According to reports (and memory) 1 December 2014 was the UK’s first major Cyber Monday. And what a day it was. The attempt to bring a classic US shopping day to the UK resulted in all sorts of chaos. Websites were crashing frequently and some shoppers reportedly didn’t receive their online purchases until close to Christmas. Add that to the mayhem that surrounded Cyber Monday’s in-store counterpart, Black Friday, and it’s easy to see why everyone was talking about it. Some of that drama is still the topic of conversation today.
Since then, although many retailers have continued to push Cyber Monday deals we haven’t seen anything close to the turmoil of 2014. There’s been the odd incident but nothing major to report.
It’s difficult to know why exactly we’ve had fewer issues in the ensuing years. Have retailers heeded the advice of technology providers and invested in appropriate technology to support the event? Or did they do something else? It’s certainly not because consumers have lost interest. £968 million was spent on Cyber Monday 2016 in the UK, which amounts to an increase of 34% from the previous year. There was also a 60% increase in online traffic. But amid the growth, we definitely haven’t seen commensurate levels of problems. Nobody (apart from retailers) really knows what happened behind the scenes since 2014 but one thing is for sure, those of us that like a bargain and are looking forward to taking advantage of the offers and hoping for a drama-free Cyber Monday 2017.
As much as there is something entertaining about hearing horror stories of how the excitement of getting a good deal was tarnished by the disappointment of a horrible delivery experience, we pray it doesn’t happen to us. Those horrible experiences are only funny when happening to someone else. And when they do happen we like to vent about it – consumers are far more likely to share negative experiences than positive ones. Another report suggests that 82 per cent of consumers are unlikely to do business with the same organisation again after one bad experience. It’s crucial for retailers to stay on top of consumer behaviour and trends so that they can be one step ahead of potential issues.
It’s easy to think businesses have it all figured out but it could all turn sour very quickly. Retailers cannot afford to be complacent if they want to continue reaping the benefits of this major shopping day. All it takes is a major security breach that compromises user data or malfunctioning websites and Cyber Monday will be all over the news for all the wrong reasons.
A quarter of UK shoppers are expected buy something over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2017 weekend. So retailers can expect another busy period. Slashing prices and banging the drum about sales offerings is all well and good but without the necessary technology to support the expected increase in activity, it could all end badly. From cloud-based technology that makes online bandwidth available for customers as they visit websites to logistics technology to coordinate backend functions, businesses must make sure they are adequately prepared for whatever Cyber Monday 2017 holds.
With mobile and online shopping gaining a stronger foothold in today’s shopping landscape, retailers can’t afford to provide anything less than an easy, pain-free shopping experience on Cyber Monday. The stakes are just too high. Past drama will also have many consumers on edge and even the slightest inconvenience can have major consequences on whether consumers continue to shop or not.
Let’s hope retailers have made the adequate preparations and are ready for the shopping onslaught. Otherwise, we might witness more scenes that will have us talking for some time.