8 Insights & Takeaways from Cyber Monday 2011!

CyberMondayCoined in 2005 by Shop.org, the National Retail Federation’s online division, Cyber Monday – the Monday after Thanksgiving – has become a ubiquitous mass market phenomenon.

1. Chase’s Cyber Holiday Pulse Index reports Cyber Monday is widely considered the unofficial kickoff of the online shopping season. However, trends indicate shoppers start ramping up their purchasing behavior in the beginning of November – at least 3 weeks prior.  What differentiates Cyber Monday is the proliferation of promotions, sales and hype.

Takeaway: Your ecommerce business may be able to capitalize on the weeks prior to Cyber Monday to capture some of that early consumerism by catching shoppers with creative promotions and buying incentives.

2. IBM’s fourth annual Cyber Monday Benchmark study revealed that Cyber Monday deals lured a record number of online shoppers, leading to a 33% jump in U.S. sales in 2011 over 2010. The report also indicated that consumers spent an average of 2.6% more this year than last, with the average online order hitting a record $198.26 over $193.24 for 2010. "Retailers that adopted a smarter approach to commerce, one that allowed them to swiftly adjust to the shifting shopping habits of their customers, whether in-store, online or via their mobile device, were able to fully benefit from this day and the entire holiday weekend," stated John Squire, chief strategy officer of IBM’s "Smarter Commerce" team.

Takeaway: Ecommerce businesses that take advantage of the sheer volume of traffic to optimize and maximize their conversion rates will be the most successful.  Take advantage of all the analytics tools available to you to gain insight into your visitors’ behavior and zero in on the sweet spot for maximum conversions.

3. Laurie Sullivan for Media Post reports that Cyber Monday was once again November’s top paid-search sales day in 2011, and conversion rates this year were significantly higher than last. “However, growth metrics for revenue, order and clicks were actually the highest Cyber Sunday, or the Sunday after Thanksgiving,” Sullivan continued. “Cyber Sunday [this year] experienced the strongest year-over-year growth for paid-search revenue.”

Takeaway: Don’t just focus on Cyber Monday, or even Black Friday. While “Cyber Sunday” may not be a household term, it is a demonstrably valuable opportunity to capture revenue from an increasingly active online consumer audience.

4. What was the turnout for Cyber Monday 2011?

A PriceGrabber survey found:

i.      92% of Cyber Monday shoppers are motivated primarily by the abundance of one-day deals and free shipping offers.

ii.      40% of consumers intended to shop on Black Friday followed closely by 39% of consumers planning to shop on Cyber Monday (up 37% over last year.)

The Washington Post reported on some interesting statistics provided by Mashable and Coremetrics:

i.      Sales for 2011 Cyber Monday beat last year by 13.7 percent, but topped this year’s Black Friday by 24.1 percent.

ii.      This year, the average online order on Black Friday jumped to $170.19 – that’s a 35% increase over last year’s average $126.04 order in 2010.

iii.      Consumer shopping hit its peak from 12-1 p.m. EST.

Takeaway: That’s a lot of traffic. Are you losing any of it due to slow site load time or server overload?  Is your site scalable on the fly so you can handle large bursts of traffic? If not, you may want to consider evaluating Applied Innovations’ Hyper-V cloud solutions.

5. IBM’s Cyber Monday Benchmark study also found that 2011’s Cyber Monday also saw a significant increase in mobile ecommerce. This year, a record 10.8% of consumers used a smart phone or tablet to visit an ecommerce site, up from 3.9% in 2010. Mobile devices were responsible for 6.6% of Cyber Monday purchases, up from 2.3% a year earlier. Apple’s i-devices rank highest for mobile device Cyber Monday and Black Friday traffic, followed closely by Android.  iPhones represented 4.1% of ecommerce web surfing; 3.3% was attributed to iPad and 3.2% to Android. IBM reported: "Shoppers using the iPad also continued to drive more retail purchases than any other device with conversion rates reaching 5.2 percent compared to 4.6 percent [on other devices.]”

Takeaway: If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re missing a huge – and ever-growing – opportunity.

6. Ebates, which calls itself “a pioneer in online cash back shopping” reports on the top six reasons U.S. adults shop online for holiday gifts:

  1. To get the best prices and deals (64%)
  2. For the convenience of shopping from home (57%)
  3. To avoid the holiday shopping crowds (47%)
  4. Ability to research the best gifts (36%)
  5. Access to a better inventory and wider selection (32%)
  6. To save money on gas (16%)

Takeaway: Price and convenience are huge motivators.  You knew that already, right? But are you designing your promotions and customer communications around that? And have you asked yourself what that means to YOUR customers in relation to YOUR product?

7. According to Deloitte, social media plays a big part in ecommerce success.

  1. 44% of consumers are using social media sites for holiday shopping
  2. 57% use social sites to find discounts
  3. 51% read reviews
  4. 49% use social sources to find gift ideas

Takeaway: Social Media is a key component in reaching and engaging your customers. Just do it.

8. Retailer Behavior, per Shop.org

  1. 92% of online retailers are offering deals over Thanksgiving weekend, 80% linked to Cyber Monday
  2. 45% offer coupon / percent-off deals
  3. 38% will offer limited-time promotions
  4. 30% will promote free standard shipping with conditions
  5. 15% will include a free gift with purchase

Takeaway: Try a variety of approaches, promotions, discounts, sales and deals. See what works for your target audience. Track results and keep adjusting to maximize your ROI.

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