If you’ve been browsing and buying online, you’re in good company: according to comScore, 2014’s Cyber Monday online sales topped $2 billion, setting a single-day online sales record.
E-commerce sales records were also broken during the weekend leading up to it, with consumers spending 26 percent more than they had on the same weekend in 2013. Cyber Monday has become an international event, with Canada, England, and much of Europe taking part in it, reports Shopify.
Social Media and Mobile Technology Drive Online Selling
Events like Cyber Monday wouldn’t exist, of course, without technology. And it’s social media that’s driving a lot of the commerce, says Spredfast, which measured consumer conversations about Black Friday and Cyber Monday on Twitter and Facebook. According to Forbes’ report on Spredfasts’s findings, Black Friday chatter on Facebook was double that in 2013 as brands used it to drive sales. Strangely, Cyber Monday does not get as much chatter, but still shot up 75 percent from 2013 levels.
IBM studied Cyber Monday trends and says it could also be called Mobile Monday. Forty-one percent of all sales that day were conducted through mobile devices—a 30 percent increase over 2013—and amounted to 22 percent of all cyber sales that day. Clearly, some online merchants have made the necessary software investments to ensure that their sites are mobile-friendly for browsing and shopping.
Simplify Checkout to Reduce Abandonment Rates
Practical E-commerce reported in early December that shopping cart abandonment rates were high for 2014 to date, averaging over 70 percent. IBM’s Cyber Monday data was slightly lower, with an abandonment rate of 68 percent. Does this sound familiar? If so, what’s going on?
Perhaps you’re trying to collect unnecessary data in an effort to get as much customer information as possible. But if sales are your ultimate goal, simplify the checkout process. For example, there are better security measures than CaptchaCode, says Practical E-commerce, which can be difficult for some people to read, particularly if they are purchasing through a small-screen device. Nobody wants an unsolicited sales call, so don’t require customers to leave a phone number. And for goodness sake, if you take the standard credit cards, don’t ask customers to identify which one they’re using—the validation system does this.
It may be time to look for a point of sale (POS) or billing system like Chargify that minimizes hassle for customers, particularly those who are returning to the site. Chargify’s customer management tools lets each customer decide if her or she wants data like addresses and credit cards to be stored and whether to email. It can also integrate with existing e-commerce software and platforms like Shopify, provide coupon redemption, and calculate shipping and tax information.
E-Commerce Software: Better Than Catalogs
Today’s e-commerce software does much more than offer displays like a catalog: it allows customers to sort and compare products, keep a wish list, and save shopping carts for later purchase. For merchants, they provide space and design for blogging, links to social networks, and opportunities for customers to sign up for emails.
Reviews.com gives high marks to e-commerce software that provide these services, too:
- Analytics and reporting.
- Marketing support, including email and blogging capabilities.
- Order management.
- Payment, particularly single-page payment.
- Product placement.
- Shopping cart.
- Mobile-friendly for customers and merchants.