Feel-good Friday

With the annual shopping fest one week away, Matthew Robinson, UK head of marketing at ContentSquare, says data-driven insight will offer mobile marketers Black Friday success.

For retail success over Black Friday to Cyber Monday, brands need to both plan ahead, and implement practical ways to give themselves an edge online and on mobile.

Research we conducted using our ContentSquare UX insights platform found that sessions on mobiles are 1.5 times shorter than on other devices. In fact, 37 per cent of mobile sessions last less than a minute, and there is a 50 per cent chance that mobile users will abandon a site after 5 seconds. The winners of Black Friday will ensure their mobile sites have optimised homepages to grab a visitor’s attention, highlight the best offers, and load quickly.

Page load speed
Google has recognised the importance of page load speed, having announced at the start of the year that it was going to be considering page load times in mobile searches. The average UK mobile page load time, according to Google research, is between 8.3 and 12.3 seconds, but the recommendation for all industries in 2018, including retail, was to aim for under 3 seconds.

The exit rate of mobile users is also 25 per cent higher than desktop/tablet users on the second page, perhaps because window shoppers on mobile devices typically spend more time scrolling through category pages than product pages. But their attention remains limited on mobile. It takes just 39 seconds for a mobile user to decide to leave a page; that’s 22 per cent less time than on a desktop or tablet.

Having a visual overview of every visitor segment and how they flow through your site is critical to reactivity too. The winning retailers will be those that can easily analyse on-site visitor journeys to identify where, if anywhere, their visitors are losing interest, which pages drive journeys leading to conversion, and how visitors from different sources navigate their site from the homepage all the way through to checkout.

39 per cent of last year’s Black Friday shopping was completed on a smartphone, and our own research indicated that mobile conversion rates increased by 167 per cent on Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2017. So, offering a seamless experience on all websites and design formats is essential to avoid cart abandonment.

Cart abandonment

Mobile cart abandonment rates fall by 7 per cent on Black Friday, but mobile visitors are 35 per cent more likely to abandon their cart than desktop users. For maximum success, retailers need to minimise load times, alongside a smooth and easy-to-complete checkout process.

The winners will be able to easily identify and resolve visitor frustrations, including the most common one of all – slow load times. 40 per cent of people will leave a web page if it takes longer than three seconds to load, but nearly one fifth of mobile users (18.2 per cent) experience loading times in excess of 5 seconds on mobile versus desktop.

The 33 per cent bounce rate average on Black Friday, across all channels, is down to the checkout. On average, the typical checkout process requires 14.88 fields, which is twice as many as necessary. Mobile users spend 69 per cent more time at checkout than users on other devices, with the shopping cart abandonment rate on mobile being 30 per cent higher than desktop.

To mitigate this, the winners will have an efficient checkout process and with the minimum number of steps necessary to complete a purchase. They will also know, in advance, which form fields cause the greatest visitor frustration and have those resolved before Black Friday. Errors are fatal to retailers at any time, particularly as 1 in 4 mobile users abandon a site if they get an error message. This means that all retail brands need to rectify any problems, like an image being unclickable or a certain form field preventing visitors from checking out.

Avoid DRIP with actionable insights
Ecommerce teams everywhere have been infected by the Data Rich, Insight Poor (DRIP) virus. They have unlimited access to more data than they’ve ever had at their disposal before, but they need to be wary of drowning in the insights being provided by the array of analytics tools they are using. Instead, simplify things – identify the relevant data to most effectively optimise your users’ experience online and via their mobile, and action it.

There’s no doubt that a data-driven approach is the future of marketing, and the overwhelming abundance of customer data that is available to teams nowadays fuels the potential for a highly tailored – and highly effective – customer experience. But too often businesses rely on the assumption that more data equals more insight; simply collecting and processing data doesn’t generate the insight necessary to deliver real results.

Traditional analytics tools (such as Google Analytics) only provide limited insight into visitor behaviour, and often fail to answer the ‘why?’ behind the ‘what?’ Answering this need for a fuller picture, UX analytics and insight platforms are growing in popularity, and many of the retailers that will achieve success this Black Friday have already complemented their traditional tools with a UX solution.

UX analytics and insight platforms offer all sales, eCommerce, marketing and digital teams the ability to conduct a detailed audit of their previous Black Friday events, and apply all of the learnings to their site structure and product features this time around. For example, using click recurrence (how many times on average visitors click a particular field or content element) to identify user frustration at checkout, or using revenue metrics (identifying the revenue generated by a specific blockof content) to discover how much revenue your homepage banner generated this week compared to last.

The winners of Black Friday will also have the tools at hand to be reactive on the day, making changes on-the-fly within minutes of Black Friday promotions going live, based on behavioural insight, available at the click of a button. This means that their teams will be improving the overall experience for visitors – and conversion rates to boot – as sales are happening, without having to relying on only a few individuals to collect, process, interpret and share the relevant information.

Instead of creating an organisational bottleneck by limiting the number of people that can access behavioural insight, brands must invest in tools that enable them to democratise that data, ensuring individuals can access relevant information, specific to their role, resulting in faster insight and action – ideal for mobile as those visitors demand speed.

In summary, the winners of Black Friday will likely be those that have used UX analytics to enable them to extract actionable insights, so they are not drowning in data, rather than those who are just using it as an annual clean-up of their optimisation processes, ahead of Christmas.

Advanced technologies like UX analytics are crucial year-round to empower teams with the ability to work faster, smarter and more efficiently in preparing for every important retail event.