Lines snaked around the block early on Black Friday as shoppers braved the cold weather at malls around the country. Doorbuster deals abounded, and anxious, turkey-stuffed consumers started filling their carts on Thursday evening, making the long weekend a record-breaking success for both web-based and brick-and-mortar retailers.
According to Adobe Digital Insights, record online sales were posted on Cyber Monday with the tallies on Tuesday showing $3.45 billion spent online, a 12.1 percent year-over-year increase.
Online-only sellers such as Amazon have always been the innovators during the holiday season, but as in any industry, innovation can be short-lived. Many of the differences between digital sites and big box stores are disappearing as shoppers shift from physical stores to digital commerce.
The Winners and Losers
Merchants like Target and Best Buy have invested wisely in strategic online technology, which helped make them big winners this year. Walmart offered 66 percent of the 600 most popular toys seen on Amazon versus 46 percent last year, and 68 percent of the most popular consumer electronics products compared to 51 percent last year.
However, the weekend was not flawless for everyone. Macy’s tempted its customers with web-based previews of in-store deals, but suffered a major setback when its site crashed, delaying site access to shoppers with a ten-second countdown clock loop with “access denied” messages. The end result? Lost revenue and numerous disgruntled shoppers hitting social media channels with complaints.
A Billion Reasons to Love Mobile
Mobile accounted for a greater share of business this year, with its contribution to Cyber Monday sales representing a 34 percent year-over-year increase. Black Friday was the first day in retail history to drive more than $1 billion in mobile revenue, marking a 33 percent year-over-year increase, Adobe reported.
Retailers are getting a double advantage from mobile – consumers are buying more from their devices, and at the same time, mobile is driving lucrative traffic to physical retail sites as consumers rely on their devices for comparison shopping while in stores.
Much of the shift to mobile is attributed to two factors. First, younger consumers are more demanding and less patient, tending to be experienced omni-channel shoppers, switching seamlessly between mobile and in-store. The second factor is retailers are making bigger investments in technology, including eCommerce acceleration platforms that enhance web performance and boost digital business.
Better Experiences = Better Conversions
Apple won big over the holiday weekend not just from deals, but also from being the fastest retail brand on desktop with 1.21 second load times on average and the second fastest on mobile with a 1.13 second average. Well within the three seconds that Google says shoppers are willing to wait before abandoning a website. This compares to the industry average on 5.2 seconds on desktop and a whopping 8.4 seconds on mobile.
Midsized retailers also reported strong annual growth over the holiday weekend. EBags.com, an e-retailer of travel accessories, sports apparel, and gear, saw mobile sales increase 95 percent year-over-year, due in part to its efforts to accelerate its mobile website. The retailer also reduced its checkout flow to two pages from eight, implemented an autofill feature, and allowed consumers to use a smartphone picture of a credit card as part of the payment routine.
Ecommerce acceleration solutions, such as the Yottaa platform, facilitate better conversions and greater revenue by enabling companies to accelerate content, quickly engage shoppers, manage 3rd parties, and leverage the full omni-channel experience instantly.