Black Friday is Going Online

User Experiences

After much anticipation, Black Friday weekend has come and gone, delivering an unprecedented amount of mobile sales. The shopping holiday that used to carry the stigma of shopping mall mayhem has been evolving into primarily an eCommerce event, thinning out the crowded brick-and-mortar stores and causing record-breaking traffic online.

According to IBM, online sales for Black Friday increased by 21.5% over last year, while mobile traffic contributed 57.2% of those users. This gave mobile traffic a 15.2% increase over Black Friday 2014.

Another record-breaking factor came from tablets, which, for the first time, surpassed desktops in average order value with $136.42; desktops reached an average of $134.06.

Despite the boost in tablets’ average order value, smartphones still reigned supreme when it came down to mobile shopping. Accounting for 44.7% of online traffic, smartphones delivered 20.6% of all online sales for that day; this is almost a 75% increase over last year’s event.

Interestingly, Custora eCommerce Pulse reported that 77.6% of all mobile orders were done so on an Apple device.

While most eCommerce businesses spent the day rejoicing in their successes, a handful of industry giants are still licking their wounds after experiencing critical performance outages.

Neiman Marcus was among the hardest hit, with performance issues that began early Friday morning and continued through Saturday. Though the outage was significant enough on its own, an even bigger problem arose when they announced their site was back up and running with extended sales, when in fact it was still down. This ignited a firestorm as customers attempted to access the promised discount and were, again, unable to reach the site.

Neiman twitter

Newegg also experienced significant problem issues on Friday. Newegg suffered a brief outage at 1:30 a.m. EST before completely crashing from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. EST.

Cyber Monday was no stranger to outages, either. What is still the nation’s biggest eCommerce holiday of the year saw performance issues from some of the largest businesses in the industry. Target had the most significant outage of the day, but there was also an issue with PayPal, who despite not being down for a very long period of time, caused somewhat of a ripple effect and impacted other sites, including HP.

As with any major shopping event, performance problems and failures are to be expected; however, as we’ve preached time and time again, many of these issues could have been prevented if eCommerce companies put forth more effort and attention to detail in the preparation period. A few extra steps in the preemptive phase can mean the difference between a revenue boost and an expensive IT nightmare.

Published on
Dec 08, 2015
updated on
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