Retail’s Failure of Data Use to Improve Online Performance; Brtits Could Shun Black Friday

RetailTechNews’ weekly roundup brings you up-to-date research findings from around the world. In this week’s edition: Retail’s Failure of Data Use to Improve Online Performance; Brits Could Shun Black Friday; and Smartphones for Christmas Shopping.

Retail’s Failure of Data Use to Improve Online Performance

Online sellers are using e-commerce solutions to gather better data insights, yet many are failing to use it to make better business decisions, new research by Sana Commerce has found. Whilst 42% are using data to improve customer service, only 24% are using data for buying behaviour analysis and two-thirds are not using it to improve the user experience.

Many are still only focused on using e-commerce for sales and improving online shopping for customers. Half (48%) identified driving sales as the top priority for their e-commerce solution and 38% said it was to improve the user experience. Despite having data available at their fingertips, online sellers are not using their data to achieve desired business performance outcomes.

The main response to tackling competition is competing on price (47%) and increasing the online customer experience (38%), rather than enhancing the proposition. Only a third said they would use data to improve personalisation and 26% said they would use data to improve targeting and account-based marketing.

Many online sellers are embracing new technologies in a bid to advance their digital transformation; and machine-to-machine (M2M) ordering is seen as a possibility for 54% of respondents. However, with data seemingly having a minimal impact on operations and decisions for e-commerce businesses, it’s possible that this technology is not being used to the best of its ability.

Brits Could Shun Black Friday

Four-fifths (81%) of Brits think they can find good sales and promotions all year round, suggesting that Black Friday is no longer a standalone retail event for UK consumers – according to new research from the7stars.

The results show that in the year that Amazon announced a fortnight of deals, for what was originally a single day of sales, Black Friday really has started to lose its allure. Despite the event growing in size and scale, only 13% claim to do their Christmas shopping on Black Friday, a figure largely unchanged from two years ago (10%).

Similarly, respondents alluded to the overwhelming and slightly off-putting nature of Black Friday sales – with almost half (47%) claiming they get lost in the sea of promotions and often don’t know where to start. What’s more, 41% of respondents say that Black Friday is an American tradition, with no place in the UK.

Black Friday was, however, found to be more accepted amongst younger consumers, with 35% of 18-24s claiming to hold off buying things until the event, compared with only 5% of the 65+ group. Similarly, a quarter of this group say they prefer it to the post-Christmas sales, compared with only 3% of the older generation.

The story is still one of scepticism though, as even within the 25-35 cohort, 18% claim to believe that if an item is reduced on Black Friday then it’s not worth buying in the first place.

Smartphones for Christmas Shopping

It seems as though UK retailers are finally reaching always-on shoppers, in the lead up to Christmas, according to data from Ve.

The proportion of Britons using their smartphones to make purchases online during the lead up to Christmas is up a massive 44% compared to last year, according to the latest Ve Global (Ve) consumer behaviour data, with predictions that mobile sales will rise to over 50% during the Black Friday weekend – the unofficial start of the festive shopping period.

The growth in sales is followed by a further 6% increase in browsing via a smartphone. This places mobile as the dominant channel for browsing in the UK – registering more sessions (53%) than desktop PCs and tablets combined. The analysis also revealed a significant reduction in mobile ‘bounce’ rates – where users would often leave a website almost immediately after arriving – which are down 10% on 2017.

Ve is expecting a further uptick in mobile sales during the Black Friday weekend. Last year, 36% of UK retail purchases over the Black Friday weekend occurred via a smartphone, up 12% on the Q3 average. An equivalent increase this year would put the mobile share of online sales at an unprecedented 52%.