online shopping

As online sales this holiday season are set to break records  — ComScore estimated an unprecedented $7 billion in online sales for Cyber Weekend alone — data analytics has revealed some hiccups in fulfillment as well as some important e-commerce best practices.

On the delivery front, analysts from supply-chain data firm Convey said in a report Tuesday that 1 in 25 “last-minute deliveries due to arrive by the 24th missed the Christmas Eve deadline” and that 1 in 5 consumers received late deliveries this season.

The firm noted that 11.5 percent of consumers “experienced a carrier-reported issue in transit” the week of Christmas, which compares to 10.6 percent average for the entire season. Convey also said that in the days leading up to Christmas, negative feedback from shoppers rose to 55.7 percent, which compares to 49.7 percent in the prior week. “This increase is likely correlated to the sharp increase in late deliveries,” Convey said, adding that delays topped the list of consumer complaints, which was followed by missing packages.

For carriers, their top friction points this holiday were “missed delivery attempts, delays, and address issues,” Convey said.

Rob Taylor, chief executive officer of Convey, said this season “has broken record after record with more shoppers going online to purchase their gifts than ever before. While this has led to a great season for sales, the surge in volume combined with winter weather left over 1 in 10 shoppers with a negative experience.”

“During the biggest shopping week of the year, the week before Christmas, we saw that number double as 1 out of every 5 shoppers received their packages late,” Taylor said. “Furthermore, 1 out of 25 last-minute deliveries scheduled to arrive on or before Christmas Eve didn’t make it to their destination in time.”

Taylor said that, given the millions of packages in transit, “this is actually a fairly impressive logistical feat for carriers,” and added that, “however, we know that 70 percent of shoppers won’t return after a single poor experience and 94 percent of shoppers will blame the retailer when things go wrong.”

In a separate report from “product intelligence” provider Edgecase, researchers at the firm said this holiday season “has revealed new trends in shopper behavior online including a rise in mobile engagement and filter engagement.”

Some of the insights garnered from the firm’s research includes that shoppers are “68 percent more likely to convert and earn retailers 84 percent more revenue per visit if they can filter by ‘size.’” The report also showed that higher-quality materials are important to consumers, and that “providing a ‘material’ filter option increases average purchase price by 29 percent.”

Other insights include that offering online shoppers “use-oriented product information” can up conversions. Data showed that “a shopper is 116 percent more likely to convert if they can shop for their favorite small appliance by ‘wattage.’” Similarly, when “color” is a search filter option, conversion rates rise 40 percent for nail polish.

And in a stunning piece of data, Edgecase said that 65 percent of retailers have a cart abandonment rate that is higher than 50 percent.