Cyber Monday spending hits all-time high
Cyber Monday 2015 will be a day for the retail record books, at least until next holiday season.
According to data from Adobe, a record $2.98 billion was spent online during Cyber Monday (Nov. 30), a 12% increase from the prior year and making it the largest online sales day in history. The average order value was $133, slightly lower than Black Friday ($137) and Thanksgiving Day ($162), indicating that shoppers were buying less expensive items.
Smartphones and tablets continued to drive sales on Cyber Monday. Mobile accounted for 49% of shopping visits (38% smartphones, 11% tablets), resulting in 28% of online sales (17% smartphones, 11% tablets).
In total, Adobe attributed $514 million in sales to mobile, including $313 million from smartphones ($205 million iPhones, $107 million Android) and $201 million from tablets ($170 million iPad, $28 million Android).
Adobe analysis of social buzz shows Cyber Monday had the most positive social sentiment of all the Cyber Week shopping days, with 56% relating to joy or admiration, compared to 40% for Black Friday. eBay was the most mentioned retailer since Thanksgiving, with Amazon a close second. Target led Walmart while Gap was ahead of H&M.
Analysis from the IBM Watson business intelligence platform shows that the top five items consumers sought to buy on Cyber Monday were Samsung TVs, Apple Watch, Sony TVs, Beats by Dre, and LG TVs.
Data from other sources also reveals some interesting tidbits about Cyber Monday consumers and their behaviors and expectations. According to Bizrate Insights, a division of Connexity, 38% of Cyber Monday shoppers belonged to a shipping club (such as Amazon Prime), up from 34% the prior year.
This provided a large potential strategic advantage to shipping club provider such as Amazon, as 77% of shipping club members reported heavier shopping at the retailer for which they are a member compared to 60% the previous year. Forty-six percent of Cyber Monday shoppers said they expect it to be their heaviest online shopping day of the year, up from 39% in 2014.
As far as Cyber Monday consumer outreach went, data from predictive marketing platform provider Custora indicates the number one driver of Cyber Monday sales was good old-fashioned email, accounting for about 22% of all sales. Despite social buzz, social media only drove 1.5% of sales.
Whatever consumers were buying on Cyber Monday and however they heard about it, clearly they were willing to buy and more inclined than ever to buy using a mobile device. With fewer than 50% of consumers saying Cyber Monday will be their biggest online shopping day this holiday season, retailers have a right to have hearts full of joy today.
Millennials shop differently for same results
The details of how millennials shop may differ from their elders, but the ultimate goal is the same.
According to the Blackhawk Engagement Solutions’ “Millennials Disrupt Shopping” report, based on two separate surveys of 500 millennial consumers each, smartphones are a dominant method of connection to the web for millennials, with 89% using them to connect to the Internet. This compares to 75% using laptops, 45% using tablets and 37% using desktop computers.
In another disruptive shopping pattern, social media is millennials’ primary source for shopping news and discovering new products. TV only ranks sixth.
However, while the technology is different, millennials are still looking for the same thing as their parents – a good deal. Ninety-five% of survey respondents have more or the same sensitivity to price as last year. Additionally, price has the greatest influence on millennials’ purchase decisions above all other factors, including product quality, brand, store and availability.
Millennials are also value shoppers. For categories including electronics, entertainment, sporting goods, clothing, wireless plans and even groceries, the majority of millennials would choose a higher-value rebate offer over an instant discount.
Other notable findings include:
Guitar Center plays new labor management tune
For a highly specialized retailer like specialty music chain Guitar Center, keeping track of store labor can pose extra challenges.
“Our customers want knowledgeable associates for specific instruments,” explained Alex Khamudis, manager of store labor for Westlake Village, California-based Guitar Center. “How do you figure out when to schedule experts, and how many, across four separate departments like guitar and drums?”
Compounding the difficulty of Guitar Center’s store labor management task is the fact the retailer operates 270 stores across 46 states. Its previous manual spreadsheet-based solution proved time-consuming and could not be scaled chainwide.
“We wanted a solution that was automated and delivered on a cloud-based, SaaS basis,” said Khamudis.
Utilizing those criteria, Guitar Center selected the Ceridian Dayforce workforce management platform to overhaul store labor management. Initially, the retailer rolled out basic scheduling functionality. This was gradually followed by implementations of more advanced scheduling capabilities, as well as task management and time and attendance modules.
“We could create store-level labor forecasts down to 15-minute increments,” said Khamudis. “We knew if we needed someone who was expert in guitars between 11 a.m. and noon.”
In addition, store managers could use an autofill feature to create complete work schedules in a matter of minutes, instead of the hours the previous manual process required. And managers gained access to labor intelligence, allowing them to compare forecasts to actual results, allowing continual improvement in the accuracy of advance scheduling.
According to Khamudis, among the other benefits Guitar Center obtained were the ability to let employees check in to work from any computer in the store, as well as an easy online view of all schedule data. In addition, store employees were given a tool to notify managers of vacation requests, preferred hours and other important scheduling information online.
“Labor is the largest store variable expense,” said Khamudis. “Dayforce let us get scheduling closer to the pin.”