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There has been a lot of talk about Cyber Monday for online merchants, but the eTail holiday season truly kicks off right after the Thanksgiving dishes are put away on Thursday and continues through the weekend in what has been dubbed the Cyber Five. This year, eCommerce sites saw a significant increase in sales over last year during that time with comScore reporting a 32% increase over 2011 for shopping on Thanksgiving day. As an online retailer, it's important to take note of this upward trend and consider the drivers of online spending as well as what people were buying to help increase your profits for this and coming holiday seasons. 

Free Shipping Is King

Want a way to get your customers to spend more? Offer free shipping. On average, consumers spent 42% when offered free shipping than when they had to pay to ship their purchases with average order values at or above $100 per transaction. Requiring a minimum purchase amount, such as $99, before offering free shipping can help to keep your margins in check and boost transaction amounts.

Mobile Growth

Another trend that was very apparent this year, and continues to be in eCommerce, is mobile shopping. Consumers are reaching for their tablets and smartphones more and more to make their online purchases so that mobile commerce has become a significant source of income for the major eTailers, including EBay, Amazon and Buy.com. IBM reported an overall 70% increase in mobile sales over 2011 this year, accounting for 13% of total online purchases. That's a significant increase and one that even smaller eCommerce shops should consider. Is your site mobile friendly? Making some adjustments to your design over the coming months will help to improve the user experience for the growing number of mobile shoppers and increase your revenue.

Selling What Shoppers Are Buying

It was no suprise that toys led the list of online purchases for Cyber Monday, but a few more unexpected items also made the list of most sought after Cyber Monday gifts: gift cards and digital content. Building on the proliferation of tablets and smartphones, digital content and subscriptions grew in popularity by 25% over last year according to comScore's reporting. Additionally, the National Retail Federation found that eight in ten shoppers will purchase gift cards as gifts this holiday season - many of those will be purchased online. Below is a chart from the NRF that details the results of Cyber Monday spending and what consumers were purchasing. Even if you aren't a clothing or toy retailer, you can take advantage of the current trends by offering gift cards for your goods or services on your site.

 

Chart: Most Sought After Cyber Monday GiftsDescription: Cyber Monday giftsTags: Shop.org, Cyber MondayAuthor: NRFcharts powered by iCharts

 

How did your eCommerce shop perform during the Cyber Five? It's not too soon to learn from this year to improve this holiday season and those to come.