TECHNOLOGY

Study: The fastest-loading sites on Black Friday were…

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

As consumers flocked online during Thanksgiving weekend, the top performing retailers ensured their sites could load within 2.4 seconds.

During Black Friday, the 10 best performing sites in the United States averaged 1.3 seconds to load on Black Friday, while the 10 worst performing U.S. sites averaged an extremely poor load time of 37.9 seconds, according to data from Apica, a company that monitors website and app performance among 100 leading retailers in the U.S. and UK, and 50 in Sweden.

The top 10 sites, in terms of best response time on Black Friday, were Rakuten (0.4), Ray-Ban (0.4), Rue La La (0.4), Nike (0.5), Foot Locker (0.8), overstock.com (0.8), GameStop (1.4), Apple (2.4), Google Shopping Search (2.4) and L Brands (2.6). These same brands were in the top 10 for Cyber Monday response times, data revealed.

In the U.S., only 34% of companies were able to load sites within a 10-second window on Black Friday, while 66% failed to achieve this goal. Meanwhile, four out of 10 potential consumers are not willing to wait more than 10 seconds for a site to load before looking to a competitor.

Faster load times are also critical to driving sales. For example, Google calculated that if its search results slowed by just 0.4 seconds, they could lose 8 million searches a day — meaning they’d serve up millions fewer advertisements. This is why their “top 10” search time of 2.4 seconds is so critical, according to the data.

Eager not to lose out on these sales, some companies stepped up their e-commerce game. For example, Nike brought site load time from 13.6 seconds to 0.5 seconds. Other major retailers, like Home Shopping Network (HSN) and Walmart have shown major improvements in load time, a 72.7-second decrease and a 14.2-second drop, respectively. This translates into more satisfied customers who are able to complete their online purchases easily and efficiently.

On Cyber Monday, Amazon was one of the most improved sites bringing load time from 29.2 seconds in 2016 to 12.7 seconds in 2017 – a 57% decrease in load time.

Some major sites had serious issues this year, such as Groupon, Macy’s, Williams-Sonoma and J. Crew all taking 30 seconds or more to load on Black Friday.

Interestingly, Amazon’s site loaded 2.1 seconds faster on Black Friday this year versus last – improving from 14.9 seconds to 12.8. The online giant calculated that a page load slowdown of just one second could cost the company $1.6 billion in sales. If the converse is also true, Amazon could show gains of $3.36 billion from their faster load time, according to data.

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TECHNOLOGY

Home furnishings retailer gains visibility into the customer journey

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Crate and Barrel has found a way to improve customer engagement and the effectiveness of its marketing campaigns.

As the home furnishings retailer’s customers increasingly discover, browse and purchase merchandise online, in catalogs and in-store, the retailer knew it needed to make the shopping experience personal and frictionless. This can be a difficult task when channels do not always share data.

To solve the issue, Crate and Barrel partnered with Neustar to ensure it could identify consumers consistently cross-channel and cross-device. Neustar provides a framework that links customer transactions and engagements back to a household and individual persistent ID that can be used across channels. This will give Crate and Barrel a unified view of the customer on one single platform, eliminating the data gaps inherent in customer intelligence.

By linking Crate and Barrel’s rich first-party data (such as email addresses, home addresses, and phone numbers) to the Neustar OneID system, the platform continuously corroborates, verifies and appends missing information across customer records. This will give the retailer a comprehensive, complete view of the customer.

Additionally, OneID facilitates the capture of cross-device digital interactions and, using hashed identifiers, enables a single holistic, connected view of the customer. The solution will also identify gaps in CRM data, such as which households or individuals have recently moved homes. This data will allow Crate and Barrel to create tailored marketing campaigns focused on a unique segment of movers.

Using a design approach, the software protects customer privacy. Online and offline signals are hashed and securely segregated in order to inform activation without compromising user privacy.

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TECHNOLOGY

Study: Desktop sales jump 26% on Cyber Monday

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Despite mobile commerce’s ongoing growth, desktop sales hit a milestone on Cyber Monday.

Desktop online spending reached $3.36 billion on Cyber Monday, up 26% versus year ago. This represents the heaviest online spending day in history, and the first day to ever surpass $3 billion in desktop sales, according to comScore.

Thanksgiving weekend as a whole proved to be strong for desktop sales. It marked the third straight year in which both Saturday and Sunday individually had billion-dollar online shopping days, combining for $2.92 billion for a year-over-year increase of 17%. For the five-day period from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, online buying from desktop computers totaled $10.21 billion, up 21% versus last year, the data revealed.

“Cyber Monday once again ranked as the heaviest online spending day of all-time and became the first day to ever exceed $3 billion in sales from desktop computers,” said comScore senior VP of marketing and insights Andrew Lipsman.

“Every year it seems there’s talk of the big promotional days becoming less important as promotions get extended across so much of the season, but the data suggest the exact opposite – that the biggest promotional days are only getting more important with time,” Lipsman said. “Online retailers have conditioned consumers to be very responsive to the deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which is why they have consistently shown above-average growth rates year after year.”

Other highlights include:

• 140 million Americans visited online retail properties on Cyber Monday, with 77 million arriving via desktop, 103 million via mobile, and 40 million shopping on both platforms. The total number of digital shoppers on Cyber Monday surpassed Black Friday’s total by 11 million.

• Amazon once again ranked as the most visited online retail property on Cyber Monday, followed by Walmart and eBay.

• Apparel & Accessories ranked as the top product category on Cyber Monday, with nearly $900 million in desktop sales, followed by Consumer Electronics and Computer Hardware, respectively.

• Consumer Packaged Goods was the fastest-growing category year-over-year on Cyber Monday, followed by Toys & Hobbies, and Apparel & Accessories, respectively.

• Households making $100,000+ in annual income accounted for 44% of desktop spending on Cyber Monday.

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