Cyber Monday Is Going Mobile: What Does This Mean for You?

ipad-lineIf you haven’t already perfected the functionality and ease of use for your mobile application, now may be the time. That’s because AppLovin is predicting that nearly 30 percent of Cyber Monday transactions this year will happen on mobile devices. Just four years ago, mobile transactions represented only 2 percent of Cyber Monday buying. However, the proliferation of smart devices and surge of mobile e-commerce platforms has caused mobile shopping to surge.

So what does this mean for your e-commerce platform? Let’s take a look:

  • Test Your Application: Before Cyber Monday rolls around, you’ll want to understand how your application works across the different OS platforms and devices. See how your application performs on a range of devices, outdated pieces of software and on-location to get a real feel for how your users will experience your platform. Keep in mind that, if your application is latent or buffering, you may want to consider application hosting via a third-party provider.
  • Determine Your Traffic Source: Just because market research says we will see a surge in mobile traffic does not mean that will be the case for your industry. So, before you put all your resources toward improving your mobile application, take a look at your historical figures. Determine how much business was conducted via mobile devices last Cyber Monday and how much occurred on your website. Make sure your website is operating efficiently and expediently. After all, you can’t afford to have a fully optimized mobile app but a delayed website if most of your traffic is still arriving via the Web.
  • Check Speeds: There’s no faster way to lose customers then to have slow load times. So, check load time on each and every page, especially your shopping cart page. Just one extra second of delay could be enough to drive your customers right to your competition. So, be sure to check your speed times for both off- and on-peak periods. After all, your website might perform fine during normal traffic patterns but suffer once traffic spikes.

Did we miss a step? Let us know in the comments below!

 

 

Three Holidays Not On Your Radar that Could Cripple Your Website

easter-shoppingWhen the first day of the New Year begins, countless e-commerce companies breathe a sigh of relief. After all, the craziest period of online shopping has finally waned and all that’s on the horizon is the occasional holiday. Right?

Wrong.

The truth is that being able to maintain peak website performance and 100 percent availability is critical even during the slowest times of the year. That’s because today’s consumers are more expectant and demanding than ever before. In fact, 47 percent of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less and 40 percent will abandon a site that takes more than three seconds to load, according to data aggregated by KISSmetrics.

So with Black Friday, Christmas and Valentine’s Day officially in our rearview mirror, let’s take a look at a few imminent holidays that could serve as potholes along the way if you are not prepared:

  • Easter: Nothing says Easter like a vase of lilies or an Easter gift basket rife with jelly beans, eggs and milk chocolate bunnies. This Easter consumers will be flocking to online stores to send a little extra love to their family and friends this holiday season.
  • Mother’s Day and Father’s Day: From canvassing Groupon for the latest golf deal to scouring 1-800-Flowers for a lovely bouquet, consumers will visit their favorite e-retailers in a few weeks for the perfect gift for their parents. In fact last year, the National Retail Federation predicted that Mother’s Day spending would increase considerably, with each consumer spending an average of $168.94 on mom, up 11 percent from 2012’s $152.52. Dads weren’t ignored either with the NRF predicting consumers to spend $119.84 on dad’s gift, up from $117.14 the year before.
  • Graduation: Whether your grad is closing the door on high school or college, graduation is right around the corner meaning that online shopping will soon be on the rise with this not-so-obvious-holiday. In fact, just three years ago industry pundits found that 59 percent of graduation gift seekers planned to complete their shopping online, meaning consumers are no longer looking for the perfect commencement present in a department store.

We want to hear from you… have you begun shopping for these upcoming occasions? Which sites do you frequent? And, more importantly, do they always stay up?

Three Things to Know about Green Monday for Next Year

By now, you probably have your Black Friday/Cyber Monday plan down to a science: rigorously test your website months before those peak shopping days; regroup with IT team to assess the health of your website; and determine places where bottlenecks could occur. But have you even given a second thought to Green Monday?

