The Season’s Biggest Shopping Days Deliver New Insights as More Shoppers Find Their Way Online
Say, “Goodbye!” to Black Friday and Cyber Monday as stand-alone shopping events and say, “Hello” to Cyber Weekend. Thanks to deep discounts and endless promotions from every major online retailer, sales reached an unprecedented $7B over the holiday weekend! Perhaps more interesting than the sales numbers themselves – $3.34B+ on Black Friday and $3.45B on Cyber Monday – are the evolving habits of today’s shoppers.
While in-store sales still surge over e-commerce, this year we saw almost 110M shoppers online, a signal that convenience is becoming the norm for modern shoppers. Whether traveling, on a lunch break or nestled in bed post-Thanksgiving dinner, consumers have access to e-commerce anytime, anywhere. With so many headed to their favorite online stores, retailers are forced to create differentiated site experiences, ensuring shoppers can find the most inspiring and relevant products in their search.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the key shopping trends from Cyber Week 2016, as well as the exciting online shopping insights we gathered from Edgecase clients:
Mobile is on the rise, outpacing even desktop and tablet growth.
The statistics really speak for themselves on this one. Black Friday saw 36% of sales generated from mobile phones, while consumers went on to spend a whopping $1.07B on their tablets and smartphones on Cyber Monday. These numbers represent a 33% and 35% surge over last year, respectively. What’s not obvious in these numbers, is the fact that mobile traffic growth outpaced both desktop and tablet growth. While desktop computers still generated the highest conversion rates (around 6%), mobile devices accounted for 55% of all online shopping visits on Black Friday. So, if shoppers aren’t completing transactions on their phone, what’s the use of mobile sites?
As the holiday approaches, more and more shoppers are turning to their phones to begin researching the products they want. This puts pressure on retailers to have a responsive, relevant mobile experience allowing shoppers to easily browse and quickly find what they’re looking for using filtered navigation or product recommendation tools. For Edgecase clients, mobile filter engagement spiked 5X from their normal usage. While conversion rates remained relatively flat for mobile shoppers, the important takeaway here is that shoppers are trusting their mobile phones to deliver detailed product information to help guide them on a purchase path. Without a great navigation and/or onsite search experience, expect shoppers to head elsewhere to find what they’re looking for.
Investing in the e-commerce experience will pay-off, especially when engaging first-time visitors.
During Cyber Weekend, Amazon.com came to play. They rolled out Black Friday deals starting November 1, overhauled their mobile apps and optimized their e-commerce experience with curated gift guides, package tracking and product matching technology. The extra effort definitely paid off, with Amazon capturing 31% of all online sales. While they certainly proved a tough competitor, it’s no surprise that any retailer willing to invest in creating personalized e-commerce experiences will see happy shoppers and better sales. Luckily, in 2016 most retailers were well-equipped and prepared to deliver intuitive, engaging site experiences without any significant site crashes (except for Macy’s!).
However, with so many discounts and promotions, retailers may be quick to forget that a large majority of shoppers are visiting their site for the first time. New shoppers won’t know where things are, so they’ll be relying on search and navigation to guide them. In fact, for Edgecase customers, filter engagement rates are (on average) 40% higher for first time visitors versus those who’ve shopped before.
Over the Cyber Weekend, Edgecase clients also saw a drastic increase in filter engagement as shoppers were highly motivated to find the perfect gift. On Black Friday, we observed a 48.7% increase in filter engagement and on Cyber Monday, a 46.7% increase. Interestingly, we also found that while repeat shoppers who engage with filters tend to convert higher (52% more on average), having relevant, well-structured filters mattered more to first time shoppers, who helped generate a 2X lift in average conversion.
Structured, enriched data drives better results. Period.
This trend is more specific to the work Edgecase, but the point is relevant across the e-commerce industry: better data = better results. If you read any piece of coverage from Cyber Weekend (here, here, or here) you can easily conclude that e-commerce experiences fueled by better data is still a top priority for retailers and shoppers alike.
It’s not easy to seamlessly translate the in-store experience online. Sales associates are traditionally the best resources for the in-store shopper because they can ask discovery questions and guide shoppers to relevant products based on preference. The same is true for onsite search and filtered navigation – which must enable shoppers to narrow a broad set of products into the most relevant set. This, of course, starts with structured data.
Our clients understand the value of good data and how it can power an optimized, inspiring, experience for their shoppers. Over the course of the holiday shopping week, Edgecase clients delivered strong overall site performance, complimented by significant increases in filter engagement. Highlights include:
It’s important to have structured data fueling product discovery, not only for the big purchasing days, but as the holiday months progress. In fact, only 9% of consumers have finished their holiday shopping, which means 90% of people are still making their lists (and checking them twice). Now is the time for retailers to ensure they have the best product data fueling their all of their e-commerce investments, from SEO to onsite search. Connecting shoppers with the products they love quickly, easily, and on their terms is the key to conversion this holiday season and beyond.