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Banking glitch dents Cyber Monday conversion

By Retail Technology | Tuesday December 3 2013

Busiest online shopping day in the run up to Christmas sees online traffic and sales peak but RBS and NatWest outage pushes conversion south

Retailers are heading for a Merry 'click-mas' after a good start to the online festive shopping season, with strong Cyber Monday traffic and sales reported by a number of e-commerce technology providers. 

Insight from personalisation software provider Peerius, which works with the UK’s largest retailers including BHS, French Connection,, Ted Baker, The White Company, Topshop and Whittard of Chelsea, found online traffic was up 30% on last year. 

Mobile traffic grew by 55% and the numbers of recommendations the provider served increased by a whopping 84%. While consumers remained consistent on budget as the average order value (AOV) stayed the same at £43, conversion rates were up slightly on last year. 

However Peerius highlighted that retailers could have seen a much higher increase if it was not for the RBS and NatWest banking glitch, which saw conversions plummet by 5% compared to Black Friday this year. 

Black Friday competes with Cyber Monday 

Affiliate marketing network, Affiliate Window, reported Cyber Monday delivered the anticipated hike in sales revenue and commissions. 

But it also highlighted the phenomenal success of 'Black Friday' at the end of last week, which meant it stole the headlines as it pulled neck and neck with what has historically been largest pre-Christmas shopping day in the UK retail calendar. 

Black Friday is a relatively new addition to the UK retail landscape, aping the US sales frenzy that occurs on the day after Thanksgiving. 

Combined, Black Friday and Cyber Monday saw sales leap by a third across the 1,500 retailers on the Affiliate Window network. Boosted by a significant 22% increase in the amount the average shopper spent, commissions also spiked by nearly 40%. Sales registered a more modest 10% rise. 

“With the initial figures for Black Friday and Cyber Monday now tallied they show how consumers spread their shopping across both days,” said Kevin Edwards, strategy director at Affiliate Window. “There is no doubt there were significantly more offers and deals available on Friday this year that contributed to the huge spike we saw." 

Positive momentum builds overall 

Edwards said it was also worth considering that Black Friday coincided with pay day for many and that the fallout from RBS’s payment outage across its banking network was yet to be fully understood. 

Both large and small retailers running exclusive or compelling promotions across retail publishers such as and Quidco have also seen significant uplift. One major They reported one High Street retailer witnessed a near 300% increase in commission payouts and 250% increase in revenue on Black Friday, but experienced slight dips on Monday. 

While all of the providers said there is still much number crunching to be done, the picture for retailers is positive at this early stage. But the data also shows how the monolith of Cyber Monday may also now be a thing of the past. 

Last year retailers saw another peak on Monday 10 December 2012 (one week after Cyber Monday) and, in line with other Christmas forecasts, Peerius said its expects this year to follow the same trend, especially due to the recent banking issues which saw millions of shoppers unable to complete online credit or debit card transactions yesterday.

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