Jason & Scot Show Episode 109 Cyber 5 Recap with Adobe’s Tamara Gaffney

A weekly podcast with the latest e-commerce news and events. In episode 109 is a recap of the Cyber 5 holiday results w/ Adobe’s Director of the Strategic Insights Engagement Group, Tamara Gaffney.


Tamara Gaffney is the Director of the Strategic Insights Engagement Group at Adobe.  Tamera joins us to discuss the holiday e-commerce results from Black Friday through Cyber Monday (Cyber 5).  Tamera has access to anonymous, and aggregated data from more than 5,000 companies worldwide that use the Adobe Digital Marketing Cloud (including Adobe Analytics formerly known as Omniture), which represents one of the largest samples of the overall e-commerce industry available.  Her team publishes useful insights based on that data throughout the year.

Adobe 2017 Holiday Forecast and Realtime Holiday Dashboard

Adobe Digital Insights

Adobe Digital Price Index

Long time listeners will remember that Tamara first appeared on Episode 60 with Holiday Predictions for 2016.

Don’t forget to like our facebook page, and if you enjoyed this episode please write us a review on itunes.

Episode 109 of the Jason & Scot show was recorded on Thursday November 30, 2017.

New beta feature – Google Automated Transcription of the show


[0:25] Welcome to the Jason and Scott show this is episode 109 being recorded on Thursday November 30th 2017 I’m your host Jason retailgeek Goldberg and as always I’m here with your co-host Scot Wingo.

Scot & Tamara:
[0:40] Jason and welcome back Jason Scott shirtless nurse,
podcast Jason you know but maybe audience doesn’t that one of our most popular episodes last year was the infamous episode 60 which was our holiday preview that feature adobe’s,
Tamara Gaffney and today we are excited to announce that tomorrow is back with us and we thought I’d be even cooler that instead of doing a preview,
if we could carve out just a little bit of her time even though she’s super busy being the date of wizard out there to give us a read kind of hot take on what’s going on after the Cyber 5 so we’re really excited to have tomorrow back with us she is too strategic insights engagement rings director at Adobe welcome tomorrow.

[1:23] Hi thanks for having me back on it’s been. I got to well it’s been a year,
I think this year will be even more exciting because we’re going to get some instead of previews will actually get reviews so excited to hear wake me up set.
Yeah we’re right in the thick of things aren’t we weave just just crossed over 50 billion dollars in online spending so it’s a big big year.

[1:48] And most of that is just got so that’s pretty impressive too.

Scot & Tamara:
[1:51] Yeah but 10% is not not Scot at my I think I wanted to have your job.

[2:03] I think Scott has to have multiple jobs to support his Star Wars have it.

Scot & Tamara:
[2:07] Yes yes I’m sure if you look in the data what will have a Star Wars? Okay.

[2:11] Tomorrow before we get into it can you refresh our listeners as to how it is that you know so much about what’s happening with holiday spending can you talk about the the dataset you’re working a little bit.

Scot & Tamara:
[2:26] Yeah let me start there because most everybody who is listening in its thinking Adobe and they’re thinking Photoshop I thinking acrobat not syncing data analysis.
Unless they were listening last year.

[2:41] Adobe Audition.

Scot & Tamara:
[2:43] But we actually have a.
Technology for marketing that we called experience cloud and inside that we have some baby clouds in an a particular the analytics Cloud which is running the collection mechanism for getting all of the information for a vast majority of online retailers,
as well as the Nvidia Titan and tonic the first most of the web is using Adobe analytics to track,
information for themselves and and we have the keys to Fort Knox in our team in Adobe Digital insights where we’re allowed to go in and look at the aggregate of all of,
the clients in the cloud so what you’re seeing or hearing today off of this data is coming out of shopping carts and the actual tracking of what is going in and out of shopping carts how much getting fat. What kind of device is buying it,
all kinds of information that’s tracked inside of adobe analytics and we aggregate points add up into massive numbers.

[3:52] Got you in for really old school listeners the Adobe analytics Cloud was at one point on the charger.

Scot & Tamara:
[4:00] That’s right yeah it’s in fact when you login if your client when you login it still says that and who are also.

[4:08] Let’s say I didn’t want I don’t have to use the product manager who’s I know we’ve totally normalized all the new names but yeah the URL still on the chair.

Scot & Tamara:
[4:15] Right it’s been 7 years now that we’ve been an adobe analytics and everyone still remember said that old Brandon so that’s that must be the Hallmark of a good brand right there.

[4:27] I absolutely in and soul to soul recap like their other vendors,
out there that give holiday data based on their customer bases but they’re you know most most vendors have you can have every real best business in and steal your customers might represent 5 or 10% of the market and.
That depending on your product it sort of self-select for a particular type of of customer in so you know there can be a lot of sort of inherent bias is in a lot of those data sets that that vendors that aren’t really in the analytic space have when they,
try to share some of that their holiday insights but in your case it’s it’s the same tool that that many retailers are using the tractor,
their own progress and I think you’re going to tell me that you have a pretty big representative sample of the overall e-commerce industry.