Here are three things you need to know about Green Monday—the second Monday in December—to prepare for next year:

  1. Your Competitors Are Prepared: There’s no breathing easy following Black Friday and Cyber Monday as more and more consumers are taking advantage of this mega retail day, Green Monday. Accordingly, many companies offered similar deals on Green Monday this year as they did on Cyber Monday. Amazon, for example, offered 20 percent off a selection of Kindle e-readers and Kindle Fire tablets,  while Walmart offered low prices on a selection of electronics and toys, including Zoomer the robotic dog, a BouncePro 14-foot trampoline, and KidKraft Mejestic Mansion. Everyone from the biggest named companies to the smallest of online retailers are getting more competitive in December.
  2. Sales Are Up: This year, Green Monday reached $1.4 billion in online spending, up 10 percent a year ago and representing the third-heaviest online spending day of the holiday season-to-date, according to data aggregated by comScore. Moreover, sales between Thanksgiving and Christmas were up as a whole indicating that the trend of shopping after Thanksgiving will only continue.
  3. Your Website is Still at Risk: While e-commerce companies used to take comfort in knowing that their peak days were Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas Eve, today’s online shopping platforms have to ensure the uptime of their website throughout the year but especially when they know traffic will spike. There is a lot of money for these companies to leave on the table if their websites fail and therefore it’s imperative to keep a steady eye on uptime and availability during Green Monday.

Now is the perfect time to gear your e-retail platform up for the impending 2014 holiday season.

Time to rest now that the Holidays Are Over…Think Again: Why Uptime Still Matters

With Christmas carols officially off the radio and your number of e-commerce website visitors returning to normal, you may be inclined to take a deep breath and relax for the next few months. But don’t for a moment be fooled into thinking that the shopping season is over.

The fact is that every month brings with it a surge of online consumers for a variety of reasons. Just consider the fact that the second quarter of 2013 marked the fifteenth consecutive quarter of positive year-over-year growth in U.S. retail e-commerce sales, and the eleventh consecutive quarter of double-digit growth. Here’s some other food for thought:

  • E-Commerce sales are growing by more than 19 percent a year; industry analysts predict that the space will reach almost $1.4 trillion by 2015
  • More than 80 percent of Internet users turn to the Web to purchase items
  • 50 percent of the online population has shopped online more than once

While Cyber Week and Black Friday might be in your rearview corner, a whole new slew of holidays are creeping up from Valentine’s Day to Mother’s Day to college graduation weekend. If you fared well during the online shopping rush at the end of 2013, chances are you already have a plan in place to handle these upcoming occasions. But if November and December were dictated by bouts of downtime, disgruntled consumers and abandoned shopping carts, now is the time to think about enlisting the help of a managed hosting provider.

Teaming with the right provider can bring a host of benefits such as: making sure your website is appropriately load tested to ward off bottlenecks; stressing your website during testing periods to see how it handles peaks in traffic; and assigning percentages to browsing and purchasing transactions, based on a combination of usage statistics and industry benchmarks.

Mentora, a pioneer in the managed hosting space, boasts a Holiday Readiness Program, designed to cost-effectively and efficiently prepare your e-Commerce company for the most important times of the year. To learn more, click here.

Mobile Usage Causes Black Friday Sales to Surge

phoneThere are a variety of reasons why Black Friday sales are back to where they were pre-recession: consumers are feeling more confident; companies are offering more and more doorbuster deals to entice customers; and companies are starting offer the same great in-store deals online, which allows consumers to shop from the comfort of their homes. But perhaps the biggest driver of Black Friday sales is the surge of mobile devices and the ability for consumers to purchase items right from their trusty smartphones or tablets.

In fact, out of the $1.512 billion in sales that United States retailers wracked in on Black Friday this year, mobile commerce sales accounted for nearly 21 percent, at $314 million, and about 17 percent of Cyber Monday sales, $350 million out of $2.085 billion, according to Internet research firm comScore. In other words, mobile commerce accounted for one in five digital dollars, or 18.5 percent, spent during those two days. According to comScore industry pundits, this number is “significant… because that percentage is far higher than we’ve ever seen in our quarterly spending data.”

It comes as no surprise, however, that mobile commerce is on the rise especially with the number of smartphones increasing exponentially. In fact, 80 percent of the world’s population now has a mobile phone; 89 percent of smartphone users use their devices throughout the day; and 84 percent use their phone for Internet browsing, according to an infographic compiled by Go-Globe.com. With mobile commerce becoming exceedingly ubiquitous, it is more paramount than ever for e-commerce platforms to test the performance and uptime of their mobile applications, as well as their everyday websites.

To learn more about the importance of teaming with an application hosting provider to ensure the peak performance of your mobile platform—and how Mentora can help—click here.

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