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The Thanksgiving Holiday period is the busiest shopping weekend in the year, with retailers falling over themselves to grab their share of ecommerce and in-store dollars. In amongst all the madness, there were some valuable lessons. Here are a few that caught my eye.

1: Cyber 5 is a massive deal
I’ll start with the obvious: the Cyber 5 weekend is a big deal. It represents a great opportunity for retailers and ecommerce businesses to generate serious money. 154 million consumers bought something over the weekend. Think about that for a second: there are 242.5 million adults living in the entire country. More people – almost two-thirds of the adult population – bought something this weekend than didn’t.

These stats are pretty amazing for a number of reasons but one really stands out to me: this is the time of year that people are going to buy, almost to the point that they’re conditioned to do so. If they don’t buy what they want from you, they will from someone else it. So make it easy for them: you will win or lose on your customer experience.

2: The Cyber 5 is increasingly an online event
A few years ago, Cyber Monday didn’t exist. Now, it – along with Black Friday – is one of the two major retail days of the weekend and one of the biggest of the year. As they become ever more used to shopping online rather than in-store, your customers also increasingly like the ability to buy as soon as discounts are activated. They also love the convenience of not having to leave their homes at such a busy time.

What does this tell you? You need to focus on digital if you want to win big at this crucial time in the year. Does your website offer an enriching CX? Are there glitches that are preventing customers from following through on their purchases? This is the sort of information you need to know if you’re going to succeed over the Cyber 5 weekend.

3: Cyber Monday is bigger than Black Friday online
Talking of Cyber Monday, it yielded $3.45 billion in online sales this year – which makes it the single largest U.S. online sales day ever and 12.1% bigger than last year. That is truly astonishing growth. Cyber Monday has therefore now cemented itself as an integral part of the Thanksgiving Day weekend shopping period. However, Black Friday isn’t too far behind – with only $110 million less generated online in comparison. Regardless, this merely reaffirms the importance of your online channels. Do they make it easy for your customers to achieve their main objectives?

4: It’s about more than just the savings
What’s also interesting is why people are so eager to spend their hard-earned dollars on this rather than any other day. Only half say it’s because deals are too good to pass up. A third do so because it’s tradition, while 57% say they actually find Black Friday to be fun. CX as a differentiator is not a new concept but these stats really highlight why this should be a key objective for you going forward.

5: It’s not just in the U.S.
Among others, Black Friday is now observed in Australia, Austria, Bolivia, Canada, Lebanon, Nigeria and the UK. None of these countries commemorate Thanksgiving to the same extent as the U.S. (or at least do so at different times of the year). Never underestimate the power of the U.S. retail market to drive trends elsewhere.

6: BOPUS still isn’t working properly
Buy Online Pick Up in Store (BOPUS), or click-and-collect, has been brick and mortar retail’s answer to the rise of exclusive ecommerce outlets, offering a way to bridge digital and in-store channels – it is, in effect, omnichannel CX in action. According to a recent admittedly small sample research piece by the Washington Post conducted over the Holiday period, the majority of these programs are not currently functioning as well as they could be.

BOPUS will appeal to many of your customers for a number of reasons, including quicker access to your products, less time spent in store and lack of delivery charges. It represents a fantastic opportunity for you to stand out by delivering exceptional omnichannel CX.

But how can you improve to the point that your customers will want to engage with you this way? A great first step is to allow them to talk to you on their terms across each of these channels. In doing so, you provide a unique additional opportunity to capture customer feedback in the moment of truth, gain insights and take immediate action to ensure positive and productive customer experience – crucial to your overall success but particularly important over the Cyber 5 weekend. If you’re interested in finding out more about this specifically, our Strategy Guide explores how you can utilize your Voice of Customer to deliver an optimal omnichannel customer experience.

7: Mobile growth goes on and on and…
Mobile sales totaled $3.46 billion between Thanksgiving and Sunday, a year-on-year increase of 28%. During this period, mobile accounted for 56% of visits to retail websites. Mobile also had its biggest ever day on Black Friday, when mobile sales reached $1.2 billion – up 33% year-over-year. On this day, Wal-Mart says mobile accounted for 70% of its website traffic.

If it wasn’t obvious already, mobile is well and truly here to stay. And we’re now at the stage where your mobile engagement channels can make or break your Thanksgiving weekend performance.

Designing a cutting-edge and fully responsive, personalized and engaging mobile experience might seem like a costly, endless uphill battle. But it doesn’t have to be. Our Strategy Guide provides some useful tips on how you can harness your Voice of Customer to stay ahead of the game by consistently improving mobile CX.

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