Scot & Tamara:
[5:18] Yeah we do and to be fair to everyone we all have a sample,
we just happen to have a drink normally huge sample which makes it frankly a little bit easy to predict what’s going to happen there isn’t that much out there that I’m trying to.
Figure out but but yeah we’re covering 80% of the top 100 retailers web retailers and we are.
Covering about $7.50 out of every $10 spent on line inside of the Adobe analytics and Adobe experience Cloud platform so,
the date of that we’re looking at is very very big we’re talking about trillions of visits and billions of a shopping carts purchased During the period of time that our predictive model is looking at,
data to,
give estimates about where we should be and then of course he know we’re tracking the actuals and if you were watching the news over the holiday weekend you probably heard adobe’s,
recorded because we had over 9,000 press articles in the last 5 days so it’s been a really great for us to get the word out,
that’s awesome congrats on the so much sense I hope you get paid by mention.

[6:34] I wish that’s what we do track it in analytics just like you know everything else that was up 18% and are kpi so we’re happy.
Awesome yes it’s he said that at the top of the show 50 billion that feels good.

[6:49] Maybe we can start time at thirty thousand foot level what was your thinking coming into the holiday and your how are we tracking against that thinking,
knee revision to the back end up or down think that they are seen.
Take a giant step back and talk about our prediction that we put out the very very beginning of November and the predicted model this year we were,
down to the studs and rebuilt it completely and it took us we started February and it took us all this time to get it get it redone and the reason why we had to do that if we were starting to watch how our model was working against,
behavioral patterns that we’re seeing in the market we noticed that that these big shopping days we’re stealing.

[7:42] Feeling shopping stealing revenue from other days and and that caused the model which had some assumptions in it about some constant growth.
In various levels of e-commerce spend to really start to become.
Not the right way to measure things so because we are never satisfied with what we used to do we decided that we needed to have a specific growth rate,
estimate for everyday of the year and and that it has changed our Outlook and it changed a little bit of r model from the.
Back so we did some revising of the past but not too big and and then we put out our prediction which was 107.4 billion dollars and that is a 13.8% growth rate last year was a 14.4% growth rate based on our revised,
I data in our models and so you can see that the growth rate is starting to decline but the actual total difference in spending is,
and and groceries are very difficult to conceptualize number because as a base gets bigger and bigger a grocery and actually goes down so so do not enter,
the lower growth rate the last year as a negative sign because e-commerce is still alive and well and in fact if you’ve been watching the news it’s it’s all the same as it ever was talking about. How much more is going online.

[9:11] Yeah I think in the offline world where things are going to happen 4% will take.
14 or 18 in is probably fine like I said we are seeing that retailers pricing promotions are causing.
The consumers to wait,
And Delay spending so some of this growth that we see big spiky growth in days like Cyber Monday, the expense of the beginning of November.
Which is strange considering that,
if you’re watching your email box or paying attention to what retailers are doing you see them talking about Black Friday earlier and earlier and you think well the sales must be really ramping up earlier than it used to but that is not an,
not in fact true.
Consumers has become online shopping ninjas and they know that the best prices are not until the Thanksgiving holiday weekend it’s okay,
it’s not always good for retailers,
but they’re waiting but they’re competing with each other and they it’s such a competitive Marketplace that they can’t afford to not have the lowest prices and everything else does,
so so that’s why you’re seeing the concentration of the holiday spending becoming Tighter and Tighter over the course of time.

[10:35] Interesting in I want to go down in that just a little bit more because when you when you think about.
More spending over the holiday. Like there’s a couple reasons that could be right like so you don’t want is people are just getting more good than they got last year or a bigger percentage of their goods online and offline it work if we’re just looking at the online number but another one is,
the time frame can be different right because we don’t have the same number of days every year and holiday and if I’m not mistaken this year we have one more day than we had last year so do we.

[11:07] You try to account for that in your model when you talk about the growth percentage or is it just there’s a small amount of the growth percentage that we should just expect because we have one more shopping day.

Scot & Tamara:
[11:18] Yes or model really looks at the two months of November and December and doesn’t,
pacifically look at when Thanksgiving starts although you’re absolutely right to point that out in previous analysis we had measured the impact of a shortened season because we’re.
Climbing backup in terms of days after a couple years ago we got to the shortest window between Thanksgiving and Christmas and.
And now you know every year we get one extra day which is great for retailers in the past when we look at what happens when you get a short season it was five six hundred million dollars a day and lost Revenue,
and that was because people don’t really start.
Shopping until Thanksgiving Black Friday time. And then they shop for as many days as they have left.
So when you have fewer days left you just don’t get as far out in your shopping and terms of the nice to have gifts as you would have if you had more time,
having said that though the counterbalance to all of it has been over the past two years and to even greater,
greatest here we have the Advent of click-and-collect shopping,
cell that has links in the season that and the fact that we have longer.
Periods of time that we can wait before shipping free shipping stops and.
Before the shipper say they can’t get stuff to us that’s because of.

[12:50] Really Improvement in logistics and data analysis on the part of the shippers themselves so we have a lengthened online shopping season compared to 5 years ago because of those factors,
and that helps online but the shortened season in general hurts all shopping.
And and all of that is it is a part of the model but not as specifically as you know looking at the number of days between.
Thanksgiving and Christmas.

