More than mobile: Martech insights from Black Friday & Cyber Monday
Coming off of record sales and engagement, what can marketers do even better next year?
By now you’ve heard the news: Black Friday and Cyber Monday online sales went through the roof this year. According to Adobe, Monday was the largest online shopping day in history, with sales up nearly 17 percent over last year.
You may also have heard that mobile marketing had some big successes, with purchases on devices edging out desktop sales for the first time. Let’s look a bit deeper into the data and see what martech can learn from Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2017.
Major e-commerce platforms performed very well
Popular e-commerce sites and retailers did very well, with Amazon unsurprisingly leading the pack. According to an email from marketing analytics platform Jumpshot, which compared 20 leading online retailers, two-thirds of all online shoppers made their purchase on Amazon.
Shopify announced a gross merchandise volume (GMV) of $1 billion this weekend, generating $1 million in transactions and 7,000 orders per minute during its peak, according to a release sent out by the commerce company. Apparel, accessories and housewares were among its top product categories.
Yes, mobile is getting more and more popular. But no, we’re not there yet.
By most metrics, mobile performed great. Personalization platform Qubit analyzed more than 10 million shopper visits across 34 retail brands over the weekend and found that on Cyber Monday, mobile visitors edged out desktop visitors for the first time, with a 16.4 percent increase over last year. But although mobile was the most popular channel in terms of visitors, it made up only 28.1 percent of the revenue — most revenue came from desktop purchases. The company says this statistic suggests that shoppers had intended to make their purchase on mobile but switched to their desktops to complete the sale.
“Traditional mobile sites just aren’t designed for the way people want to discover and buy online,” Qubit CEO Graham Cooke said in a press release. “The channel is a ‘leaky bucket’ with consistently less RPV (revenue per visitor) than on desktop. This is a hard problem to solve, but we believe those retailers who put a focus on their mobile experience and employ technology like artificial intelligence, will game-change their mobile revenue for Black Friday 2018.”
Make the most of the mobile experience
Mobile engagement platform Leanplum and retail app platform Branding Brand’s Black Friday 2017: The Mobile Report found that companies had tremendous success when they reached out to customers via uniquely mobile communication-like alerts. The company says that shoppers responded positively to notifications.
“On Black Friday, marketers send 2.7 times as many push notifications as they would a standard Friday, to alert shoppers to time-sensitive sales and deals they definitely don’t want to miss,” said Joyce Solano, Leanplum vice president of global marketing. “But while normally more push sends wouldn’t lead to more push opens, on Black Friday, shoppers are hungry for great deals. Shoppers match marketers’ enthusiasm by opening push notifications 2.6 times as often — meaning opens are nearly the same rate as sends. Make sure during high shopping seasons that you’re taking advantage of push notifications and re-engaging your users with content they want to see. This is a must-have strategy to increase retention and revenue.”
The report also nodded to other ways mobile plays into potential conversions, citing customer awareness of brand campaigns and shoppers’ apparent willingness to opt in for brand communications and alerts. Half of shoppers said prior to the retail holiday that they would be likely to enable push notifications to learn about Black Friday deals. According to the report, 55 percent of Black Friday shoppers reported that receiving communications about Black Friday deals via email would influence purchases, followed by 25 percent preferring in-app messages and 23 percent favoring push notifications.
Importantly, the report noted that retail wasn’t the only vertical seeing brisk sales this weekend. Mobile games, news and fitness apps also saw a similar boost.
Personalization gets even more popular
Salesforce says that despite expectations that personalization would wane in popularity during the holiday gift-oriented season, shoppers engaged with AI-powered product recommendations for a greater share of revenue during Cyber Week than during a non-peak period. Overall, 5 percent of shoppers who engaged with AI-powered product recommendations accounted for 24 percent of revenue on Cyber Monday.
Try adding a human touch
Meanwhile, a study published by DT University, the education and training center of DialogTech, revealed that inbound call volumes on Cyber Monday were 58 percent higher than the average daily call volume for the rest of the year. The study examined data from the DialogTech voice management platform on more than 50 million consumer phone calls made in 2017 and more than 630,000 calls to businesses during winter holiday shopping periods. It spanned more than 40 industries, including retail, automotive, home services and maintenance, childhood education, construction, finance and healthcare.
“Whenever businesses experience significant increases in mobile shopping activity like on Cyber Monday, they also experience a corresponding jump in inbound calls,” said Alain Stephan, SVP of analytics services at DialogTech, in a press release. “It is crucial that brands provide these callers with personalized experiences and analyze these valuable interactions for insights to improve their marketing.”
LivePerson, a provider of cloud mobile and online business messaging solutions, also reported record growth in messaging communications through its platform during Cyber Weekend. It reported a 188 percent increase in first-time messaging conversations since 2016, indicating the rise of messaging as a customer service tool that is preferred over calling 1-800 numbers and transforming how people communicate with businesses.
“Cyber Weekend is critically important to companies doing business online, as it sets the stage not only for holiday shopping and e-commerce, but also for the customer service trends that we’ll see over the course of the year,” said Robert LoCascio, founder and CEO of LivePerson. “The significant growth in messaging this year, especially on mobile, illustrates a clear change in the way that consumers expect business to be conducted online.”
What does it mean for martech?
Numbers don’t lie. Shoppers want the benefit of great discounts and sales with the convenience of being able to make their purchases online and increasingly, on their mobile devices. It’s up to marketers to take that relationship to the next level by providing better mobile experiences, higher levels of personalization and more attention to customer service.