4 key Lessons From Cyber Monday

By Power Retail | 29 Nov 2017

Despite impressive 15% global growth this year on Cyber Monday, the day itself has lost its punch as the one day to score digital deals, with Black Friday emerging as the biggest digital shopping day of the season.

Ever since Cyber Monday became a “thing” in 2005, it was the digital shopping day of the holiday season, when consumers leveraged their fast corporate networks to buy online. However, Black Friday has emerged as the biggest digital shopping day of the season. And despite impressive 15% growth this year on Cyber Monday, the day itself has lost its punch as the one day to score digital deals, according to a new report from Salesforce.

Why? Consumers have pulled their shopping earlier, transforming Wednesday through Sunday into the new heart of the online shopping season.

Salesforce combined insights on the activity of 500 million global shoppers across 53 countries and billions of transactions powered by Commerce Cloud as well as millions of public social media conversations analyzed through its marketing technology to bring you four key takeaways from Cyber Monday in 2017:

Cyber Monday is still a critical shopping day

Thanksgiving, Black Friday and the rest of Cyber Weekend brought big gains to e-commerce this year. All that digital shopping happening early in the season begs the question, “Why does Monday still matter?” The very term “Cyber” Monday feels as antiquated as “information superhighway.” Further, deals are essentially available starting on Wednesday. Shoppers don’t need to wait for the office T1 line to get a speedy connection. One big reason: retail’s seemingly never-ending mandate to beat the previous year’s results, which typically means ‘anniversarying’ last year’s deal.

An interesting tidbit of information – average order value (AOV) is smaller on Monday than Friday, by about $10. This is due in large part to deeper discounts on Monday than on Friday, and lower (or no) free shipping thresholds. Both of those have a lot to do with anniversarying last year’s deal, year-in-year-out, for the days when we would wait to Monday to buy. For now, Cyber Monday lives on as the second-biggest shopping day of the holiday season.

Shoppers not quite so mobile on Monday

Sure, mobile makes headlines, but this Monday’s mobile behavior fell in line with the previous Cyber Monday trend; shoppers revert to purchasing on computers. Amidst the migration to mobile, Monday is a day when shoppers are in front of computers (we’re looking at you, corporate denizens shopping in your cubes), and thus mobile traffic fell on Monday compared to pre-peak shopping times. Make no mistake, though, mobile growth is still healthy, as shoppers placed 37% of orders and made 56% of visits from phones on Cyber Monday, outpacing last year’s values of 29% and 48%, respectively.

Personalization matters…even during the holiday shopping season

Conventional wisdom may dictate that shoppers are gifting, and that the impact of personalization would fall during the season. The reality, though, is that shoppers that engage with AI-powered product recommendations account for a greater share of revenue during Cyber Week than during a non-peak period. Overall, 5% of shoppers that engaged with AI-powered product recommendations accounted for 24% of revenue on Cyber Monday.

All about deep discounts and ubiquitous free shipping

While I (nor your email inbox) can’t say that discounts are a surprise, retailers gave up a bit more margin this year. While discounts edged up a fraction of a percentage point to 29% on Cyber Monday this year, free shipping also nudged higher, up to to 89% from 88% last year. Free shipping remains an expectation of the season, while retailers dug a bit deeper with discounting to solicit growth on Monday.

The first week of the season is complete, and with it more than one-third of digital holiday spend. By this time next week, shoppers will be done with half their digital Christmas shopping. Hang in there retailers — we can see the light!

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