ecommerce checkout

Blog: Black Friday Reflections

In the wake of yet another Black Friday coming to an end last week, we look back at this relatively new phenomenon and reflect.

Black Friday, Black Weekend, Black Week, Black Month?

An older group of buyers, larger online purchases and changing patterns of e-commerce highlight the year of the pandemic so far, according to recent studies by PayPal. The survey also shows that the pattern of behavior during the autumn changed significantly from previous years. Where there is normally a decline in trade the weeks before "black week", this year was different with sales staying steady throughout the autumn months. As early as the beginning of October, sales of categories linked to Christmas was seen to be on the rise, making it a record-breaking start for Christmas shopping.

So should we be talking about a black month rather than a black week? Yes, we probably should. The general increase in e-commerce - fueled by the pandemic - is here to stay according to many of the experts.

Even though the reason behind the early start of Christmas shopping is believed to be that people have been afraid of delayed deliveries - or that products are selling out - combined with the protracted sales that have taken place during the autumn, there is no indication this behavior won't stay in place for years to come.

In terms of what people buy, PayPals study noticed that a certain type of product sells better than before. In Sweden, the categories which have seen the biggest increase in online sales, is topped by gardening products. A clear indication that people have been working from home and haven't been traveling as much as previous years. Baby products, printing products, supplements and products related to pets follow on the top five.

e-commerce stats

Checkouts - the home runs and flops of e-commerce

While attempting to purchase a few things during the sales, we stumbled upon some interesting checkout examples. If shoppers have committed to buying a product, the e-commerce job is to get them through checkout as quickly as possible. A reflection was that a lot of online stores still ask their customers for a lot of information, wether it's a one-page-checkout or several steps required to buy the product. This creates greater risks of churn and a poor customer experience to be honest. Therefor we listed a few examples of checkout features that the best performing sites had in common.

Winners were noted having checkouts that:
  • Automated data collection and field population. Examples might be collecting and populating adress fields from the customers social security number, delivery options and costs from postal code and card provider through card digit algorithms.
  • Didn't require signing up, but instead provided  a quick guest checkout option.
  • Required minimum effort from the customer, in time and clicks for example.
  • Mobile adaptation and simplicity. It should be as easy (if not easier?) to purchase something through a tablet or mobile.