Turbotodd

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From Black Friday To Cyber Monday: It’s All In The Clicks

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Well, that day of the year has finally arrived.

That day where we all slink into our offices after four nice, long, official holidays where (mostly, we hope) people stay away from their computers and mobile phones and tablets and God knows whatever other else connected devices just long enough to make it feel like you got some real rest (even though many of you were probably dealing with unrelated, but similarly frustrating, realities —you know, like screaming kids and antagonizing in-laws).

And all you could do was think about how nice it would be to come back into the nice peaceful and quiet office on Monday so you could get back to…shopping.

Yes, boys and girls, cyber Monday has arrived.

But judging from the results of the IBM Coremetrics Benchmark Black Friday e-retailing analysis, you really need not worry about coming into the office anymore just so you can get yourself an extra slurp of broadband.

This is 2011, yo, all you gotta do is break out that iPad and you’ll be standing in front of Macys women’s wear or Best Buy’s electronics section in seconds!

But while you’re out there figuring out your Cyber Monday strategy, I’m going to hit the highlights reel for the weekend in e-shopping.

E-Retail Shopping: Hit ‘Em Early and Often

U.S shoppers apparently took great advantage of early sales this holiday, driving a 39.3 percent year-over-year increase in online Thanksgiving day spending while setting the stage for 24.3 percent online growth on Black Friday compared to the same period last year.

Here’s a quick snapshop of the other key trends:

  • Consumer spending increases. The aggressive shopping we witnessed on Thanksgiving Day this year carried over into Black Friday, with online sales increasing 24.3 percent annually.
  • Mobile Bargain Hunting. Black Friday also saw the arrival of the mobile deal seeker who embraced their devices as a research tool for both in-store and online bargains. Mobile traffic increased to 14.3 percent (compared to 5.6 percent last year).
  • Mobile Sales On the Getgo. Sales on mobile devices surged to 9.8 percent (a tripling from last year’s 3.2 percent).
  • Apple’s One Stop Shop. Mobile shopping was led by Apple, with the iPhone and iPad ranking one and two for consumers shopping on mobile devices (5.4 percent and 4.8 percent respectively). Together, the iPhone and iPad accounted for 10.2 percent of all online retail. Apparently, it ain’t easy bein’ an Android on Black Friday.
  • The iPad Factor. Shoppers using the iPad led to more retail purchases more often per visit than other mobile devices, leading one to wonder about the real estate to deal closing ratio. The bigger the device, the larger the average order value?  Possibly, but this number can’t lie: Conversion rates for the iPad were 4.6 percent, compared to 2.8 for all other mobile devices. The iPad was this weekend’s e-shopping mobile king.
  • Social Influence. Shoppers referred from Social Networks generated 0.53 percent of all online sales on Black Friday, with Facebook leading the pack and accounting for a full 75 percent of all social network traffic.
  • Social Media Chit Chat. Boosted by a 110 percent increase in discussion volume compared to 2010, top discussion topics on social media sites immediately before Friday showed a focus on the part of consumers to share tips on how to avoid the rush. Topics included out-of-stock concerns, waiting times and parking, and a spike in positive sentiment around Cyber Monday sales.
  • Surgical Shopping Goes Mobile: Mobile shoppers demonstrated a laser focus that surpassed that of other online shoppers with a 41.3 percent bounce rate on mobile devices versus online shopping rates of 33.1 percent.

This data came from findings of the IBM Coremetrics fourth annual Black Friday Benchmark, which tracks more than a million transactions a day, analyzing terabytes of raw data from 500 retailers nationwide.

With this data, IBM helps retailers better understand and respond to their customers — across the organization — improving sourcing, inventory management, marketing, sales, and services programs.

You can get more background on the study here.

Black Friday: U.S. Online Retail Up 20% Year-Over-Year!

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I had absolutely nothing to do with shopping today, online or off.  But I seemed to have been a minority, and for those retailers looking to the holiday season to help bolster an otherwise anemic year, they will be excited by the news delivered today by the IBM Coremetrics e-retailing Black Friday Benchmark Report.

No flies on those guys! Apparently they were too busy counting everyone else’s clicks to pursue any of their own.

Click image to enlarge. Black Friday e-retail sales in U.S. were up 20% over the same period last year, with consumers turning to mobile devices like smartphones and tablets for their e-shopping efforts more than they ever have.

E-retail sales at major online retailers were up 20 percent as of 3 P.M. EST this afternoon, compared to the same time on the Friday after Thanksgiving last year.

The survey monitors some 500 major U.S. Online retailers, and the 20 percent is in line with the 20 percent year-over-year increase IBM was reporting mid-day yesterday.  However, apparently lots of folks are holding out until they’ve allowed the turkey trytophan to kick in and the evening football games to start, because full-day online Thanksgiving sales ended 39 percent up over the holiday last year and they soared Thursday evening.

Mobile devices also played a much bigger role in online shopping this year, according to the benchmark.  Shoppers are making 9.73 percent of their purchases from mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, about the same as Thanksgiving day. And, as much as 17.37 percent of traffic to e-retail sites is coming from mobile devices, higher than even the 15.2 recorded yesterday.

