We live in a world where two coordinates, above all else, found their way to the top of the priority list for most of us: mobility and speed.

People are more dynamic and mobile than ever before. We often don’t have time anymore to stroll through the mighty cathedrals of traditional retail, to glance at the sales signs with eyes glittering with interest, hungry for shopping.

We’ve gotten used to the massive discounts, to pack cars with unnecessary items and forgotten shopping lists, which seem to disappear when the huge red banners – which bare the Sign of Sale – appears at the horizon.

In this environment, a new hope emerged: e-commerce. People felt the need for something different. A faster, more convenient way of shopping, where you could sit at home, in front of the TV, and buy a new TV. Or on your laptop at work and buy a new fridge for home. Or, why not, buy a car on your phone.

The sky is the limit, and retailers do everything in their powers to persuade shoppers to spend more time on their websites, to convince them they need to buy the products they’re offering.

This is one of the many reasons why online retail is growing, year after year, at a strong pace. And the forecasts only seem to encourage the trend.

This is one of the greatest opportunities for analysts and our industry: helping online retailers redefine the experience for their shoppers, boost sales and increase revenue.

How can analysts help online businesses

Every KPI can be improved with good data-driven strategies in place. By levering insights gathered from data, retailers can drastically boost the effectiveness of their marketing efforts and increase the conversion rate.

Analysts can help retailers design a friendlier interface by understanding the heatmaps of their websites & apps and the points of friction with the users.

According to Adobe, over 1 dollar in 6 of retail is to be spent online, with online growing at a much faster pace than offline.

Mobile app shoppers are much more likely to convert, with 2x the rate of a regular website shopper. They spend 2.4x more time on the app, which has 30% better content relevancy. Mobile app shoppers also have a 25% better return frequency.

3x as many mobile app shoppers actually made a purchase recently, compared to traditional web shoppers.

Large (retailers with more than $100 million in yearly online revenue) and Pure-Play (retailers which do not have any physical stores) retailers have a much higher rate of recurring customers, with 40% more of their revenue share coming from recurring customers, compared to brick-and-click businesses.

These are all insights gathered by analysts to help online retailers. And the figures speak for themselves. Every year, online retail is growing faster and faster, while traditional retail is slowing down.

Foot traffic fell again on Black Friday in the US stores. Visits by shoppers were down 1.7% from 2017 on Black Friday, which was down 1,6% from the similar period of 2016. On the other hand, consumers spent 37 million dollars an hour online through Shopify alone, according to market reports.

On the other hand, online sales rose to new heights. If in 2017, Holiday Season sales reached $43.5 billion, this year (Nov. 1 – Nov. 25) surpassed all expectations and reached a whopping $50.62 billion. This is even greater than the forecasts, which were around $49.5 billion.

Instead of trying to figure out how to boost foot traffic in stores, analysts must find ways to reduce the bounce rate and increase page views per session. Instead of trying to make the shelves pop-out as much as possible so that shoppers fill their carts with products, online businesses try to boost their conversion rate and create the easiest way possible for their clients to purchase products.

How did the Holiday sales break all records?

What first started out as Thanksgiving sales, or Black Friday sales, turned out in a month-full of discounts across all kind of product categories. From mid-November to Christmas, we have all sorts of made-up or real Holidays that make shoppers more than eager to spend their money.

For brick-and-mortar stores, it’s a lot harder to promote at a glance the most ‘discounted’ products or to adjust the layout of the store according to the Holiday at hand. For example, it’s a lot easier for an online business to simply display on the homepage a brand new product offering, tailored to what users particularly search for on Cyber Monday, than it is for a supermarket to rearrange all the shelves to better position electronics only for the day.

Through marketing efforts, campaigns, ads and self-promos, retailers manage to convince shoppers with months in advance that the Holiday Season is packed with discounts.

People enter a website and they know the best deals will pop-up either on the homepage or on the landing page of every individual product category. They enter the site with the promise of discounts, and they’re almost never let down. Especially if they set their mind to buy something.

Analysts and digital marketers must be the bridge between customers and online businesses. They need to both facilitate accommodating users to the new shopping ‘palaces’ and to help retailers understand what shoppers want, need and ‘feel’ when they roam across their websites.

About the author

Sebastian Stan

Sebastian is a journalist and digital strategist with years of experience in the news industry, social media, content creation and management, and digital analytics.

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