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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : January 13, 2017

Top 4 tips to prep for 2017 ecommerce

SOASTA has released data from the 2016 holiday season that could help brands prep not only for the 2017 holiday shopping season, but for the spikes in shopping during Mother's and Father's Day, Back to School, and other seasonal holidays.

by Kristina Knight

Among the more interesting findings, researchers point to all Mondays during the holiday season being 'Cyber Monday'. Through the 2016 season and into the last week of December, Mondays were peak ecommerce time for shoppers. They also found that in terms of digital traffic, Black Friday is now out-ranking the actual Cyber Monday - Black Friday traffic was 21% higher than Cyber Monday traffic.

What is a retailer to do with this information? SOASTA's Tammy Everts offers four tips.

First, remember the competition

"Always remember that if you're competing online, you're competing with Amazon. I can't stress this enough. I know some retailers still have their heads in the sand about this, but it's time to face the fact that Amazon is systematically eating up vertical after vertical. Over the holidays, department store sales stagnated or barely grew, while Amazon saw increases of up to 32% in departments ranging from clothing and beauty to home and furniture," said Tammy Everts, Director of Research, SOASTA. While planning for competition, also remember mobile. "We're still seeing abysmal performance on mobile devices, despite the fact that we've known for more than a year that the sweet spot for peak conversions is 2.4 seconds across all device types. One of our customers, Fanatics, shared at IRCE that when they made a 2-second improvement to median load times, they almost doubled mobile conversions - which is a huge deal because more than half the company's sales come from mobile. Black Friday 2016 set a record as the first $1 billion mobile shopping day. This record will no doubt be smashed in 2017. Be ready."

Second, be ready for traffic spikes throughout the shopping season

"Be ready for spikes throughout the entire holiday season, especially on Mondays. You don't know what will cause your next traffic surge. A massive weather event could keep people at home... and send them online. Political or economic events can also affect user behaviour. You need to be prepared every day," said Everts. And while planning for spikes, remember to plan for more traffic than you think is possible, because you never know which promotion will go viral.

Third, remember shoppers are unpredictable

"Consumer behaviour is unpredictable from year to year," said Everts. "Patterns you saw in previous years may not hold. Building test plans based on one-year-old assumptions is unwise. A better idea would be to use RUM data to build tests that reflect actual user behavior on your site."

Tags: ecommerce, ecommerce tips, ecommerce trends, SOASTA

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