Black Friday spending was up from last year

The numbers are in – and there were two major takeaways from this year’s Black Friday sales.

First: eCommerce made a huge leap this year. Revenues for online sales exceeded one billion dollars for the first time on Friday alone.

The second takeaway: mobile is red hot – 24 percent of all black Friday shoppers visited a mobile site on their phone, an increase of more than 10 percent from just last year.

Sales on mobile devices accounted for more than 16 percent of all online sales, up from 9.8 percent last year, which points to customers’ increasing comfort with mobile shopping. Of all mobile devices, 14.2 percent of sales came from iPhone and Android smartphones, while 9.8 percent of all mobile purchases came from an iPad. Of purchases only from tablets, 88 percent were completed from an iPad.

So while lines were still wrapped around buildings for doorbuster deals and parking lots were still crowded, there was an increase in sales from those of us who prefer to do our shopping couchside as we recover from our Thanksgiving food coma.

Holiday promotions are starting earlier with some sales beginning Thanksgiving night, and customers are definitely getting into the spirit of online shopping. You could be losing them if your eCommerce site’s search isn’t optimized for a variety of web and mobile devices. Whether your customers are surfing from their laptop, on the couch browsing from a tablet or in a store comparing products on their smartphone, they’re looking for a shop and purchase experience that meets their expectations. If you can exceed those expectations, that’s even better.

There are a number of ways to do that by optimizing your site’s search features with highly-relevant search, refinements and features like Rich Auto Complete, which visually display relevant products.

Space is at a premium on mobile sites, which is why features like expandable navigation that stays hidden until users need to refine their searches, or auto complete, which matches a partial search term with possible suggestions, have such great impact. The fewer words your customers need to type or clicks they need to make to get to their product, the more likely they’ll be to revisit your site because of a good user experience.

Bad usability not only turns off customers from a purchase, it also erodes their perception of your brand. During the holidays, you’ll have thousands, possibly millions of customers navigating to your site – don’t be caught with a poorly-navigable site. Instead, invest in the rapidly-growing eCommerce space by optimizing the site search and merchandising features on your eCommerce and mobile platforms to take advantage of a steadily growing channel.

If your eCommerce site could use an update, you can learn more about the best features to improve your site by downloading our Big Book of Site Search Tips.

Plus, check out other interesting Black Friday results in this infographic.