6 Holiday eCommerce Tips for a Successful Cyber Five
At the time of this post going live, the cyber five holiday shopping week is just three months away. That’s 12 weeks, or 60 business days. Retailers have been busy preparing their holiday ecommerce strategy, but they’re feeling the pressure. Not only is their prep time ticking down, but they’ve got big goals to hit to stay on pace with a surprisingly strong summer shopping season.
The “Cyber Five” – also known as Cyber Week – is a five-day period starting on Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday. Retailers dedicate significant resources to prepare for an influx of online holiday shoppers.
Interestingly, more and more shoppers are starting to make holiday gift purchases before the cyber five. The National Retail Federation defines the holiday season as November 1 through December 31, with 2022 data showing that more than half (56%) of shoppers said they took advantage of early holiday sales or promotions as early as October. This means the deadline for a company to optimize their website for holiday eCommerce and get the best ads up and running just got closer.
We’ll examine data from the 2022 holiday shopping season and identify the 2023 online shopping trends so far this year that can help retail and eCommerce teams build the most profitable holiday eCommerce strategy.
Data From The 2022 Cyber Five Holiday Shopping Season
The holiday shopping season of 2022 was one for the record books. According to this comprehensive dataset from the National Retail Federation, over 196.7 million consumers shopped over the Thanksgiving weekend- an equivalent of more than three-quarters (76%) of consumers say they shopped over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, up from 70% in 2021. The numbers shattered NRF’s initial expectations by more than 30 million.
Despite these strong holiday ecommerce numbers from the 2022 cyber five, the global market was weathering some unique challenges heading into 2023.
2023 Trends That Will Impact the Cyber Five
At the start of 2023, the global economy was adjusting to a new normal after the Covid-19 pandemic. Coupled with inflation and significant policy changes from the federal reserve, businesses had to readjust their strategies. Many were desperately looking for areas to cut spending, and operational efficiency became top priority. This led to staggering layoffs, particularly in the tech space. More than 160,000 workers at U.S.-based tech companies have been laid off so far in 2023, according to Crunchbase. These market dynamics have led to the following market trends that will impact eCommerce over the holidays:
Marketing teams have smaller budgets.
Layoffs and budget cuts have made prioritizing investments with the highest possible ROI the number one goal among marketing teams. This was clear in the reduction of dollars spent on advertising. In May of 2023, the growth rate of digital ad spend was the slowest it had been in nearly a decade. And Gartner IT +1% data shows 71% of CMOs feel they lack the budget to fully execute their strategy in 2023. Heading into the Cyber Five, marketing teams are leaner and have less advertising budget to spend to acquire customers in 2023.
Customer acquisition costs are rising.
As marketing teams are getting more strategic with their budgets, they’re also realizing that customers are more expensive to acquire than ever before. Data from FirstPageSage indicates that customer acquisition costs for e-commerce businesses is averaging around $86 across industries. Another data set from 2022 indicates there was a 222% increase in customer acquisition costs. Even though they have less money to spend, companies need to spend more on a ‘per customer’ basis than in previous years.
Consumer spending remains high.
Despite these challenges, the numbers aren’t all doom and gloom for retailers. Consumer spending numbers are strong. A mid-August report from AP showed that Americans increased their purchases at retailers in July for clothing, online goods and other areas. Recent predictions from industry consultants at FTI have e-commerce capturing 42% of total retail sales growth in 2023, and annual online sales growth expected to double the rate of store-based sales growth through 2025. Despite inflation and layoffs, consumers are still spending online.
Countdown to Cyber Five Holiday Shopping: How Online Retailers Can Prepare
With a deadline of November first to have your eCommerce site ready for holiday shopping, there’s still some time for small adjustments that will make a big impact. Here are a few holiday eCommerce tips to prepare.
Ensure your whole site is optimized for speed.
An influx of traffic can slow down your site if you’re not prepared for it. Our research shows that even a few seconds delay in page load time leads to significant increases in bounce rates – 57% of shoppers leave if the page doesn’t load within 3 seconds. With the mindset of ‘every visitor counts’, use tools like Yottaa to ensure your site is ready to move fast when the holiday shoppers arrive.
Give your product detail pages special attention.
Dedicating optimization efforts toward category and product detail pages is important for three reasons: 1) they account for 70% of all the page views on a shopping site, 2) they signal a greater intent to purchase than home or landing pages, and 3) there are a lot of them. Kerry Cahn from Stylitics joined us on a webinar recently and emphasized how validation of choice and personalization tactics can help drive greater conversion from PDPs.
Align with critical third-party application providers.
Get the specifics about the code freezes happening at third-party providers align expectations on what support they can offer you. Kate MacCabe, a retail expert with experience at Our Place, Brooklinen and Rothy’s, typically begins this exercise mid-September, to give space to ‘find a full view of what’s possible’ and share a comprehensive view of code freezes of all these vendors across peak season. You can hear Kate’s full perspective in this video clip.
Prepare A/B tests for landing pages to use with ads.
It’s become standard practice for marketers to test a number of digital ad creatives in the market and invest more dollars into the one that delivers the best conversion rates. Apply the same logic to your landing pages this season, aiming for a lower CAC and higher ROI. Just be cognizant of the performance of these landing pages – ad campaign landing pages are often left out of performance optimization steps in the push to release them quickly. Tools like Prismfly enable webpage tests section by section, so retailers can identify which individual elements of their pages are driving the most conversions.
Make quick investments in trusted tech.
There’s still time to make some changes to your tech stack that will deliver significant value for your business during peak season. An investment of a few thousand dollars now, just ahead of your code freeze, could deliver massive dividends. There may not be time to get the resources and buy-in needed to test out a brand-new AI tech, so instead look to trusted brands that deliver the fundamentals of a good online shopping experience – speed, security, and personalization.
Adopt the shopper’s point of view.
Put yourself in the customers shoes. Walk step-by-step through the journey that you’re asking a customer to go on as they make a purchase, and get together with your whole team to watch session replays and discuss what you see. There are going to be experiences you weren’t aware of, or areas of improvement you missed, that can make a big difference. This is a great “last line of defense” tactic so you can confidently go live for cyber five.
Run A Successful Holiday eCommerce Strategy
With the cyber five just three months away, it’s crunch time for retailers. With customer acquisition costs going up and marketing budgets going down, marketing and eCommerce teams must prioritize efficiency of the dollars they do have to spend. Every visitor to the site counts.
With the right preparation – clear communication with third-parties, varied landing page options, web page optimizations and simple site speed enhancements – retailers will be ready for what may be another record-breaking holiday shopping season.
YOTTAA is trusted by over 1,500 leading retailers to speed up their sites, resulting in lower bounces, higher conversions, and superior shopper experiences. By optimizing the loading of third-party eCommerce technologies, high resolution images, and other website elements, YOTTAA enables online brands to deliver a faster, safer site experience for every customer, from discovery to purchase.
Get a free site speed evaluation to get ready for the Cyber Five.