’Tis the Season — for Messaging! Our Top 3 Takeaways from Cyber Week

Posted by
Rita Romero
LivePerson Contributor
12/16/2015 - 10:58

Cyber Monday sales broke records this year, rising 16% from 2014 to clock out around $3 billion.

Yes, billion. With a “B.”

Setting new records each Cyber Monday doesn’t come as a surprise. All aspects of our lives are increasingly digital. And, especially this season, when people are already juggling holiday parties, spending time with their loved ones, and following the traditions that make this time of year special, no one wants to add the headache of a crowded mall or busy shopping district into the mix.

What they also want to avoid is the hassle of calling customer service to ask a product question or track down a package.  “A growing number of consumers prefer to connect with brands through messaging — they avoid hold times and get help in a timely manner while staying in the channel of choice,” says Rob LoCascio, LivePerson founder and CEO.” Adding this convenience to the retail experience makes Cyber Monday just that more appealing.

Of course, “Cyber Monday” isn’t confined to Monday anymore. Retailers have extended their offers beyond the one-day-only sale; Adobe Systems reports that the five-day period surrounding Thanksgiving, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday, drove a total of $11 billion in sales — a 15% increase year over year — accounting for 30% of all online sales for November.

But what do these numbers mean for business? Below, we’ve mapped out the three primary takeaways from retailers’ biggest week of the year.

1. Brands are prioritizing convenience and customer experience over the sale. How do we know this? Just look at how Black Friday has evolved! Customers, bellies still stuffed from Thanksgiving dinner, once lined up outside their favorite big-box stores, spending all night waiting for them to open. (Remember those days?) Then Cyber Monday exploded. People were able to snag the best deals without even leaving the house. And now we don’t even have to focus on one day — sales last all week! Online sales for Black Friday rose 14% over last year, while Thanksgiving Day itself is seeing the most rapid growth for online shopping: Sales were up 25% (to $1.7 billion), as reported by Bloomberg, with about 37% of sales made over mobile devices.

The window has gotten so much bigger to please the most customers, as brands strive to differentiate by experience, not just price. The brands that don’t react and evolve will face harsh consequences.

2. Shoppers are carrying convenience in their pockets. While we know consumers are increasingly opting for digital access to brands, they’re extremely drawn to mobile. We hosted around 700 million visitors across our customers’ sites, but what was even more amazing is that our app and mobile usage doubled this year. And we only expect it to continue its speedy climb to the top of the digital pile: Consumers’ preference for mobile engagement is growing rapidly, and brands had better keep up.

3. Messaging makes everyone’s life easier — including the retailers! We sponsored an eTail Holiday Report to explore the trends, strategies, and technologies retail leaders are employing to prepare for the holiday rush. It found that 42% of retail executives identify managing the increased volume of customer inquiries as their biggest pain point. Additionally, 74% believe live chat or mobile messaging would be the best solution to their customer service woes and offer the best experience to their customers. Read the full report (it's free!) for more intel.

With our sights now set on 2016, the new year will see fewer brands conducting customer service over a phone call and more understanding messaging as the preferred way to connect. From the frustrated consumers to the customer care professionals who have to manage the traffic, no one wants to be on either end of that line.

Connect more meaningfully this season. Happy holidays from all of us at LivePerson!

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