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Cyber Monday – Christmas starts with… a tap

Posted by Joe McNamara on 3rd December 2013

Cyber Monday has been accepted into mainstream vocabulary this year. I wrote this time last year about the uncertain future of what one may term traditional Christmas shopping and this year’s online frenzy certainly didn’t disappoint.

Well, it didn’t disappoint in the sense that some online retailers were slashing prices by up to 70% over the course of 24 hours. Try that one for size, web servers. However, there are still a few opportunities that retailers haven’t seized upon as effectively as they may have done.

Danielle Kucera wrote an excellent piece on this topic for Bloomberg, which revealed some very interesting numbers. Mobile traffic accounted for 30% of total site visits this year – an increase of more than 58% from 2012.

Yet a distinction is made: “retailers catering to smartphone and tablet users benefitted the most.” Really? Online retailers still aren’t ‘doing’ mobile? IAB UK stats from earlier this year show us 74% of the top 50 UK retailers have mobile-optimised sites, but only 8% have tablet-optimised sites.

That’s staggering – especially when you consider that in March this year tablets officially overtook smartphones in the amount of web traffic produced. According to IBM statistics, tablets accounted for 9.8% over the 5.7% from smartphones during this year’s Black Friday weekend. I also hate to break it to everyone, but that means 85% of traffic is still coming from laptops and desktops.

The bottom line is – if you’re an online retailer you need to compete online. It’s not enough to just be there – you need to be optimised across devices. You need to be driving traffic towards your site using PR, social media and email marketing. You know, kind of similar to how you drive traffic to your physical stores with advertising and vouchers.

Speaking of physical stores, total in-store purchases fell by 2.9% compared to last year over the Thanksgiving holiday. It doesn’t quite suggest the High Street is dead. But online spending is rising more rapidly than offline sales. So, it’s quite clear where the opportunity is for retailers.

Joe McNamara