Key Takeaways from 2019 Black Friday & Cyber Monday for eCommerce

The biggest shopping holiday of 2019 is behind us now.

Both Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2019 were a success but there’s always something to be learned. There are a few key takeaways for retail and eCommerce businesses that will help them succeed in 2020.

Before we do that, let’s review some of the highlights from 2019 Cyber Week.

2019 black friday cyber monday digital sales results

According to Salesforce’s report, Cyber Monday was the biggest day of the Cyber Week, recording $8B in U.S digital sales. Compared to 2018, that’s a whooping 11% increase. Black Friday came in second at $7.2B.

Salesforce also reported the following key insights about Cyber Monday:

📈 Average Order Value was $99
📦 Free shipping rate was 90% of total orders
📱 Mobile traffic share was 68% while mobile order share was 48%
💲 Discount rate was an average of 32%
⚙️ Product recommendation led to 9% of digital orders on Thanksgiving Day, resulting in 12% more units per transaction

Whoa. That sounds like a whole lot of activity. But what does this mean to retailers and eCommerce?

Here are a few key takeaways that can better prepare you for 2020 for a bigger success.

1. Go mobile or go home

First of all, it’s obvious that mobile presence is absolutely mandatory if you’re in the eCommerce space.

Just look at the sheer number of mobile traffic share of 68%! Without a mobile-friendly website, you’re missing a huge chunk of shoppers that are on the go.

But it’s not just about having a mobile presence that matters.

Did you notice above a huge gap in mobile traffic and its order share?

68% of traffic came in from mobile devices, however, that was only 48% of total orders.

Look at it from the other side. 32% of traffic came in from non-mobile device, such as desktop or tablet, but they placed 52% of the total orders.

What could be the potential issues that lead shoppers to look on their mobile devices but drop off and not purchase?

  • Mobile website isn’t performing well or loads too slowly
  • Your design has too much for a small screen
  • Mobile experience isn’t optimize, i.e navigation is difficult
  • The check-out process is complicated or lengthy

There are many relatively quick ways to assess and fix these issues.

3 Ways To Optimize Your Mobile Website

Keep it simple

Mobile experience is unique because it’s on a tiny screen. A beautiful website design or a detailed menu can make it difficult to find what they are looking for.

Keep your mobile site simple and limit your options available.

This doesn’t mean you should eliminate all aesthetic elements of your site. You can certainly keep it appealing while it’s simple.

Take a look at your header and menu on your phone and see if that’s too distracting or difficult to navigate.

Are your chatbot and popups really necessary on your mobile site?

Check your mobile performance

If you don’t have a separate mobile website, you can use a responsive design that shares the same theme across all devices including desktop, tablet, and mobile but adjusts to the user’s screen size.

WordPress, Shopify, Magento, and many others will offer website themes that are already responsive so be sure to choose one accordingly.

Not sure if your site is already responsive?

Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to see if Google considers your site mobile-friendly.

Simply go on Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test and enter your url to test.

Google Mobile Friendly Test.

And Google will show whether your page is mobile friendly or not.

Google Mobile Friendly Test Result

Also, speed is very important. Not just for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) purposes but for customer experience as well.

To quickly assess your mobile site speed, you can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.

PageSpeed Insights will evaluate both mobile and desktop site speed.

If you’re in eCommerce, you should aim for 3 seconds of load time or less.

Simplify Your Check-out Process

If a shopper has decided to finally purchase something, you shouldn’t make it difficult for them to complete the transaction.

Do they need to go through a few pages before they can complete the order?

How easy is it to pay?

Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Keep it short and sweet. Only ask for information that is absolutely necessary.
  2. No distractions. Evaluate whether your header/footer, menu, and other site elements are needed during the checkout process. You can either remove or minimize them.
  3. Data Validation. Tell them what information and in what format you need. When invalid, tell them right away so they can fix it right away.
  4. Offer more payment options. Accepting major credit card? What about PayPal or Amazon Pay? This makes it convenient for shoppers that have their payment information already stored
  5. If you allow shoppers to create an account, be sure they have the ability to easily log in so your site can automatically pull their shipping and/or payment options for a faster checkout.

2. Personalization is no longer an option

When you see the word personalization, you may immediately think of using customers’ first name in your marketing.

Yes, that is a great example of personalization but it provides so much more value to your business than giving your customers a warm and fuzzy feeling.

According to SearchCustomerExperience, personalization is ” the process of tailoring pages to individual users’ characteristics or preferences… Personalization is a means of meeting the customer’s needs more effectively and efficiently, making interactions faster and easier and, consequently, increasing customer satisfaction and the likelihood of repeat visits.”

On Thanksgiving Day in 2019, product recommendations led to 9% of digital orders, resulting in 12% more units per transaction.

This perfect example of personalization is giving shoppers value based on what you already know about them or similar customers.

Using related or recommended products, products frequently bought together, or bundle deals, you can easily and quickly raise your Average Order Value.

3. Is Cyber Week profitable for you?

While it’s exciting to take part in the biggest shopping holiday in the country, many businesses are blindly participating without knowing its true effects on them.

Based on the above Salesforce report’s Cyber Monday insights, we see that businesses offered an average of 32% in discount and spent more customer service resources.

Many new customers acquired during Cyber Week using your discount are price-sensitive customers. So here are a few questions to answer:

  1. Will they be coming back to buy from you again even with a smaller discount or no discount at all?
  2. How much are these non-returning customers costing you in terms of customer service or marketing?
  3. Are they likely to become your brand’s advocate and refer other customers?
  4. What is your true profit after free shipping, discounts, extra customer service, and marketing?

This is a great time to measure your Customer Lifetime Value to help you answer these questions.

Once you understand your Customer Lifetime Value, you can confidently determine what type of audience you want to target and how much discount you should, or can afford to, offer. Your focus will change to acquiring the right type of customers that will be more profitable.

Final Thoughts

2019 Cyber Week was a success and there are a few things we can learn from the data:

  1. Mobile presence is a must and mobile user experience needs to be exceptional
  2. Personalization is the key to higher revenue and profit
  3. Customer Lifetime Value will help you better plan what type of customers to acquire with what promotions for you to be more profitable

We all want to do more with less and that should be applicable with customers and revenue.

Making more (revenue) with less (customers).

Agreed? Then share this on social media to spread the message!

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