[13:21] That that’s actually a great point so if you get back in that time machine and and Scott and I’ve been doing this for a long time like an old days you had this one thing you have a cutoff date right and that was the last day you can hand something ups and still have it delivered,
via ground to it to a consumer in so.
Emotionally you were selling stuff online until that cut off date and once you got past that cut update your strategy was to sell gift cards.
Like something you could deliver electronically and like you know over the last 10 years,
we have multiple cut-off dates because there’s that ground cut off date and now you know a lot of shippers are a lot of consumers hurt you know getting express delivery weather you know that’s bundled for free or weather,
they’re paying a premium for that to your point because updates just are shorter because the shippers are better at it and then you know the the big Advent is you is you rightly mentioned is now instead of promoting gift cards for those last two days were saying,
click and collect buy it online and you can drive in curbside and pick it up or coming in the store and pick it up.

Scot & Tamara:
[14:25] Yeah and the end.
In places like you know Amazon for example in certain cities they have same day delivery because they’ve got warehouses located in those titties themselves,
so some of it is for the positioning of goods around the country and where where they are I remember a couple years ago watching UPS backup into a Nike store and take online orders out a physical store and deliver them in a local area so there’s all kinds of strategies that have come into place in The Last 5 Years to get Goods,
out of sight out of the computer and into your porch without it having to be a cut off so early.

[15:05] For sure and and now it’s in the porch soon it’s going to be in the refrigerator but because.

Scot & Tamara:
[15:11] I heard that.

[15:12] Are going to have the keys to our house.
But before we get there the other thing you mentioned which I think is potentially even bigger deal is it’s it’s I think it’s always dangerous to talk about growth without talking about dressed Ricky Powell.
Discounting the reason I say that is sort of twofold.
Whip and Seasons when retailers aggressively discount earlier in the season like you know it’s possible that they’re just shifting more sales early so we can see big growth over this kind of cyber 5mm really all we’ve done is like we’ve given away margin to pull those heels earlier into the season,
I’m in in their other Seasons where they aggressively discount throughout the season and they do drive more sales but of course I can have a hugely negative impact on on profitability in so you can have a season where I V,
we all Drew really well oh bummer we all lost more money than ever before.
Until I’m I’m always curious to track permit the promotional activity in one of the things that’s always exciting to me about your data set is I think you actually see,
the price consumers are paying in the level of discounting so are you able to talk about that what time you’re sitting there at all.

Scot & Tamara:
[16:24] Yeah I actually am because it again going back to how we collect the data we’re looking at a line item a product going into a shopping cart for pretty,
price and then we’re looking at the totals,
and you know what kind of credit card with use all that stuff is stored in Adobe analytics and so would we go in and do that we’ve created actually by the,
by the way every month we were Lisa digital price index which is a corollary to the Consumer Price Index and it allows everyone to track,
online price changes so so we use that type of information that we’ve built up in the digital price index to help understand what kind of discounting is happening during the holiday season and the interesting things this year for me was that,
the discount rate,
for the biggest discounts tend to be on items like televisions and computers and the electronic category has a much bigger discounts than other categories,
so last year we hit 25% discounts on televisions at tablets this year we hit 24,
so not a super big difference but not as much discount as we had before,
the little trick there though to keep in mind is that I’m calculating a discount rate meaning there was a price and then it got you know kind of lowered,
they’re actually could be that the prices came into the season lower and therefore the discount rate still got you out the door for less money.

[17:56] Then you would have even know there was a smaller discount so I’m so keep that in mind but some of the categories that we were tracking,
did not have this as Hyatt discounts this year as last year last year seemed to be a huge huge discount here and this one is a,
Sporting Goods with about 11% off and I actually saw an article about people buying guns which was interesting cuz that’s in the sporting good category apparel about 15% computers 15%,
and you know the.
Toy category itself is holding it about 19% discounts at the the real big.
Problem with side with pricing is that the times when things actually get their lowest is already the time when a lot of the hottest products are sold out,
so retailers don’t necessarily give you their lowest price on something that’s about to sell out until after they get through knowing whether or not,
they have enough inventory and optimizing pretty well using a lot of data mining to do that,
the other thing that I’ll tell you is that the shopping carts themselves were a little bit,
bigger than they were last year and the data that’s coming in after I prediction it’s showing us that the season is going to be a little a little bit bigger than a predictive model,
could touch 100 V 110 billion possibly so we’re going to have to see if.

[19:32] If the big Cyber Monday that we just came off of,
does feel some of the shopping center from the rest the back half of the season I don’t think it will though based on looking at the state of for 5 years people seem to shop as much as they have time for.

[19:49] Very cool and.
So you did touch one thing that I haven’t fully considered but I’ll bet you is it a newer challenge so you see discounts in terms of sort of is was pricing right like this price was this in an hour I’ll bring it at this n o n a lot of retailers are heavily promotional so that’s their their motor cyber on die,
but increasingly like there’s a there’s a huge everyday low price retailer out there and Walmart that really doesn’t.
Quote on quote discount but they certainly adjust there,
their offer price and more more we’re starting to see this Dynamic pricing where retailers change pricing all the time based on,
on market conditions and obviously Amazon famous for that,
I’m assuming you can see that is was promotions but you really don’t have a great way to call out the fact when a retard just gets more aggressive on their base price during a particular. Particular there a dynamic processor.

