For many online shoppers, Cyber Monday began before they even got out of bed, with 4 in 10 shopping early in the morning, making this the preferred time of day according to NBC News.
Not only was Cyber Monday a record setter – the $3.45 billion spent online was 10.2% growth YoY, Adobe Data shows the whole Thanksgiving weekend had stellar online sales:
- Nov 24-27 brought in $9.36 billion – 16.4% growth YoY
- Black Friday set a new record of $3.34 billion – 21.6% growth YoY
- Thanksgiving day online sales were $1.93 billion – 11.5% growth YoY
Mobile Shopping Makes a Big Impact
Both Target and Wal-Mart reported that around 60% of Black Friday and Cyber Monday online sales came from mobile. This is attributed to consumers becoming comfortable shopping on mobile devices, and retailer’s investments in technology to make online transactions more seamless and websites more reliable.
Retailers are embracing online shopping, not viewing it as competition to physical stores. A big trend being seen is shoppers buying online and picking up in-store. According to the International Council of Shopping Centers, 39% of online consumers plan to use in-store pickup services this year. Retailers are encouraging this behavior with in-store deals to persuade shoppers to add extra items to their carts once they walk into the store. Target said one-third of people who place online orders for in-store pickup buy additional merchandise when they arrive. Stores are also pushing their apps, with Amazon and Target offering app-only deals as a way to keep shoppers in their ecosystem.
Customer expectations are shaped as much by the online digital experience as the in-store experience. Accordingly, retailers need to pay attention to the quality of experience for their online shoppers. Fast webpage loading, high quality video, and well-designed sites are critical.
The success of Cyber Monday has led to retailers trying to extend the appeal to a weeklong online shopping bonanza. Instead of huge markdowns on select products, stores are shifting to a stream of discounts and alerts for a weeklong flow of deals via email and social media. Amazon started offering 35 days of Black Friday deals on Nov. 16, and Wal-Mart kicked off its Cyber Monday deals the prior Friday for the first time, trying to grab customers ahead of competitors.
Don’t Let this Happen to You
On Black Friday morning and into the afternoon, visitors to macys.com were greeted with a “temporary shopping jam” message due to heavy traffic.
The snafus were poorly timed for Macy’s, the fourth largest U.S. online retailer with sales last year of $5 billion, according to eMarketer. The retailer is trying to get back to sales growth after several quarters of declines and has invested heavily in its e-commerce. This potentially impacted sales on a $3 billion eCommerce day.
The lesson is clear – planning for holiday online shopping must include tactics for scaling websites to handle unexpected loads.
With the records set so far, it will be interesting to see if the online sales pace continues through the rest of Dec.