Cyber Monday One Week Later

A look at Cyber Monday a week after the fact.

A week ago, I wrote a post called, “Does Cyber Monday Exist?” where I said revenue for an online retailer I’m familiar with does, “as much as 2-3 times more revenue per day over the 2-3 weeks following Cyber Monday.” What’s happen?

Here’s a graph of daily online revenue from November 1st through Monday, December 5th:


Monday over Cyber Monday results: 25% increase in online sales. Not 2-3 times Cyber Monday, but significant enough to show that the Monday following Thanksgiving is not the peak of the online holiday shopping season.

What is the biggest concern online holiday shoppers have over the next two weeks? Will my order arrive on time?

Smart retailers find smart ways to address customer concerns. Amazon is one of the best at this. Here is a message currently running on their product pages:

Clicking on the holiday shipping link takes consumers to a table outlining what shipping options are appropriate for each day of the holiday shopping season:

And they reinforce their delivery promise during checkout by displaying the following message:

 

Amazon has done a great job addressing their customer’s main concern both when customers are considering adding a product to their cart and at checkout.

What concerns do your web site users have when using your site?

  1. Are they afraid you’re going to spam them?
  2. Do you address their shipping concerns?
  3. Do they understand your products?

The more concerns you can identify and address, the higher your conversion rate (percentage of visitors who “convert” to a sale/lead/subscription, etc.) will go.

Takeaways:

  • Cyber Monday isn’t the Monday following Thanksgiving.
  • Increase transactions by addressing your customer’s concerns throughout your site’s work flow.

Have you made any changes to your web site that have helped increase transactions? If so, please share an example in the comments field below.

Does Cyber Monday Exist?

Cyber Monday refers to the first Monday after the Thanksgiving weekend in the United States. This is supposedly the biggest online shopping day of the year. But is it?
Here’s a graph of an online retailer’s 2005 daily revenue through yesterday’s ‘Cyber Monday’:

Wow! That’s one heck of a spike! So Cyber Monday really exists?
That graph doesn’t tell the whole story: It turns out that this particular retailer historically has done as much as 2-3 times more revenue per day over the 2-3 weeks following Cyber Monday.
BusinessWeek breaks it down in an online column today, called Cyber Monday, Marketing Myth:

Contrary to what the recent blitz of media coverage implies, Cyber Monday isn’t nearly the biggest online shopping or spending day of the year. It ranks only as the 12th-biggest day historically, according to market researcher comScore Networks. It’s not even the first big day of the season.
For most online retailers, the bigger spending day of the season to date was way back on Nov. 22, three days before Black Friday. What’s more, most e-tailers say the season’s top spending day comes much later, between around Dec. 5 and Dec. 15.

Why the December 5th to the 15th?
1. We procrastinate,
2. But we realize online orders have to be shipped.
What can you do to take some stress out of your online holiday shopping?
1. Make sure you’re ordering products that are in stock.
2. Choose expedited shipping
3. Work with retailers who provide shipping tracking numbers, so you can pick up on any shipping snafus.
4. Work with credible retailers. Merchant ratings on sites like Shopping.com could help you determine who’s credible in addition to the major online retailers.
5. Don’t procrastinate.

Amazon.com’s Product Wiki: Customers Rule

Amazon.com has long been a leader in customer participation among retail web sites. If you haven’t been to Amazon in a while, take a quick look at the page for Freakonomics to get a feel for what Amazon is doing now.
Product pages include tons of user contributed information, including:
Customer Reviews
Customer Ratings
Ratings of Customer reviews
Customers who bought this also bought ______
Customers who views this also viewed ______
Listmania (customer generated lists of items that include this item)
And now they have new features, including tagging:
Customers tagged this item with ______
Customers who tagged this item are ______
And now the ProductWiki ( Customer-editable product information).
What the heck is a product Wiki?

Wikis are collections of information that are editable by all. For example, maybe you know something about the book Freakonomics that isn’t already mentioned on Amazon. Now you can share that knowledge with all future visitors to that page of Amazon’s site with a couple clicks. The wiki evolves over time as people add their two cents, ideally improving the content.
Why is Amazon getting into Wikis?

Amazon is in the business of selling products. A lot of products. Their expertise is in managing inventories and making good use of customer data. They do not know, or pretend to know, anything about the individual products they carry on their web site. That expertise comes from a combination of customer behavior (people who bought this also bought ___) and user contributed data in the form of reviews, ratings, and now Wikis.
How does Amazon benefit from this?

Anything that increases the odds of an Amazon customer having a good buying experience is a good thing. What are the odds that you’ll find a given book you buy on Amazon memorable? Those odds go up as Amazon provides more guidance through aggregated consumer behavior, and now wikis. Descriptive product content coming from genuine experts (people who’ve read the books, used the kitchen gadgets, bought the plasma TV) increases consumer confidence, increases the odds that Amazon will have a satisfied customer, thus increases Amazon.com’s bottom line.
What do you think? Will Amazon’s ProductWiki catch on? Do you think the success of Amazon’s wiki will correlate with future sales? Does Amazon already provide enough information for consumers without a Wiki?

A Quick Tip for the Holiday Bargain Shopper

Are you a bargain shopper who takes advantage of the deals offered by retailers on the day after Thanksgiving? This year, consider skipping the dark parking lots. Instead, stay at home and get the same deals online.
Many major retailers are offering the same deals on their web sites, so you can avoid pulling a hammy during the stampede at the store. Stay at home in your pajamas and get the same deals with less hassle.
Here’s one quick example: Walmart.com is promoting a 42-Inch Plasma TV for $997 in their Friday Only Specials circular. Their web site states that this item is available in stores and online, and is in fact “not available in all stores.”
Retailers don’t heavily advertise this bargain hunting loophole because they know you’ll spend more money on average if you physically go to their store. But web savvy bargain hunters know that time is money.
Good luck making the most of your holiday shopping dollars.