Scot & Tamara:
[20:49] So this particular analysis that gives you the discount rates.
Doesn’t have that but the digital price index where were looking at the price index by category of product does.
So if we’re starting to see things trending down or we seem deflation in a certain category.
It’s showing up an additional price index so in January probably around the 5th or so we will put out the December digital price index and it will have,
more of a trend around how much how much does everyday low prices are we seeing hit the mark,
versus the discount rate which is we going to Jack’s prices up and then discounted make you feel like you got a good deal.

[21:35] Awesome and it not to do it from the overall message we’re seeing a healthy growth rate and potentially slightly less promotional than last year which is probably good good news for profitability.

Scot & Tamara:
[21:49] Yeah it does seem like it it is also feels like Americans are feeling jolly and that they want to I’ll go out and spend we,
never have I seen before and this is the intangible in anybody’s model not just ours but a stock market High the day before Thanksgiving.
You know an all-time high and so so there’s that that question lingering how much is the economy and the stock market positive overhang going,
this holiday season in ways that the model couldn’t have predicted because we’ve never had data to feed into the model with this kind of economy.
In it it feels like we got a really no tail lens there any other Bitcoin hitting 10,000 which I’m sure all the US consumers are excited about.
Well you know a lot of people nowadays do have something in in the market in the retirement or wherever and so it does seem like it creates a certain sense of willingness to,
send when when when that Mark is going well.

[23:00] Chocolate with shift gears a little bit and I know you guys do some really interesting research and tracking around the device Trends what are we seeing as far as mobile vs. desktop in anything interesting there that you seen the shirt.

[23:14] Yeah let’s talk about that because when I’ve been asked what the biggest surprise was this year for me.

[23:24] It comes into the mobile device area which you would think nothing would surprise me about mobile anymore because I talked about it now every single year as if it’s you know the most important thing but the problem that I seen in Mobile is that.
Traffic is switching from desktop to mobile over the course in the last 2 years and traffic at people’s buying habits are consolidating and two fewer fewer websites to the actual traffic to websites.

[23:52] In general at in retail that also everywhere is declining.
Play Lee and and its increasing dramatically in the smartphone.
And at the expense of the desktop and the tablets declining a little bit.
So the problem with smartphone traffic is it doesn’t convert well it’s people don’t hit the buy button when they’re on their smartphone nearly as often and the.
Average order size on a smartphone is lower so from a retail perspective it becomes really difficult if more people shop on their smartphones.
We were calling this year for smartphone traffic to surpass 50% to hit 54% and it is.

[24:44] Is a general going to be true that statement the first couple weeks of the year were a little bit lower in Mobile Traffic,
when we started getting into Thanksgiving we went through the roof on on mobile traffic and in particular smartphone traffic it got up to over 60% of visits to retailer website,
add some of those big holiday days and what I was fearing would happen would that would be that the revenue would take a hit,
as a result and it and it didn’t and that’s the big surprise for me so we had about a 40% growth rate,
in Revenue coming off of smartphones and in particular on Cyber Monday we had mobile Revenue which is a smartphone plus tablet.
2 billion dollars on that day alone are very first two billion dollar day,
mobile standing and so what what I’ve noticed is that the conversion rate and the shopping cart size on the smartphone has grown much faster than we were expecting.
Which is me a perfect timing really because it could have been a disaster the reason why.
I believe has to do with our ability to autofill forms and autofilter credit card and use our fingerprint,
on a mobile device,
it was just so much easier for me personally to shop on my smartphone this year than it was last year now last year I had it and iPhone 6 plus this year I have a Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus.

[26:26] I don’t know how much of it has to do and see no switching from Apple to Samsung are or just the general improvements in the smartphone or the Improvement of the website and being able to use the smartphone but it was.
Tremendously easier for me and I think that’s part of the reason why we saw so much more Revenue coming from smartphones this year that was my big big surprise.
At the season.

[26:51] Interesting that that’s really great news and we shall we often talk about that that lower mobile conversion rate is the Serta mobile Gap.

[27:00] And in general I would even say historically you we see the mobile Gap close a little bit on shopping days with a high purchase intense right like so.
And in that kind of makes sense if you’re shopping on a mobile device on a regular day and you’re in line at the bank and it’s too hard to check out and you run out of time.

[27:19] You just don’t complete the transaction but if you’re you know you’re shopping for a gift that you need for your nephew next week.
You’re you’re more motivated to complete the transaction even if that that phone number is all that payment information is harder to enter on your phone.

[27:36] And we we sometimes also talked about.

[27:41] Unit conversion rate not being a perfect metric right like so you know most sites when they talk about the conversion rate it’s all the traffic to the site and what percentage of that complete upper chest.
But of course if you’re not any channel retailer lot of people are coming to your site to get your store address or your store hours or check the you know lots of other tasks besides shopping and on these high shopping days.
Higher percentage of the traffic is going to the.
The purchase pages instead of the you know the informational pages that might be on your site and so.

