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‘Tis the Season for Reflecting on Cyber Weekend and What’s Next for Santa’s Arrival

From Thanksgiving Day to the following Monday, retailers across the country hold their breath as they anticipate the results of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the two largest selling days of the year in the United States. This particular Cyber Weekend, GroupBy saw 100% uptime across the board for its digital retail clients. Cyber Monday 2018 marked our highest traffic ever with shoppers making 96.3 million searches in just one day, 2.5 times higher than results from the previous year.

According to Adobe Analytics, Cyber Monday 2018 broke the online sales record with spending in the U.S. reaching $7.9 billion, nearly 20% above last year. Thanksgiving and Black Friday also yielded their highest revenues yet at $3.7 billion and $6.2 billion. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 24-25, additionally set a new record as the biggest online shopping weekend in the U.S. at $6.4 billion.

For our retail customers here at GroupBy, we saw similar spikes. Compared to the weekend prior, Black Friday to Cyber Monday reaped increases of 72% in visits, 264% in orders and 185% in revenue. For the five-day period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, GroupBy customers recorded $240 million in orders on the online platform and we estimate $450 million in online transactions. The sector with the largest increase was clothing and apparel, which saw a more than 300% jump in ecommerce order volumes compared to the previous weekend.

As we reflect on this peak shopping period and what’s next until Santa arrives on December 25, we believe some noteworthy tactics contributed to our success. The inevitable increases in online orders and site visits mean the competition will only grow stronger in the coming years, so a proactive approach to winning customers over will help prepare you for the most important retail weekend of the year. Consider the following tips and remember, it’s never too early to start planning for next year!

Comprehensive product data does the trick

Whether a shopper is browsing or visiting your site with a specific product in mind, a user-friendly search experience could make or break the sale. Ensuring product descriptions are both accurate and detailed is a good place to start as consumers value being well informed before making a purchase. Enhanced descriptions also increase the chances a consumer will find the products they are looking for, which potentially saves retailers from losing a shopper to a competing site.

Limited time to buy gifts as the holidays inch closer means more shoppers are turning to online as a fulfillment option. For some, this may even be their first time. Keep this in mind as you strive to provide them with a first impression that will keep them coming back for more. To fight through the barrier of the screen which prevents familiar in-store experiences like touching, feeling and trying on, more precise and complete product data and information does the trick when it comes to increasing conversion rates and bolstering customer loyalty.

Dazzle your site with a personalized online shopping experience

In the midst of holiday shopping madness and hunts for the best deals, make your site stand out by curating a personalized online environment for your customers. Rather than bombarding visitors with promos based on previous purchases or demographics, online retailers increasingly need to live up to expectations of a more custom-made approach. To provide customers with experiences that truly capitalize on their interests and ultimately increase conversion rates, retailers should realize data is the force that drives contextual relevancy.

Using data for personalization can go a long way as customers are more likely to explore a site longer and purchase more items when they feel the shopping experience has been created for them. In place of a store associate gauging a customer’s interests, online retailers can create a dialogue with each site visitor, which allows discovery of real-time intent with purchases.

Matching data with relevancy is also crucial and implementing the right tools and procedures to solve for relevancy will create the best one-to-one experiences across all of the individual shopper’s touchpoints. Looking at the whole picture and combining product data, behavioral data and improved search capabilities is your best bet at delivering true value to each shopper. Catering to unique search queries can also ramp up personalization efforts. With hundreds of ways to search for a single item, implementing an elevated machine learning component will benefit retailers and shoppers alike.

Check your progress with analytics

By now, your to-do list is probably pretty lengthy as thoughts of data and personalization race around in your head. As you start implementing these best practices, consider tracking your progress with analytics to evaluate shoppers’ responses, which will indicate the impact of your efforts. Tools such as interactive dashboards and regular health checks will allow you to visibly see where you stand and obtain real-time insight into operational performance.

While it seems like Santa will arrive any day now and Cyber Weekend 2019 is light years away, it will sneak up without warning. To make the most of the five days of the year where online retailers receive the most searches and secure the most sales, start endeavoring to make your site a more data-rich, personalized experience for every customer who interacts with you. This season’s proactive efforts will easily turn into next season’s rewards.