Retailers Could Have Made $1.88B More This Holiday Weekend

Record Black Friday & Cyber Monday Sales

Adobe has confirmed that this year's Black Friday pulled in $5.03B in digital sales, and that Cyber Monday, has now gone down in history as the largest single day of online shopping to date, with a whopping $6.59B in online purchases. 

That's enormous cause for celebration in the online retail sector. But if we step back and look at the technical and performance issues suffered by the world's leading retailers, the picture clearly develops that these brands could have made more. Much more. Just by providing smoother, better shopping experiences to their customers. 

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Not All Holiday Preparations Are Created Equal

Online retailers should have raked in nearly $900M more than they did on Cyber Monday. 

Leading up to Thanksgiving weekend, we reported that online stores in the OSHU Index cut their average load times by 9%, and reduced the resolution time of severe slowdowns by nearly 40% over the previous 30 days. 

Yet despite the intensive preparations made for the holiday season's big kickoff, many websites struggled with the heavy load they were under, resulting in reduced stability, slowdowns, technical issues, and even complete downtime. 

Meaning that, despite good intentions, the positive uptick we saw in store health prior to Thanksgiving did not carry over to the holiday and days immediately following. 

Based on data from approximately 10,000 visits to over 120 major online retail brands, we estimate that eCommerce businesses lost an average of 13% of online sales to speed and health issues during the holiday weekend. Which is identical to losses expected in online retail on any day throughout the year. 

However, with a combined $14.49B in online sales taking place over the course of just three days (Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday) that equates to an incredible $1.88B in sales that retailers missed out on. Meaning that losses in sales on these days in particular, even if the ration isn't higher, are far more catastrophic to a retailer's bottom line. 

It is clear that not all holiday preparations were created equal. With nearly all retailers improving site usability leading up to the holiday, but most unable to maintain the benefits of that optimization during Thanksgiving, Black Friday & Cyber Monday. While some retailers managed to provide near flawless experiences to their shoppers, at times better than on an average day, others fumbled during the most critical shopping days of the year.  



Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday 

(industry by the Numbers)

Stores suffer 2X more severe slowdowns on Black Friday than average day



Severe Performance issues took  33% longer to resolve



Technical issues 4X more likely to occur on Cyber Monday than average day



Methodology

Data was collected for this report using Shoppimon's proprietary artificial intelligence to experience eCommerce sites from the perspective of a real shopper. Data shared in this report was observed over the course of approximately 10,000 site visits to 124 of the leading online brands across 9 different retail categories. It was collected between 12 AM eastern time on Thanksgiving morning and 11:59 PM pacific time on Cyber Monday.

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Holiday Weekend Winners & Losers

Top performing stores offered an exceptional shopping experience to customers that visited them over the holiday weekend. 

The top 10 sites: 1) Birchbox, 2) Summit Racing, 3) Dollar Shave Club, 4) Saatva Mattresses, 5) Sears, 6) Toyota, 7) Orchard Mile, 8) Nuts.com, 9) Blue Nile, and 10) Sephora all provided shoppers with a high speed buying process, averaging just 1.2 seconds for full load time!

Moreover, no one major technical or content issue was experienced over the holiday weekend, between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. 

For many of these stores this is no surprise. The Top 6 brands have all made it to the Top 10 of the OSHU index last month. However, companies like Sephora made significant improvements to store stability and the speed of load times in the weeks leading up to the holidays. 

And unlike several of the poorest performers, Sephora managed to maintain the improvements they made throughout the largest shopping weekend of the year. 

Key takeaway? For these stores there is little to no reason to believe sales were lost between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday due to slow load times or technical issues.

Unfortunately, equally as many sites experienced serious problems over the holiday weekend as smoothly navigated it. Even stores that are typically top performers, such as AVON, suffered over the past 5 days.

All of the sites on this list suffered a combination of crippling slowdowns, severe technical issues, and even complete downtime. 

Two of the most common issues that occurred were due to servers overloading, and exposed error messages during the shopping experience. 

One Kings Lane, was one of the hardest hit during peak shopping hours. At approximately 9PM Eastern on Cyber Monday One Kings Lane's servers were overloaded. It's unclear whether their team was not immediately aware of the problem, or if finding it's root cause or executing a fix caused the delay, but the whole store went down for 1 full hour.  And they were not alone. 

While our top stores may have avoided near any losses coming from usability issues, these stores potentially double or tripled them. And on the largest shopping day of the year, issues like these are devastating to a business's bottom line.  


Retailers lost $1.88B in sales over Thanksgiving, Black Friday & Cyber Monday combined. 

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