[28:12] I guess I would expect it to be a little narrower but but.
It’s really exciting to see that the Gap closing if your premises right that it’s because there’s less payment friction though we should see the maintain those better conversion rates even after holiday is that right.

Scot & Tamara:
[28:29] I would think so we’ll have to watch and see how how well we do at.
The revenue coming from smartphones and how well were trending I did notice that in the past that we had seen some games and it was getting better,
the overall amount of smartphone Revenue at the percentage is around 21% we hit 27%,
on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday and 20% of Revenue so well over a quarter of the revenue is coming from a smartphone not just a mobile device so I agree with you though all good points.
It’s going to be one of those things that retailers have to figure out how to how to,
the momentum because the desktop traffic for the first 27 days of the season was,
Ware County for 70% of the purchases so as it goes more smartphone definitely that mobile Gap is is.
Big worry and if they can’t find ways to improve the conversion rate for we’re going to see their revenue take a hit eventually.

[29:35] For sure in and one thing that I would just encourage people to keep an eye on.
For sure it’s true that the shopping experience on a mobile device is more miserable than a desktop device in terms of.
Entering payment information and in some other usability things and then we are seeing lots of the improvements get made that you know hopefully we become permanent and and help help a bait that that mobile Gap but there’s one particular technology that I personally am excited about that’s called the,
payment API the Google is deployed so you may be benefiting from in your Samsung phone so it’s in Chrome right now and it.
It dramatically makes it easier to autofill all those to Safeway auto fill all those payment fields,
on a mobile check out and so that that’s in a bunch of the browsers at this point but only a small subset of retailers have have implemented in their site yet and so.

[30:36] If that technology gets broadly adopted by next year you know that it can dramatically reduce the checkout friction and in a week we look at the average mobile checkout at something like 27 fields that you have to fill out in this this potentially reduces you down to,
eight or nine Clicks in order to to make a purchase so so pretty meaningful difference if a lot of retailers end up adopting it.

Scot & Tamara:
[31:00] Yeah I don’t actually know where my phone gets that stuff to put in I just observe it as a.
Consumer and love it and you know when you when you have an awesome digital experience like for example the first time I.
Checked into a hotel room using my phone to open the door you know you kind of remember those things like how well how something just changed my world is rock and it takes a really long time for everyone to adopt,
when you see it then it becomes your new Norm for what you expect and that’s one of the things that we talked about a lot here is is the,
Haitian gap between what’s possible and we know we can do it because we’ve done it on one retailer site,
and and then everyone else very quickly have to follow or as consumers we don’t have a lot of patience for it to be anything lower than the best possible digital experience we’ve ever seen.
And that that that makes it kind of tough.
One of the things that we looked at for mobile that I think is worth pointing out is the conversion rate on small businesses those who are making $10 a year or less in total.
Online Revenue was almost two times higher than it was for large large companies and,
on smartphone and so one of the things that I think it’s fascinating is this idea that we are gravitating towards the super large product catalog shopping environment where we can go there and buy everything from you know I’ve been cleaner to diamond rings.

[32:36] And it’s just easier we got everything set up and we go there and up and down.
Counterbalance of this Boutique experience where I don’t have to go in and type in silver.

[32:56] Silver bracelets and get a thousand pages on my smartphone,
and that that’s something that I think it’s really interesting Dynamic for retailing going forward assist,
decapitation of the big retailers as we’ll watch them try to figure out how to make themselves more consumable on a smartphone.
And how to create this identity that people who have particular Styles will,
well enjoy I think that the small retailers have a little bit of a benefit there I think they also have a little bit of a benefit in that they’re forced out of it because I can’t afford it so they’re into Instagram and places like that where they have a chance to stand out,
and to get some of this holiday shopping headed their Direction.

[33:46] Interesting I want to unpack that just slightly your original point that hey one return offers a much better experience and then that becomes the new expectation and no one else’s Force to match it.
I totally agree with that that you know that that’s helpful to the oil industry that.
That open your hotel room with your smartphone experience I do have a pet pee with that one though and that’s it most of the hotels that support that still make you use your key to go up the elevator.

[34:12] Which defeats the purpose to me but I digress.
The mobile conversion rate being higher for small businesses is super fast in the I hadn’t really thought about that before and.
For sure you could be right like part of that can be the Paradox of choice that they that you know they have a much more curated assortment and you know so maybe some of this white catalog shopping as.

[34:35] Particularly arduous on a mobile phone and it’s hurting conversion a little bit when you’ve got.

[34:40] Amazon with 100 million skus in Walmart with 70 million skus I could totally see that I could.

[34:49] Totally see your other point that hey is way harder for the small site to get traffic and so the traffic they get is likely to have much higher purchase intent.
So you know that the organic search on Google is going to get one by that big.
Big site and it’s going to send you to a page that might not be totally relevant to the keyword you know and they’re the ones they’re going to buy ads that you click on and those sorts of things but the people that find those small sites like probably had to do some work to get to that site and that means they probably.
I knew they wanted something there to other sort of yeah I guess one other interesting premise.
But another interesting thing about all those small businesses is.
The 10 to rent their e-commerce platform form from a big provider right like so you know these days it’s most likely Shopify and those big provider do a pretty good job of.

