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A Holiday Reminder that eCommerce Drives more than Online Revenue

Traffic Patterns Underscore the Emergence of the OmniChannel Shopper

I haven't held a single conversation with a retailer in the last year that hasn't touched in some way on the subject of OmniChannel (or MultiChannel, or AgileCommerce ...)  We now understand that shoppers do not singularly interact with your website, or with your store, or with your brand page on Facebook, or with your mobile app.  The journey of a customer to a decision to purchase reflects a fragmented, non-linear process influenced by all of these sources - and many more that are not under a retailer's control.

How did we see this more holistic view of the customer take shape through our traffic usage patterns this holiday weekend?
Let's start with some interesting data points that I've reviewed in previous posts that illustrate the behavior of the OmniChannel shopper:

•    Mobile traffic began to spike as we left work on Wednesday, yet reached an early peak when comScore reported the lowest online spending of the weekend - Thanksgiving Day.  
•    Traffic to Social Networking sites peaked on Thanksgiving night, at exactly the same time as retail traffic, yet drove the least amount of revenue of all days this weekend.
•    While comScore and IBM reported on record-breaking revenue for online shopping on Cyber Monday, Akamai reported that Cyber Monday traffic growth waned, and total volume of traffic fell behind both Thanksgiving and BlackFriday.

We rationalize these seemingly conflicting traffic and revenue patterns by broadening the correlation of traffic beyond online revenue and into the stores.  

The 2011 Holiday Conversion Index

Let's first look at why Cyber Monday was the traffic "loser" but the revenue winner this year.  By looking at the Conversion Index - a correlation of revenue and retail site traffic  - we see that Cyber Monday was a big winner for online conversions.  In fact, retailers earned nearly three times as much online per page view than on Thanksgiving Day, $14.57 per 1,000 page views on Cyber Monday, versus $5.39 on Thanksgiving.  

Thx W-end Conversion.PNG

However, in this OmniChannel era, we also need to take into account that the massive volume of online traffic on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday was a huge driver for in-store sales.

The key lesson re-learned (yes the one we've heard over and over) is that your digital channels - ecommerce, mobile, and social- are crucial for driving shoppers into your stores on Black Friday and throughout the weekend.  The information you provide online on those days should keep all points of sale in mind.

Cyber Monday, and Free Shipping Day, on the other hand are unique.  Weekdays are not opportune times for shoppers to head to the stores en masse, and retailers can use their digital real estate to capitalize on shoppers' pure online focus. 

It serves as another reminder all year long to leverage the real estate across your digital channels to address all points of sale both online and offline, and for the  holiday season to capitalize on the unique online opportunity for Cyber Monday and Free Shipping Day.

(A note on the Conversion Index.  If you read the previous blog entry on the 2010 Conversion Index, it was based on daily peak page view per minute, versus total page view volume.  In this updated version, the more accurate perspective of total page view volume was used).

Lelah Manz is Chief Strategist, Commerce for Akamai

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