With Black Friday (News - Alert) remaining but an afterthought with Christmas celebrations now beginning, the bittersweet taste of deals, sales and insane crowds still lingers. Not only did retailers aggressively extend their Black Friday hours to include parts of last week’s Thanksgiving evening, but their online counterparts extended deals well past their Cyber Monday (News - Alert) scheduled sales. You undoubtedly saw at least a few of the e-mails floating in your inbox advertising these exclusive extended hours in hopes of squeezing in sales to the very last second.
Today, customers are increasingly surfing the Web rather than surfing through crowds for the latest and greatest, and as a result, retailers are similarly investing in technologies to help them better process their online orders, keep inventory in check, and, of course, ensure that customers needs are met in the event of a problem or inquiry. While technologies such as interactive voice response (IVR) are extremely beneficial during high-volume shopping times like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, let’s not forget that the holiday season itself has seemingly just begun.
According to the National Retail Foundation, 129.2 million Americans made plans to shop on Cyber Monday this year – a solid increase from the 122.8 million who shopped last year and the 106.9 million who shopped on Cyber Monday back in 2010.
“The momentum from a solid Black Friday weekend certainly looks like it will carry on into Cyber Monday,” explained BIGinsight Consumer Insights Director, Pam Goodfellow. “Millions of shoppers will be visiting retailers’ websites from their smartphones, tablets, home computers and work computers to check out special Cyber Monday promotions and make the most of their holiday shopping budgets.”
Of course, with the proliferation of mobile devices and gadgets, Internet shopping has extending to mobile shopping, where customers are ditching their computers to fulfill their holiday list items straight from their handheld devices.
In addition to the weekend deals, we also now have a phenomenon known as “Mobile Thursday.” While this trend is not exactly as big as shopping from a computer, which many consumers still feel is easier to complete a transaction, it’s incentive for retailers to take on the challenges associated with garnering a mobile audience – namely, updating their mobile sites to keep them in good working order.
IVR expert Plum Voice expected 2012 to close well for IVR systems, thanks to online and mobile shoppers this holiday season. And with about 44.4 percent of mobile shoppers having hit the Internet this holiday season, it was pretty safe prediction to make.
Regardless, with the continuation of trends such as mobile portability and mobile device management, it seems this sort of technology will continue to be in full swing.
To learn more about Plum Voice’s offerings, visit www.plumvoice.com.
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Edited by Allison Boccamazzo