[35:40] Upgrading all the best practices all the time so you have a pretty modern mobile checkout experience on Shopify and you know if your small business in your on that site like and,
and something like this Google payment API comes up like you just automatically get it very fast where is on the on the really big sites that have sort of custom-built themselves.
Interesting Lee they have a harder time adapt adopting all the new ux stuff.
As fast and sew-in in some small ways like there’s actually a user experience benefit too many of these smaller sites that have to Outsource their e-commerce platforms versus some of the the big site to do it themselves so I wonder if that has.
Has some small role in it.

Scot & Tamara:
[36:21] Yeah I think.
I agree I think that’s a really good point most people assume that just because they were small businesses they couldn’t have as good a mobile experience in our data is saying that that assumption is is,
past you know it’s way old and it is very well could be due to these types of platforms that provide small businesses with in particular small retailers with all the same mobile capacity,
as I access the big guys so now we’re now we’re talking about,
how is the world going to become more personalized in these Big B catalogs I don’t think they’re going to standby,
and let small business kind of go back and get an advantage and they certainly do have a lot of resources to deploy a trying to find ways to make themselves look,
it just seems like that’s going to be,
a trend that will watch you happen I’m not sure if it’ll work though because we’re now selling more and more to Millennials and even genze which I like to call Crafters cuz I don’t like,
Jen actions you think,
boring but anyway I eyes I believe that those folks just turned 22 and entered the workforce this year so we’re now sorry to Pivot our conversation on to be on Millennials into this newer generation which,
is even more.
Interested in doing things like looking at influencers on Instagram to decide where they want to buy Apparel in jewelry and.

[37:55] Sporting goods and things like that from.
Pretty cool too so that’s been a really good tour of the macro Trends what was talked about a couple that’s the city days and you put on some tidbits near but I want to make sure we drill in Autumn let’s start with Thanksgiving and Black Friday,
the last 3 or 4 years as retailers have kind of started moving.
Black Friday deals around a Thanksgiving we’ve seen time and acceleration of Thanksgiving in a Slowdown of Black Friday is that Zack.
Something you saw this year and any other insights on those two days would be interested.

[38:30] Yeah so we had predicted Thanksgiving day to be a 2.79 billion dollar day came in at 2.87 billion 18.3% growth rate,
so yes it grew a little faster however the Black Friday total we predict,
to be 5.0 1 billion it came in at 5.03 billion and so so we’re still a little bit higher on Black Friday then or predictive models,
did and add the 16.9% growth rate so as we talked about this floor,
the percentage growth rate on a much bigger number is harder to achieve.
Thanksgiving day is quote-unquote growing faster but it’s on a smaller base and a Black Friday just crossed the five billion dollar Mark which is pretty impressive we also had out of every single day up until.
Cyber Monday was more than a billion dollar day online last year two of the days fell below a billion dollars so we’re now at a point where.
Everything to billion dollar day we’re going to have 18 We Believe corn for model 18 to billion dollar day,
2 + $3 days,
in the season so so that’s that’s kind of what happened on Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day then we got into small business Saturday and Sunday where we were just a tiny bit above projection these were like 10% gross days and then we hit Cyber Monday we.

[40:04] Got to be 6.58 billion dollars came in at 6.5 $90 so I knew bottles working out pretty well but that’s a 16.8% so the biggest gross day was.
The biggest day which is in front of the 10-6 perspective it’s very impressive and we all saw it.
Cyber Monday was starting to become irrelevant and it turns out it’s more relevant than ever.

[40:30] Which was surprising but Thanksgiving 18% but your.
You’re saying Cyber Monday grow faster because it like added more dollars it’s not the price of the percentage.
In spending on Cyber Monday versus last year you said that start as soon probably earlier than that like.
When we started tracking on November 1st we we we saw Billion Dollar Days Every day since then.
And every day in the season will probably be a billion dollar day plus and 18 will be more than 2 billion.

[41:16] Just one day to point it at televisor we saw on Thanksgiving was Arpita mobile day we saw traffic at 81%.
So yeah I was always imagine people in the store first and they can’t find me to look for the house on their phone to check the real time in the three other stores or two.
And try to get that one TV there after where are the stud that the phones become almost burnt the doorbuster fun there.
I call it shopping under the table that’s when you bring your cell phone to the Thanksgiving table and you know he’s kind of looking down,
doing your thing hoping grandma doesn’t bust you for praying this phone to the table.
You know you saw it you see a spike in store location look up sore or ship from store or any of that kind of stuff.

[42:08] Bill with trillions of transactions in as trying to get data out three times during that day we didn’t look into that,
we look into those types of things in January when we do a wrap-up report and and that’s really usually time for the NRF.
Need a timing in January to go talk about how people are using mobile devices for retail more generally.

[42:33] And we will certainly be looking forward to hearing about that in January it’s interesting with all these days because I feel like we’re just making this transition from utility the convention right like that.
Thursday is obviously a high mobile shopping day because.
You’re not at home in front of your desk so you know even if you were someone that would predominantly shop on on your computer you just have fewer hours on your computer you’re more likely event at a family member’s house in your on your phone and then of course.

