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Black Friday 2013 Breaks Records; Demonstrates Need for Responsive Design in 2014

Black Friday 2013 Breaks Records; Demonstrates Need for Responsive Design in 2014

The results are in, and Black Friday 2013 has broken all previous ecommerce records. In a stark contrast to the 9% drop reported by brick & mortar stores according to the National Retail Federation, comScore reports that ecommerce sales on Thanksgiving+Black Friday are up 17% from last year’s numbers.

IBM has broken the data down in to-the-minute stats in this handy chart:

2013 Black Friday Sales

 

This really tracks what a majority of our clients saw as well, and the overall trend that we tend to note with B2C ecommerce – that sales are strongest between 6AM and 9PM, which is why we recommend our clients day-part their AdWords advertising and focus a majority of their budget in that window.

The most interesting, data, however, in IBM’s Black Friday Results 2013 report, is the breakdown of smartphone, tablet and desktop traffic. Specifically, Black Friday smartphone+tablet sales increased almost 43% year-over-year, to 21.8% of all ecommerce sales on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Here’s how it broke down:

Source % of Traffic % of Sales
Desktop 60% 78%
Tablet 14% 14%
Smartphone 25% 7%

This mirrors what many of our clients experienced, including one retailer who broke all records with a 62% increase in total sales for Thanksgiving+Black Friday in 2013 as compared to 2012. This retailer followed all of our recommendations this year, and attributes this huge improvement to these three factors:

  1. A new, fully responsive Magento theme which resulted in a 3X increase in tablet conversion rates and a 2X increase in desktop conversion rates.
  2. A fully optimized dual-server setup including redis-backed full page caching to allow lightning-fast response times even under heavy Black Friday loads.
  3. Highly optimized Google Product Listing Ad campaigns, which I’ll detail in a future article.

Comparing their overall revenue and conversion rates for Thanksgiving+Black Friday 2013 against those of another client of ours who decided to put off a responsive theme into 2014 is very interesting; the client whose site is not responsive actually saw a drop in sales from 2012 to 2013 on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, primarily due to a large increase in tablet traffic that abandoned the site as soon as they saw it wasn’t responsive.

So, if you’re operating an ecommerce website that isn’t responsive, the first thing you need to do in 2014 is get started on a responsive redesign of your site. We’ve implemented everything from premade, off-the-shelf responsive Magento themes to completely custom responsive Magento designs for our clients, so get in touch with us now to start discussing this critical improvement to your site for next year.

One other item to note from these statistics is the ratio of traffic to sales between tablets and smartphones; this echoes what we’ve seen in the data from our clients as well – that there’s a large number of people who start their ecommerce experience on their smartphone and then move to their tablet or desktop computer to complete the sale. This represents an interesting challenging while tracking return on investment and attributing conversions back to the original source – when a user starts on their smartphone, views products without logging in and then moves to their tablet or desktop you often can’t tie the two browsing sessions to each other to determine what original source led to the sale. This represents itself as a large increase in Google Analytics of purchases via ‘Direct’ visits – i.e., visits with no referring site data because the user remembered or bookmarked your URL from their smartphone and then typed it into their tablet or desktop. It’ll be interesting to see how the analytics industry responds to this shift in 2014 with improved tracking and analytics tools.

If your Magento site didn’t set a new sales record on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, you should ask yourself why – do you need a responsive Magento template or design? Is your server powerful enough to deliver the kind of performance Magento should be delivering to your visitors? Is your ecommerce optimization agency managing your ads and making proactive recommendations? All of these are things that Creatuity would love to help you with, so get in touch with us today – our schedule is booking up fast for next quarter, so don’t hesitate to call us at 214-810-5005 or email us at contact@creatuity.com now.