The holiday shopping season is in full swing. Despite it being of shorter duration this year due to a late Thanksgiving here in the U.S., it’s looking more and more like the season will be a record-setting one for retailers. One reason? The increasingly important online sales. As the inimitable Jamie Saine wrote about last month, people were predicting an increase in e-commerce sales this year. Turns out those predictions were more spot-on than almost any of us thought they’d be, thanks to an incredible opening weekend. From Paul Demery of Internet Retailer:
Mobile commerce sales accounted for nearly 21% of total Black Friday digital sales in the United States, $314 million out of $1.512 billion, and nearly 17% of Cyber Monday sales, $350 million out of $2.085 billion, Internet research firm comScore Inc. reports. … The fact that mobile commerce accounted for close to one in five digital dollars, or 18.5%, spent on those two days is significant. …
By comparison, mobile’s share of online retail spending in the third quarter was 10.8%, and in the fourth quarter of 2012 it was 11.3%. The research firm attributes the increase in mobile’s share partly to the trend of shoppers to buy on mobile devices from retail web sites after viewing products in a bricks-and-mortar store, as well as their shopping via smartphones and tablet computers while sitting at home. …
In another measure of online shopping activity, online customer service company LivePerson Inc. says it hosted a record number of digital engagements, such as live chat sessions, on Cyber Monday. “In addition to the record-breaking number of engagements and chat interactions, LivePerson saw a dramatic increase in visitor traffic across its network, which was up 38% from last year,” the company says.
All of this reinforces the need for retailers to test their apps and websites. Remember, as we noted a few weeks back, it’s no longer enough for your retail app or website to just work. What makes your ecommerce presence successful is how it delights would-be customers and gets them to purchase what they’ve perused. What’s also important is how your ecommerce site performs under high traffic. The high sales numbers for this year’s opening weekend signify the official paradigm shift – online retail sales are not a nice add-on, but a necessity for companies during the holiday season. Make sure your site is tested to make sure it will perform, or else you could be missing out on countless potential sales.
Will the pace set by the record-setting opening weekend hold up throughout this shortened holiday season? We’ll have to wait and see. I know I’ve got my sites picked out, and I’ll be continuing to use them for the remainder of the year.
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