[43:05] Friday was was a prominent lea-ann in store day and Monday was predominantly in online day because in the early days.

[43:14] You didn’t have that good internet access or computer at home so you know when you got to work on Monday that was your first opportunity.

[43:20] To shop online like I feel like all of those those things are dramatically less true like you know we’re sort of ubiquitously online like we certainly have good internet access at home but then they turned into these.
The shopping conventions in and now you know retailers have as a completely separate promotional strategy for Cyber Monday than they did Black Friday and then you know they’re driving.

[43:46] More sales on Cyber Monday not because that the first time the customer had access to a computer but because they got a whole fresh list of offers and if they felt like they missed some of the Thanksgiving offers because they were with family like this is.
They’re sort of second bite at the Apple at the perceived good good pricing.

Scot & Tamara:
[44:04] Yeah I think I’m.
I haven’t I have another serious well I agree with you but there’s one other piece of data that surprised me on February and a because I just kept thinking to myself why is Monday such as you know why is it still so big and,
D we looked at the shopping patterns by hour and the peak shopping hours on Cyber Monday or 8 p.m. to midnight.
Not during the middle of the day when you’re at work,
so us so it’s really this last ditch effort to get the lowest prices it seems to drive Cyber Monday and I have a Siri that there are people.
Need to press the buy button is dependent on whether they think something will go out of stock or whether they think the price will go up and.
And there are many things that we’ve put into shopping carts that we maybe haven’t finished.
With yet we get to the last hours of Cyber Monday and realize we better finish our shopping because if we wait past midnight the prices will most certainly go up until I think that there’s a little bit of the.
The bucket of Unfinished shopping hits Monday.
Especially the last hours of Monday and that causes I reminded to grow as much as it is.

[45:29] That makes total sense.

Scot & Tamara:
[45:32] Cool in the flag gets ass pretty caught up I guess so we we had the you know we were recording this on Thursday probably not much of note during since Cyber Monday,
we look forward to your 18 greater than 2 billion dollar days so in your forecast,
you know we usually talk about green Monday which is that second Monday in December which is the 11th this year,
and then there’s this free shipping day which is like the last day to get free shipping outside of Amazon and yes I’d say on 12:15 and then as you kind of,
look at the ones cause they’re in and see what you think about those days yeah so.
You’re right those are in the to go over 2 billion dollar days Mondays traditionally are big shopping days because we got our shopping list done for the weekend we go in and and do our shopping on Mondays.
Is there a there are probably more bigger high-growth days coming after.

[46:38] Time. We used to see the big growth days because of the click and collect and the extended shopping season so for example Christmas Eve last year was like a 25% gross day.
Because of Click and Clack.
It’s really funny when you look at that.

[46:59] Pictures of the gifts we ordered for them.

Scot & Tamara:
[47:01] Yeah that’s right you when you look at the jewelry category pricing it’s like starts to really Peak right there at the very end because of you guys.
They got your number is nobody.

[47:21] Went one thing just a historical like anomaly always found interesting is that perceives that Cyber Monday was always the biggest shopping day of the year and I think in toll.
Five or six years ago that green Monday was actually a bigger online day then Cyber Monday so it it.

[47:39] It hasn’t always been that Cyber Monday. Just have fun.

Scot & Tamara:
[47:42] Well I actually think that retailer should change their date from Cyber Monday to the Monday around Veterans Day I get this whole season started faster and you know it it all it would take is for Amazon to decide that was the day,
and we couldn’t,
Cyber Monday could be a thing of the past like instantly because Prime day has only been around for two years came out of nothing and it was an almost 10%,
what does average gross Day last year for what we measured so I just think it’s interesting that,
they wait too long to have these load low price days when they could actually kick the season off faster and change Cyber Monday to something much earlier in November.

[48:25] Yeah so that’s interesting for two reasons right like in brick and mortar which is been selling stuff for much longer than we have digitally like.
We see a very similar phenomenon right like there’s.
There’s this race to open earlier and earlier you know because everyone wants to be like they know that the consumers in general are trending towards visiting fewer stores and so it’s it’s it becomes a bigger imperative.
That you be the first door they visit right in so you know retailers used to open on.
Early in the morning on Friday and now you know they’re opening earlier and earlier and now they start to open on Thursday and they’re opening earlier and earlier it’s surprising that we haven’t seen that same sort of.
Progression with with online promotions and then you mentioned Veterans Day like there’s already a word for shopping holiday on Veterans Day and it’s called.

[49:16] Single day right likes in in China 11 11 is when the ball gets rolling and that’s that super convenient right like there’s there’s been a lot of talk about.
You know when and if Alibaba wood would successfully make single dad thing here and I I’m not optimistic that they ever will.

[49:39] But but to your point like if it seems like there’s.
There’s enough permission in the market now for for a retailer and I’ll be an Amazon would be an obvious one to do it just sort of embrace.
Starting you know that that 11:11 time. As the starting of the official promotions in it and I guess to a limited extent we did see that this year right because then they start with 10 days of promotion.

[50:03] Running up to Black Friday.

