Global events from the last two years have changed the way customers shop and how businesses interact with them. 2021’s Cyber Week made this even more apparent with record-breaking numbers of digital interactions.
After analyzing messaging volumes across our platform on Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year, we were happy to find more brands moving towards a digital-first approach – that is omnichannel and on their customers’ preferred channels.
Here we share highlights from this year’s Cyber Week and how consumers chose to interact with businesses.
Brands set up hybrid shopping experiences
Last year’s lockdowns had brands racing to adapt to online environments and provide digital-only shopping alternatives. Now, with reduced measures, they were able to set up their first truly hybrid shopping experiences.
The goal was to provide highly personalized, safe, and stress-free experiences that transcend from online to offline – and vice-versa.
We worked with thousands of companies across industries to implement timely, rich, relevant messaging with their customers. As a result, they’ve managed to drive new sales, proactively address customer needs, safeguard transactions, and expedite customer queries.
Based on the number of interactions handled on our platform, we’d say they did a pretty good job.
Digital interactions reach record highs
This year, we witnessed a massive increase in the number of customer interactions that took place over mobile during Cyber Week 2021 – with 4.25 billion interactions being handled on our platform.
Black Friday highlights
The most notable increase is the 2.28 billion transactions that took place on Black Friday alone. That’s a 71% increase from last year on a global scale, and a 62% increase compared to an average Friday in November 2021.
We further noticed that compared to 2020, this year’s Black Friday interactions versus an average Friday in November were up by 22% – meaning business-to-consumer messaging played a larger role in the overall shopping experience.
The top five channels favored by customers were:
- SMS (51% increase from last year)
- MMS (87% increase from last year)
- Mobile App Messaging (86% increase from last year)
- RCS (44% increase from last year)
- Voice and Video (26% increase from last year)
Cyber Monday highlights
We saw equally impressive results for Cyber Monday with 1.97 billion interactions taking place. This is a 93% increase from last year in customer interactions on a global level and a 37% increase compared to an average Monday in November 2021.
Compared to 2020, Cyber Monday messaging had a 10% higher impact this year.
The top five channels favored by customers were:
- SMS (24% increase from last year)
- MMS (171% increase from last year)
- Voice and Video (43% increase from last year)
- Chat Apps (14% increase from last year)
- RCS (11% increase from last year)
Black Friday becomes a global event
What used to be a North American shopping season has become a worldwide extravaganza, with brands across the globe making the most of the opportunity and having the ability to cater to audiences beyond borders.
Although North America remains a leader, with a 136% increase in 2021 interactions compared to 2020 and 128% more interactions compared to an average Friday in November 2021 – other regions are catching up.
In fact, we saw Black Friday 2021 messaging volumes increase by up to 102% compared to 2020 with India experiencing the largest jump, followed by Eurasia (63%), Europe (39%), and Africa (23%).
We also noticed Black Friday volume increases compared to an average Friday in November 2021 with MENA experiencing the highest increase at 212%, followed by India (55%), Europe (54%), and Eurasia (41%).
Brands had billions of interactions
Among the 4.25 billion interactions that took place, we noticed a pattern among the key channels used.
SMS remains the top channel used on our platform on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
However, spikes in MMS follow close behind making it the second most-used channel. Since customers already use their mobile phones to either start or complete their purchasing journey, grabbing their attention with eye-catching images and videos is an easy way to lead them back to their cart.
Mobile App Messaging gained popularity as well, highlighting the importance of timely communication with geo-targeting as well as app and web push notifications.
Meanwhile, increases in RCS (Rich Communication Services) show that customers want engaging content from their favorite brands. Adding images, videos, and GIFs to your messages makes them more enticing – leading to increased click-through rates and essentially more sales.
It’s also no surprise that voice, video, and chat app interactions increased as customers continue to crave human interaction and always-on support.
Knowing how customers want to interact with brands is key to developing a winning communication strategy. Use these learnings from our customers’ Black Friday and Cyber Monday interactions to develop yours in 2022:
- Omnichannel communication is no longer a nice-to-have but rather a must-have. Enabling your customers and agents to continue the conversation from one channel to another is key to delivering connected experiences that build trust and foster relationships.
- Customers are gravitating towards rich, interactive, two-way communication with brands. The way you develop your communication strategy starts with what you’re already doing right in this space and taking the next few steps forward.
- Timely communication is equally important as engaging communication. Leverage geo-targeting and push notifications to gain visibility and stay top of mind during high volume periods.
Ready to upgrade your customer communication in 2022?