As some brick-and-mortar stores continue to dabble with mobile commerce, many are surely thankful that they have long embraced it. Businesses have registered record numbers for mobile sales during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday holiday shopping weekend, often hailed as the busiest of the year. Those businesses have ultimately reaped the major benefits from their mobile efforts.

According to a recent report from IBM, mobile sales on Black Friday increased by nearly 65 percent compared to just a year ago. Additionally, approximately 13 percent of total web-based purchases on Cyber Monday took place on a mobile device.

Collectively, Cyber Monday mobile sales took an astounding leap, up more than 96 percent from 2011, according to an article in USA Today. The iPad garnered the majority of mobile sales, recording seven percent of all online shopping. During the first month of the official holiday season, online shoppers have accounted for $21.4 billion and counting in spending, according to comScore.

Courtesy of CNN Tech

“Mobile is maturing to the point where the discussions for optimized commerce-enabled presence revolve not around why, but when,” said Mickey Alam Kham, editor of Mobile Marketer.

It has been well documented how savvy shoppers planned on using their smartphone and tablet devices for holiday shopping this season, too. The shift to mobile has been ongoing for years (2012 is the Year of Mobile – “for the fourth year in a row”), and the businesses that have yet to adapt to these legitimate mobile trends have consequently been left out in the cold.

Current trends

Not too long ago I wrote about a few of the ways a handful of retailers are putting their guard up to counter the appeal of online storefronts, improving the in-store experience in the process. Major chains like Target and Best Buy are utilizing tactics such as offering scan-and-purchase QR codes for some of the hottest toys on the market or price matching to stifle online competitors (read: Amazon).

With a couple of weeks remaining before Christmas, the growth in mobile is accelerating quite rapidly. But not just in the form of showrooming. Furthermore, consumers are simply staying at home, glued to their mobile devices.

Some retailers have lured impatient shoppers to shop via mobile while waiting in line by offering mobile-only deals—prompting some shoppers to leave empty handed. These types of promotions gained some popularity last year, and with a staggering increase in mobile sales this season, others have followed suit.

Staples, the office supply retail chain, opened their “doors” early for Black Friday shoppers by offering mobile-only deals beginning on Thanksgiving. According to Mobile Commerce Daily, Staples is among a throng of retailers that turned to similar mobile-only deals to take advantage of the exceeding amount of people using smartphones and tablets.

One of the web’s most popular sources for daily deals, Gilt Groupe, kick-started mobile-only deals at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving through both its mobile-optimized site and application (Gilt to Go). On Black Friday, the brand cleverly “mispriced” several items for customers to track down and find. On Cyber Monday, it launched a “Free Fall” sale at four specific times during the day.

“This is a brand new sale format, where there will be specific sales in Gilt’s Women’s, Men’s, Home and Taste stores that will only be available for about five to ten minutes, and throughout that time, the prices will continue to drop until the sale ends,” said a Gilt Groupe spokesperson in an article featured on Mashable.

Without marketing a specific item or product on sale, this drove customers to Gilt’s mobile site, immersing potential buyers in various items, and ultimately provoking them to make a purchase if and when they came across a would-be stellar deal.

Staples and Gilt Groupe are two brands that got it right. According to a study conducted by advertising firm Mojiva, electronics and clothing are among the leading items that smartphone users would consider purchasing on their devices this holiday season. Electronics led the pack at 60 percent, followed by toys & games at 56 and clothing at 45.

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Moreover, eBay’s mobile-only sales saw an astounding 200-percent jump in the third quarter, while PayPal saw a 173-percent increase in mobile payments worldwide on Thanksgiving.

What’s in “store”

A vast majority of small businesses have yet to develop fully functional, mobile-ready sites. Customers that try to utilize a traditional website on their smartphone or tablet will ultimately be turned away. Nearly 100 percent of smartphone users have visited a site on their device that wasn’t developed for mobile—resulting in the majority of those users opting to leave for another site to get the information they needed.

With the latest technologies—lightning-quick mobile downloading speeds, location-based search, mobile payment, etc.—it’s sometimes baffling to learn how even major companies lack a mobile-optimized website.

The numbers simply speak for themselves. Our affinity for smartphones and tablets is only going to grow. Kindles, iPads, Nooks, et al. are and will continue to be the most coveted holiday gifts on the market.

Has your business taken the necessary steps to prepare for these trends? If not, you may have already missed out on potential customers.

(View the original post at Mainstreethost’s Search Marketing Blog)