Cyber Five 2019 Recap: Strong Sales, Early Sales & More BOPIS

December 4, 2019

Brands By Bradley Hearn

Another Cyber Five is in the books, and another holiday shopping season is in full swing.  

The five busy shopping days from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday saw record growth across the board — from overall sales to average order value, mobile usage, in-store pickups and more. Adobe Analytics reports that Cyber Monday, the traditional highwater mark of the holiday season, hit $9.4 billion in revenue, surpassing last year’s record-breaking $7.9 billion. 

ChannelAdvisor’s preliminary results show a daily average revenue increase of 26.4% from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, year over year. 

A lot can happen in a week of holiday omnichannel commerce. (Toys R Us is making a comeback in both brick and mortar locations and online! Amazon is testing a new holiday storage facility?) As the dust settles on the 2019 Cyber Five, here are a few early takeaways from the shopping season so far:

Holiday Sales Numbers Are Strong 

Preliminary results from ChannelAdvisor’s marketplace sellers show a year-over-year revenue increase of 23.4% on Thanksgiving Day, 38.3% on Black Friday, 24.9% on Cyber Saturday (or Small Business Saturday), 21.9% on Cyber Sunday and 23.3% on Cyber Monday. 

Average order value (AOV) is up as well, according to Adobe, who saw a 6% increase. The company estimates that shoppers have spent $81.5 billion online since November 1. 

But the holiday season is obviously far from over. eMarketer predicts that total US retail sales are poised to climb 3.8% and eclipse $1 trillion in 2019, making it the first-ever trillion-dollar holiday season, while US retail e-commerce spending will rise 13.2% to $135.35 billion.

Shoppers and Sellers Have Become ‘Cyber Agnostic’

Much like your neighbor’s Christmas lights, holiday promotions have started popping up earlier and earlier with each passing year — and sometimes lingering around past the new year. 

The Cyber Five used to mark the kickoff to the heavy holiday shopping season, but the season is ever-evolving. Is it now the “Cyber Six?”… or the “Cyber Seven”? The truth is, retailers aren’t confined to days with catchy names or defined timeframes. Savvy brands and retailers start promotions in early November (if not before) and drive them through the final holiday push. 

These specific shopping “holidays” — Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Green Monday, etc. — do offer individual spikes for brands and retailers and provide benchmarks with which to compare themselves. But for consumers bombarded with an avalanche of varying promotional efforts, these holidays have come to represent more of a season-long event or shopping mindset than any individual, 24-hour sale. Depending on the retailer or consumer you ask, “Black Friday” might be just an umbrella term for any holiday deals and promotions. 

At Kohls, for example, “Black Friday” deals started on November 24 — four days before Thanksgiving. Prominent retailers like Macy’s, JCPenney, Target and Walmart got started early as well, with “Black Friday” deals debuting the day before Thanksgiving. 

Amazon, of course, began previewing their Black Friday merchandise back in early November and even launched a new procession of promotions after Cyber Monday called “12 Days of Deals” that will carry shoppers through most of the shopping season. Likewise, many of these major retailers will keep the promotions going strong for a full week after Cyber Monday

Brands investing heavily in digital marketing campaigns in early November have already reaped the benefits. Adobe has reported 13 days (and counting) with more than $2 billion in revenue since November 1. 

More individual records will continue to be broken into the new year as the amorphous holiday shopping season stretches further in each direction. 

BOPIS Is Surging

As the lines have blurred in the way brands and retailers promote their Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, similarly, the lines between online and offline shopping have begun to blur in how consumers shop. 

As a result, buy online and pickup in-store (or BOPIS) has become a popular option for many consumers this holiday season. Adobe reported a 43% uptick in BOPIS orders. Offering “click-and-collect” options for your products is a win-win for both sellers and shoppers, especially around the holidays, as consumers get their products faster and retailers save on shipping costs. 

Retail giants like Walmart and Target are already making good use of this omnichannel strategy, due to their strong brick-and-mortar footprint and solid mobile interfaces. 

Mobile Grabs More Revenue Share

Mobile also continued its steady rise in e-commerce influence — and not just mobile traffic. As conversions become easier and more frictionless on mobile devices (and tablets), mobile transactions are quickly gobbling up more of the online revenue share. 

According to Adobe, mobile and tablet devices accounted for 63% of site traffic from November 1 through December 2. During that same time period, $33.1 billion of products were purchased on mobile and tablet devices (39.6% of transactions) versus $48.4 billion (60.4% of transactions) on desktops. 

The year-over-year growth rate of mobile conversions is currently surpassing the growth of e-commerce itself, so it’s only a matter of time before the mobile traffic and transactions become the dominant source of revenue. 

What’s Next?

With the craziness of the holiday season in full swing, the real work begins for retailers to grind out a solid performance over the next three weeks. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Focus on the Full Funnel 

  • Do you have KPIs across every phase of the funnel? Are you tracking — and segmenting — ad spend at the top of the funnel against the bottom? 
  • What kind of top-of-funnel intent signals have you seen from consumers so far via page visits, ad clicks, abandoned carts, etc.? Use those signals to develop and refine your digital marketing audiences and develop campaigns specifically for them. As the season wears on, these interested consumers will shift from deal-driven behavior to need-driven behavior. Catch those desperate shoppers that you know were interested in your product with a well-placed, well-timed ad. 

Fine-Tune Fulfillment 

  • Your holiday fulfillment strategy is fully baked by this point in the season, but delivering on your shipping promises is vital to positive consumer experiences. Make sure you communicate all shipping deadlines and order statuses clearly with your new customers.
  • Remember: Many of your hard-earned holiday sales will be returned. How you handle them can be the difference between lasting loyalty and damaging reviews. Whether you work with a third-party logistics (3PL) partner or handle holiday returns in-house, look for ways to connect with your consumers and encourage future purchases.  

Stay Competitive on Pricing

  • Are you losing the Buy Box on Amazon to competitors who undercut you on price? Are you winning the Buy Box but eroding your profit margins in a constant race to the bottom? Find a repricing solution that allows you to beat your competitors while maximizing profit. 
  • ChannelAdvisor Elevate for Amazon is a new, standalone pricing and analytics solution that allows you to maximize sales with algorithmic repricing, move stale inventory with velocity repricing, discover new pricing opportunities and monitor your competition. Elevate is all the power of ChannelAdvisor’s proven repricing technology repackaged in an easy-to-use interface. Sign up today for a free trial and make the most of the holiday season. 

The Cyber Five isn’t the beginning of the shopping season or the end. Prepare for it, then use what you learned from it throughout the rest of the year and into 2020.

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