyber Mondays (2017 and 2016) are nearly 20% more positive than they are the rest of the year and 37% more positive than callers on Black Friday.
This analysis of caller sentiment suggests the stress of in-person shopping on Black Friday (perhaps made a little bit worse by the stress some of us feel when traveling and dealing with family during Thanksgiving) makes it one of the more negative shopping days for consumers. Compare that to shopping on Cyber Monday, which is often done online and at work (or at our own homes minus the rest of the family) — after the traveling and stress of Thanksgiving is behind us — and it makes sense that callers on this day are more stress-free.
And because of the high call volumes, Cyber Monday is one of the best days of the year for happy consumer calls. It’s a great day for businesses to cash in, if they can provide the right caller experiences to win the sale.
We further examined calls from the 2016 and 2017 winter holiday shopping season (Black Friday to New Year’s Day) and found that consumers are significantly more price-conscious during the winter holiday season.
By using machine-learning algorithms to identify patterns in consumer phone conversations with businesses where callers expressed concern about costs, expenses, and their budget, we found that winter holiday shoppers are 22% more price-sensitive than other times of the year.
DT University makes the following recommendations for businesses and their agency partners to take advantage of these trends:
It may sound like a no-brainer, but if consumers are price-sensitive when holiday shopping, be sure to show them how much they can save if they purchase from you. Focus your paid search ads, Facebook and display campaigns, web content, and offline marketing on price savings.
Add phone numbers or call now buttons to your search ads, emails, offline campaigns, web pages, and mobile apps. Making it easy for consumers to call you is both a fundamental step in increasing marketing ROI during the holidays and an important part of acquiring and retaining customers who want to talk to you before making buying decisions.
It’s critical to capture the same granular data for call conversions that you do for online conversions. This call data is necessary to measure the true CPL, CPA, and ROI of your media spend, prove marketing’s full impact on revenue, and optimize performance to generate more customers while lowering acquisition costs. This analytics data includes:
Businesses’ investment in their mobile shopping experiences are driving sales growth during the holidays. However, as research and shopping behavior shifts to smartphones, it’s crucial that businesses recognize that a growing number of consumers will engage by calling and make a similar investment in improving the customer experience when shoppers call. This can include:
To learn more marketing and sales strategies to convert more callers to customers, please download The Marketer’s Big Book of Call Tracking Success Stories.
Discover how marketers from 25 industries use call tracking to generate better converting calls, personalize caller experiences, and drive growth.Get The Ebook →
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