As December encroaches upon us, the holiday shopping season is in full swing. By now most of us are familiar with the deeply discounted deals offered in the wee hours of the morning the day after Thanksgiving, ie “Black Friday”. Additionally, “Cyber Monday”, the ecommerce-driven follow-up to Black Friday, was introduced in 2005. While it is hardly a new concept, it wasn’t until 2009 that the internet saw more sales on Cyber Monday than on Black Friday. Then in 2010, Cyber Monday actually eclipsed Black Friday as the biggest online shopping day of the year, a trend that has continued this holiday season with an estimated $1.25 billion in spending. As holiday crowds increasingly transpire online instead of the local mall, what will be the impact on ecommerce?

In addition to Cyber Monday, many retailers continued offering holiday deals throughout the week, thus driving even more sales in an aptly named ‘Cyber Week’. Many retailers also offered a variety of deals available online on Thursday (Black Thursday?) or earlier this year to further their sales. As seasonal ecommerce sales (along with online sales in general) continue to rise with each passing year, it becomes increasingly important for retailers to have an established, aesthetically pleasing and user friendly online presence and digital strategy. On the consumer side, 31% of women surveyed expected to spend more time shopping online than in a mall. Reportedly, consumers made 34% of their electronics purchases online which is more than double the percentage from just five years ago. It appears that both consumers and retailers themselves are driving the online trend and it doesn’t show any sign of slowing down.

Another significant shift is in the added bonus to consumers of free shipping. In a recent survey, half of the shoppers polled said they would abandon their online transaction if free shipping wasn’t offered. Retailers have responded with 92.5% reporting that they planned to offer free shipping. Traditionally a caveat of shopping online, free shipping is yet another trend driving holiday ecommerce and leveling the playing field between online retail and traditional brick-and-mortar stores.

Mobile is also becoming increasingly significant in the ecommerce space as roughly half of smartphone users planned to use their device for product research, couponing and apps. Not surprisingly, 51% of retailers have invested in mobile optimized web sites to promote the best user experience for mobile purchasing. Another 19% of retailers have developed shopping assistance apps to aid holiday shoppers in their purchases.

The Future of Seasonal eCommerce

If these trends point to any conclusion, it is that consumers are increasingly demanding shopping solutions that save them time and money while maximizing their convenience. Also, assuming the Cyber Monday shopping trend continues along the current trajectory, sales will only continue to increase each year thus making retailers’ online presence even more significant than their physical stores. Whether a business is solely ecommerce or a retailer with an online presence, it would be wise to invest in user experience and optimize for a variety of devices to ensure that shoppers can find and purchase the products they’re interested in quickly and easily. Last but not least, following the age-old advice of listening and adapting to the changing demands of consumers, such as free shipping, is at the root of staying ahead of the curve and your competitors.

DOOR3 has helped many of its clients refine and build intuitive ecommerce sites and optimize cross-platform for a multitude of devices. Click here to see a sampling of our work or call us (212) 673-1818 to discuss your project!

Lisa Becker
Lisa Becker
Digital Marketing Consultant
12.05. 2011
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