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Why Kohl’s, eBags and Fanatics are merry about mobile holiday sales

November 29, 2016 03:41 PM
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Black Friday beat Cyber Monday for mobile e-commerce sales, according to the Adobe Digital Insights unit of marketing and analytics software provider Adobe Inc.

Mobile spending on Cyber Monday generated $1.07 billion in sales, a 34% year-over-year increase, Adobe says. Plus, mobile devices accounted for 47% of visits to retail websites and 31% of sales on the Monday following Thanksgiving, Adobe says.

Even with this $1 billion-plus spending day, mobile spending on Cyber Monday was $130 million less than on Black Friday, when mobile sales reached $1.2 billion the day after Thanksgiving, up 33% year over year, according to Adobe.

Becky Tasker, managing analyst at Adobe Digital Insights, is not surprised, as in the past mobile sales are greater on Thanksgiving or Black Friday, she says.

“Traditionally, Cyber Monday was the day where everyone returned to work and shopped for deals on their work computer, and it still has some ground to make up in terms of mobile usage,” Tasker says. “However, Cyber Monday made leaps this year to bring in over a billion dollars in online sales via mobile shopping.” 

Online retailers eBags Inc., an e-retailer of travel accessories and No. 169 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, sports apparel and gear e-retailer Fanatics Inc. (No. 38) and mass merchant Kohl’s Corp. (No. 19) all posted strong mobile sale throughout the Thanksgiving shopping weekend.

At Fanatics, mobile accounted for more than 50% of its sales every day from Thanksgiving through Sunday, which is a record for the most consecutive days in which mobile was the top-selling channel, a Fanatics spokesman says. On Thanksgiving, 56% of sales were made via mobile compared to 43% last year, and on Black Friday 51% of sales were made on mobile compared to 43% in 2015.

From 12:01 a.m. to midafternoon on Cyber Monday, sales via smartphones accounted for more than a third (in the mid-30%) of sales, an increase from 29% on Cyber Monday 2015, he says. Overall on Cyber Monday, smartphone and tablet sales increased 60% year over year, Fanatics says.

“Consumers are much more comfortable making transactions on their smartphones, as phones are showing the biggest year-over-year conversion spikes for us among all platforms,” the Fanatics spokesman says.

At Kohls.com, the website had 60 million visits, with 60% of that traffic stemming from mobile devices, between Nov. 21-27. And for the first time, more than 40% of online sales occurred on a mobile device, the retailer says. On Black Friday, the number of consumers using the Kohl’s app increased more than 70% year over year, Kohl’s says.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (No. 4) reports that mobile devices accounted for 70% of all traffic to its website on Cyber Monday,

And at eBags.com, mobile sales increased 95% year over year and accounted for 22% of total sales from Thanksgiving through Sunday, says Peter Cobb, co-founder and executive vice president.

Plus, within the last 30 days, eBags’ mobile traffic has surpassed desktop traffic, he says. EBags made several updates to its mobile website during the year, which he cites as the reason for the increases. For example, eBags reduced its checkout flow to two pages from eight, allowed the site to autofill shipping addresses and allowed consumers to take a photo of their credit card to automatically fill in those fields.  

“We are having a killer weekend,” Cobb says. “The big winner this holiday seems to be mobile with traffic and sales seeing remarkable adoption.”

EBags plans to add Apple Pay’s mobile checkout button to its website in December, which should boost mobile conversion rates even more, Cobb says. Other than this addition, Cobb does not plan additional changes to the mobile shopping experience until the holidays pass.

“We spent the last four months testing and testing to get to the optimum mobile experience, so now we need to be confident that the improvements we tested will pan out during the time that shoppers are looking for holiday deals,” he says.

Many retailers are likely in a code freeze and cannot make big changes to their mobile site or app before the end of the year, says Tom Caporaso, CEO of e-commerce platform provider Clarus Commerce LLC. E-retailers should, however, continue to test their mobile sites and apps to make sure they are performing as advertised. “They need to ensure that their mobile outlets are open for business 24/7, so they need to keep testing the software and have their IT department on standby, ready to fix any problems immediately,” he says.

If retailers have a strong mobile presence, such as a fast mobile-optimized e-commerce site or an app, they should advertise these channels to consumers and encourage shoppers to use them, Caporaso says.

 

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