As Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) 2017 sales morph into the next step of order fulfillment, we began uncovering all the stories and takeaways from the weekend numbers.
Let's start with how merchants on Workarea outperformed mobile industry figures on multiple days because the massive wins deserve much love.
Then our BFCM weekend analysis wraps with advice on how to make the most of what's left of the holiday season, and how to get ahead for January 2018.
Workarea Merchant Mobile Numbers Surpass Top 100 Retailers
Looking at Thanksgiving, industry reports showed 55.7% of overall traffic came from smartphones and tablets. Across the 700+ sites on Workarea, 63.5% of traffic stemmed from phones and tablets. Workarea merchants saw mobile phone users make up 51% of ecommerce site visits whereas the top 100 U.S. retailers saw 46%.
For Workarea retailers on Black Friday, mobile contributed 64% of overall traffic while the top 100 U.S. retailers landed at 61%. Mobile purchases made up 43.7% of total traffic for our customers (Adobe reported 39.8% from data on the top 100 retailers).
The 3 Most Unignorable Consumer Trends During BFCM Weekend
1. Promotion overkill was a deal-breaker for many shoppers.
When consumers felt a retailer had too many promotions, purchase procrastination set in with the hope even larger discounts would be seen as the hours passed. As an industry, we cannot point the finger at consumers for this learned behavior.
Retail has conditioned the consumer and must accept the behavior BFCM promotional tactics create.
Many consumers sat on the sidelines quite a lot this weekend after watching the barrage of pre-Black Friday promotions in emails and on sites. Be mindful how your average order value will drop when deeply discounting things like entire categories.
2. Mobile shoppers became digital buyers.
Thank fast page load times, improved filtering, larger smartphone screens. Consumer confidence in mobile purchasing is at an all-time high and BFCM proved any doubters wrong.
Even high-ticket products such as jewelry and furniture, items that are historically researched on smartphones and then purchased on a desktop, saw an uptick in sales last weekend.
Black Friday is still the biggest day for brick-and-mortar retail, and it’s generally expected that a portion of digital and mobile traffic is research for in-store purchases. But data from 700+ sites on Workarea showed mobile traffic held steady at 55% over the weekend—on par with Black Friday.
3. Device hopping wasn't so prevalent.
We saw the proportion of mobile traffic holding steady at 55-56% (smartphone and tablet) throughout the entire BFCM weekend (including Saturday and Sunday), indicating that shoppers are not necessarily device switching from mobile to desktop to shop from work, school or home on Cyber Monday.
Going back just 12 months to the 2016 holiday season, the preference to hop across devices was far higher for consumers. With desktop sales trailing mobile on Cyber Monday for the first time, retailers are lessening the consumer drop-off through smoother mobile experiences.
Quick tip: Online retailers should consider that mobile marketing channels like social, push notifications, and mobile search ads are opportunities to increase traffic, with increasing confidence this traffic can be converted.
Where Cyber Monday 2017 Matured
Cyber Monday, originally coined by the online retail industry in response to the observed traffic and sales spike online on the Monday following Black Friday has become mainstream to consumers as “the digital Black Friday,” and the numbers are validating this. Consumers know their inbox will be flooded with as good or better deals than Friday, and are taking advantage of retailers’ aggressive promotional tactics.
The year-over-year Cyber Monday revenue gains we observed across 700+ customer sites of 31% for mobile and 23% for desktop exceed the traffic gain of 14% on mobile and slight dip of -2% for desktop. This suggests consumers are increasingly comfortable with transacting via mobile and responded positively to Cyber Monday promotions across device types.
Our year-long data shows Mondays are the most common online shopping days regardless of season, and that holds steady during the holidays. Looking ahead to Green Monday and every Monday until the shipping cutoff, online retailers can leverage their daily campaign data to ensure ad spend is directed to the channels that are converting, and take advantage of dayparting and bidding strategies based on time-segmented trends. While last-minute content and merchandising decisions may not be possible, fine-tuning top-of-funnel strategies should be top-of-mind for digital teams.
The BFCM weekend is the trickiest for retailers, as consumers are now trained to anticipate big deals on Cyber Monday. Many retailers leveraged Cyber Monday previews and pre-shops to build demand, and communicating urgency and risk of limited product availability is a good way to get ahead of Cyber Monday and keep sales moving through the historic weekend. Black Friday “holdovers” were also a tactic we observed. And we expect “Cyber Week” promotions (post Cyber-Monday) to increase this year over last, as retailers push to keep online sales competitive.
Quick tip: In a rolling document, collect all the "I-wish-we-had" ideas or competitor moves your team spots. Capturing and collecting screenshots into a shared folder is something our Customer Success Team highly recommends. Although some of the concepts will tend to be holiday-focused, they just might boost sales for forthcoming promotions.
See how 700+ sites performed on Workarea from November 1-22 in our first blog post covering the 2017 holiday shopping season.
Stay tuned for more holiday customer data and insights from the Workarea Commerce Intelligence Unit. Have requests or seeking comment from a Workarea executive? Contact pr [at] workarea.com. Cheers!