Scot & Tamara:
[50:05] Yeah deep well everyone did but the problem was at the truly lowest prices were not.
We’re not then maybe on certain point products they were but in general they weren’t and I was watching free sample and email is watching discount coupons come from various sites that I track and I was kidding,
you know the progressively a couple percent more off as,
time past until I hit Cyber Monday when I got a 20% coupon when it’s only at 12% so I think I think that the problem is that.
Consumers recognize when the lowest price time is and it’s till then and until it truly is a different day our Behavior won’t change and you can promote,
as much as you want to but we’re we’re smart enough Shoppers to know when things are over the lowest price we watch our email boxes we know,
unless were the procrastinator convenience shop in which case we don’t really care so I just don’t understand why we haven’t had Cyber Monday you know leap in front of Black Friday yet.

[51:10] Givens why why give why give brick-and-mortar the The Edge to get the shopping started first doesn’t make sense to me.

[51:17] I agree it’s interesting like I mean there’s a bunch of reasons I would hope it it potentially doesn’t happen but but from a.

[51:27] Perma pure sale standpoint it like you know you would you would think there’s someone that would if for no other reason than to grab that first-mover advantage and grab a chunk of wallet share you know while I want Elsa standing flat-footed you you might almost expect that in.
Yeah you know what to see what happens next year.
But I know we’re running out of time sort of final question like is there anything in particular that you’d be looking out for or that you think might surprise us as the rest of the holiday season plays out like is there.
You know you know make a break stuff around the end of the shipping cutoff sir or you know inventory levels or anything like that that you think people have been keeping an eye on.

Scot & Tamara:
[52:10] No I don’t think so I think the the question that I’m starting to ask myself is how much more can the shippers handle without having a breakdown.
Especially because things have gotten so Consolidated and the amount of packages so we we also tracked that the total number of units.
In a package is increasing us old people are buying lower-priced things and more of them which is probably meeting even more boxes than ever and last year when I was.
It was I was giving Tuesday I was in.
Manhattan and I’m walking around and the streets were literally 7 8 feet high of boxes everywhere.
And I’m just kind of wondering last year we didn’t have a major snowstorm happen during the holiday season 2 to slow down and pay the shipping this year.
It doesn’t seem like there’s too much to worry about it hurts the weather yet but at some point,
those boxes are going to get stuck and one thing we saw a couple years ago we had a little bit of edge of a problem with delivery and.
People lost.
Samsung trust in online and then an impacted online the next year so these our area today.
We we can’t really.
4C but I’m certainly interested in tracking if you see anything major happen with shipping or with storms or something like that it could be could be interesting.

[53:46] Have it have it down stream up at impact.

[53:49] For sure that like certainly one that we look out for his weather like you know talking about going in we are talking a lot about the hurricane affecting you know what kind of effect that had on retailers in.
In big chunks of the country is there reporting or Q3 numbers.

[54:06] The the shipping thing is is super interesting / scary we we talk a lot about it on the podcast and of course there’s a lot of news you know that Amazon has.
As aggressively built their own Last Mile fulfillment capacity in a course now they own a free two planes and pay a lot of their own employees to deliver packages.
The the interesting thing there is no.

[54:31] People you know including us are kind of speculating like hey maybe they’ll become a carrier one day but I point out.
Amazon we need to be doing this even if they’d never want to sell capacity that just UPS and FedEx are adding 8% capacity every year and you just told us that we’re going to be up by like 14% this holiday and so if you do the math.
UPS isn’t growing fast enough to keep up with.
The growth in our industry inside the smart retailers are saying hey how am I going to keep growing at these rates even when.
Shipping capacity is increasingly becoming.
A constraining factor and so are you know I think I think the the shipping Logistics are getting increasingly vulnerable so that is certainly something.
I’ll be watching closely this holiday the other thing and I hope it doesn’t become a thing to every year there’s some external Factor you worry about like there been.
Labor issues with some of the ports that you have been scary in the past there been labor issues with the carriers that have been scary in the past last year we had a very novel election happening over Holiday Inn and you know I think.

Scot & Tamara:
[55:37] Yeah that did.

[55:38] We certainly saw that affect it until you know the one thing in that elk that could come to play this year is a lot of the consumer confidence in a lot of the spending is probably predicated on the fact that most of us are sending we’re getting a tax break.
And so if something happens with that like that you know it wouldn’t shock me to see that create some kind of.
Glitch in the in the spending patterns as well.

Scot & Tamara:
[56:05] Fascinating stuff we could talk about it for another hour but but yeah you will.

[56:14] Exactly and maybe we will all have fun but but it has a course happen again that we’ve used up out a lot of time and I know we have you in the middle of the day so I want to make sure we get you out on time,
but we certainly appreciated talking to you and thanks for getting us all updated on the holiday season.

Scot & Tamara:
[56:33] My pleasure as always thanks for having me on okay bye bye.

[56:38] Until next time happy commercing.



  1. […] will remember that Tamara first appeared on Episode 60 with Holiday Predictions for 2016, and Episode 109 for a recap of 2017 […]

  2. […] will remember that Tamara first appeared on Episode 60 with Holiday Predictions for 2016, and Episode 109 for a recap of 2017 […]

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