Cyber Monday 2013: Taking Stock and Looking Ahead

Now is a perfect time to digest the takeaways with Cyber Monday 2013 in the books and discover what the busiest online shopping day of the year says about the future.

Overall sentiment was positive with a reported 21% rise in online sales for the day. However, sales tapered throughout the day because many shoppers took advantage of online sales retailers started offering well ahead of Cyber Monday. Here’s a snapshot of some key results and insights for online retailers.

Mobile Sales Surged

Cyber Monday 2013: Taking Stock and Looking Ahead image Screen Shot 2013 12 06 at 1.52.31 PM 300x183Cyber Monday 2013: Taking Stock and Looking AheadAccording to IBM’s Digital Analytics Benchmark Cyber Monday report, mobile sales grew a healthy 55% on-year and accounted for about 17% of total online sales. Interestingly, smartphones were the choice for online browsing, while tablets drove the majority of actual sales. Tablets accounted for almost 12% of online sales, double that of smartphones. Tablet users also spent more per order than smartphone users: $126.30 vs. $106.46.

A rapid and permanent shift among consumers to mobile has become a reality. As mobile devices improve, and shoppers become comfortable using tablets as their main web device, mobile sales will comprise a bigger piece of the e-commerce pie moving forward. It’s important for retailers to not just have their online store simply “fit” on mobile screens but to think about how their content is truly optimized in ways that maximize conversions. Multivariate and A/B testing are becoming popular ways to accomplish this.

Retail Apps are Gaining Popularity

Cyber Monday 2013: Taking Stock and Looking Ahead image Screen Shot 2013 12 06 at 2.12.01 PM 300x209Cyber Monday 2013: Taking Stock and Looking AheadFollowing up on the previous point about mobile optimization, many retailers are finding success with native apps vs. mobile sites alone. The IBM report cited that during the five-day holiday shopping period retailers sent out an average of 77% more push notifications through apps consumers had installed on their mobile devices. Additionally, average daily retail app installations grew by 29% over the same time period.

Mobile apps aren’t the answer for all retailers. However, for retailers with product categories such as fashion and items that can be browsed and have multiple variables (size, color, style, etc.), mobile apps can give a boost to traffic and conversions. App analytics provider, Flurry, reported that mobile users spent 525% more time on retail mobile apps in 2012 than the previous year. This is something significant to think about as mobile apps have become easier to create without heavy tech knowledge required.

Facebook Trumps Pinterest

Cyber Monday 2013: Taking Stock and Looking Ahead image Screen Shot 2013 12 06 at 1.55.06 PM 202x300Cyber Monday 2013: Taking Stock and Looking Ahead

IBM reported that when it came to social influence, Facebook came out ahead of Pinterest (which interestingly much more visually focused). On average holiday shoppers that came through a Facebook referral spent 6% more per order than shoppers coming through Pinterest ($97.81 vs. $92.40). Facebook referrals also converted sales at a rate of 38% higher than Pinterest. The hypothesis here is that people have a higher trust in recommendations from their personal networks.

For fashion retailers, an Edison Research/Netbase report on how social media influences fashion purchases supports this theory. The study showed that Facebook is most influential with social shoppers, with 72% being influenced by Facebook in at least one category of costume jewelry, cosmetics, casual clothing and special occasion clothing. This isn’t to say that retailers should put all their social eggs in one basket but should certainly identify and engage with their brand advocates and influencers on Facebook.

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