The formula that will increase sales for this year’s largest online shopping period

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Cyber Week 2018 is upon us. And while last year’s Cyber Week certainly brought many surprises—statistics, trends and insights that proved exponential growth within the online shopping space—we expect this year to surpass and exceed those results.

With this in mind, we must also recognize how uniquely poised and prepared we are to embrace each new surprising area of growth. This includes volume of sales, share of mobile purchases, the influence of social media, growth of omnichannel purchases and Amazon’s share of online retail, among others.

Our economy is strong. Consumer sentiment is high. And while these truths will work hand-in-hand to bring incremental sales, the numbers are overwhelming. It is up to us to define and articulate these numbers—and, more importantly, what they mean—to our fellow colleagues and consumers.

So let’s start with growth. While most e-retailers have a head start on deals more than two weeks before Thanksgiving, sales will be highest when the holidays hit this year. We expect to see at least a 16 percent growth over the same period as last year. 2018 is expected to deliver over $19 billion in online sales, with California, Texas and Florida remaining the top three states with the highest purchases. The volume of Cyber Monday sales will exceed Black Friday sales by over 15 percent this year. Women are expected to lead these purchases and retailers will one-up Amazon’s 2018 Prime Day level of discounts. This is great news for consumers. As digital sales offerings expand, we are no longer limited to Amazon’s powerhouse. We have options.

That said, we still expect Amazon to dominate more than 50 percent of all online sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Amazon also recently released several new Echo gadgets, including the Amazon Echo Input and the Amazon Smart Plug, among others. These will likely receive Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts.

Next is the role of mobile. Last year, the volume of orders from mobile devices reached 50 percent, almost exactly matching that of desktop orders. In 2018, this percentage will increase. Mobile share is expected to hit at least 55 percent this year. And the percentage of sales via mobile will creep closer to desktop by reaching 45 percent vs. 55 percent, respectively. The takeaway? More of us are choosing to shop via our phones for convenience and ease. This will prompt companies to increase and improve their mobile site designs and customer experience, as both elements are integral to happy consumers and sales that will skyrocket.

Omnichannels also play a key role in our predictions for 2018 Cyber Week. The number of customers shopping both online and stores will surpass 170 million this year. According to RetailMeNot, more than 8 in 10 shoppers used up to six channels to find the best holiday deals last year. A recent report by McKinsey & Company says European shoppers will go digital but omnichannel shopping will remain the dominate approach for shoppers everywhere, with just 12 percent of U.S. shoppers claiming they only plan to shop online. Business will blast over 10 billion email promotions during the week but only according to RetailDive, only 14.2 percent of Black Friday emails will be opened and just 13.6 percent of Cyber Monday emails will be opened. If weather does not play a factor, unlike last year’s decline, store traffic is expected to stabilize and remain flat.

And finally, the role of social. In 2018, we expect more than 30 percent of online sales will be influenced by social media, as opposed to last year’s 25 percent. This includes Facebook and Twitter, among other social channels. In 2017, Facebook saw a 64 percent increase in mobile conversations surrounding Cyber Monday sales. This year, we will also see the merge of social and product output. Facebook recently launched its Portal and Portal+ devices, which feature internal support for Alexa and allow users to hop on video calls with other Facebook friends. These are available for pre-order and will ship to buyers in November.

As we enjoy Thanksgiving with our loved ones this week, we must also remember the looming importance of Cyber Week in just a few short days. This year’s shopping period is bound to bring new surprises, trends and insights into consumer behavior. It is only when we pay attention to these insights that we are able to learn, grow and benefit from them in 2019 and beyond.

Shawn Mishra, SVP & Global Managing Partner, Digital Commerce at Isobar

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