Following are some other key highlights from this afternoon’s report (again, as of 3 P.M. EST):

  • Consumer spending increased: Online sales were up a healthy 15.9 percent, with consumers pushing the average order value up from $170.19 to $190.80 for an increase of 12.1 percent.
  • Luxury goods are making a comeback. Jewelry retailers reported a 17.6 percent increase in sales.
  • Social shopping. Consumers appear increasingly savvy about their favorite brands’ social presence, and are turning to their social networking friends for information about deals and inventory levels. 
    • Though the percentage of visitors arriving from social sites is fairly small relative to all online visitors — nearly 1 percent — it’s gaining momentum, with Facebook dominating the space.
  • Surgical shopping. Consumers know what they want and where to get it. People are viewing 18.0 percent fewer products on sites than they did last year, suggesting they are shopping with a specific item in mind and quickly moving up. (My kind of shopping! Surgical strike, indeed!)
  • Mobile shopping. Consumers are embracing mobile as a shopping tool, with 5.6 percent of people logged onto a retailer’s site using a mobile device on Black Friday (a jump of 26.7 percent compared to last Friday!)

The report also provided some color commentary on the types of retail categories and products that are especially sought this year:

  • Department stores.  They’ve become the research engine of choice for consumers looking for Black Friday deals and product promotions. As a consequence, shoppers are spending 17.7 percent more time year over year on department store sites.
  • Health and Beauty. A reported rise of 73.1 percent in the number of new consumers completing their first purchase on their sites and a 53.4 percent jump in the number of visits in which consumers completed an order.
  • In-Store Sales for Consumer Electronics and Appliances. These are expected to increase 3.5 percent this year compared to last, with consumers spending a larger-than-usual share in November, according to an analytics-based forecast from IBM’s Global Business Services division.

U.S. consumers have been increasing their savings relative to disposable income, from 2 percent in 2007 to nearly 6 percent today, which has led to strong pent-up demand for consumer electronics and appliances, both of which are typically seen as necessities in today’s economy.

Stay tuned here on the Turbo blog for other upcoming reports on the holiday season’s retail tidings.  It’s still Black Friday, we still have the weekend, and Cyber Monday is a full three days away!

What’s The Big Deal?

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So, what’s the deal with all these consumer deal engines?

I went to check my Facebook page this AM, and before I’d ever read about it in the Blogosphere, I got invited to sign up for their new “Deals” service.

Having signed up for GroupOn and LivingSocial to help ensure a little competition, I figured it was the least I could do.  I would have signed up for Google’s deal service, “offers,” but it’s still in beta.

So here’s some of the initial deals I was offered from Facebook:

A photo booth party with up to 6 friends at South Austin Gallery.  Regularly $75, on Facebook Deals, only $30. 

I’ve never had a photo booth party, and so I’m not sure what goes on there.  But I’m also not sure I want to roll the dice and spend $30 to find out.

Second, Kayak on Lady Bird Lake with a Bat Tour Under the Congress Avenue Bridge with Live-Live-Paddle.  Normally $42, now only $25.  I’ll rent the video, thanks.

The targeting engine clearly failed on #3: Six Weeks of Bride-Fit Boot Camp for 6 People at Strength Through Length Pilates. Regularly $1,080, now $600.  I wasn’t aware brides had to go to boot camp to prepare for their marriages these days, but okay, I’m progressive, I can dig it.  However, I’m a guy.  Last time I checked, guys don’t go to Bride-Fit boot camps.

Facebook also offered me a couple WWE Smackdown Tickets for their May 15th event at Austin’s Frank Erwin Events Center, regularly $60, only $30 through Facebook Deals.

For the record, I’ve never bought anything from any of these deal sites.  Ever.  Not once.

Now, I’m no shopping guru, but I do spend money, and I don’t mind being offered a good deal.

But it’s hard to find a deal geared to guys (except for the wrestling tickets I just mentioned, and even I wouldn’t stoop that low), what with all the “Weekend Getaway Dog Yoga Massages” and the like.

I’m thinking nobody’s thinking when it comes to guys like myself.  I could easily see all kinds of crazy deals being offered for rounds of golf at my local favorite courses, other outdoorsmen discounts, discount movie tickets, restaurant coupons, etc.

But no, I got a group offer for Bride-Fan Boot Camp.

All that said, now that Facebook is in this business, GroupOn and LivingSocial had better step up their game, because despite the lack of effective targeting, Facebook could very quickly suck all the oxygen (and money) out of the Daily Deal milieu.

It seems it’s all now about to come down to this: Do you check your Facebook wall more often, or your personal email?  For me, it’s probably about 50/50, but man, that Facebook Wall is an awfully compelling and easy-to-see place to put something like a Facebook daily deal.  That Wall’s become the virtual bulletin board of our lives.

And whatever gets your attention on the most regular basis most is where the deal sites win (admittedly, one would imagine the mobile component also starts to get very interesting. but plenty of folks look at that Facebook wall on their mobiles as well).

But regardless of all the delivery and attention-getting mechanisms, at the end of the day, for me to buy something, it needs to be an offer I might have an interest in.

I’ll be honest: I haven’t looked good in a dress since high school, when I used to dress up in drag as Frank N Furter to attend midnight screenings of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

Uh, forget I mentioned that last tidbit…I can only imagine what the deal sites might now offer up based on that information: A celebrity segment with Donald Trump and Meatloaf on “The Celebrity Apprentice Donald Trump Presidential Pretender Roadshow,” perhaps?

Now that’s a deal I actually might pay good money for.

Written by turbotodd

April 26, 2011 at 6:53 pm

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