When the shop doors opened on Black Friday 2016…

…in strolled ten sleepy early risers.

Last year, shops were subdued. This year they were nearly deserted.

The story in America was a little different.

While their Cyber Monday sales alone reached a record breaking $3.45 billion this season, people still flocked to the brick and mortar stores.

Yet, like thousands of others here in the UK, I was at work rather than out shopping.

I did, however, have access to a mobile phone.

And I wasn’t alone.

Online sales for Black Friday in the UK increased by 6.74% this year.

So why have cyber sales stuck, and high street sales haven’t?

It’s all about the data.

Every click of your mouse creates data.

Data builds a profile.

And the end result is that the retailer knows who we are, where we are, and most importantly:

What we want.

…Not necessarily need, but that’s another kettle of fish.

The journey had become personalised, and people like to feel special; that the world revolves around them.

We’re also more likely to buy online because we’ve got access to instantaneous product reviews and price comparisons.

We’re a savvy bunch, and we want the satisfaction of knowing we didn’t just get a good deal, but the best deal.

Like digital monkeys, we’ll jump from device to device, and from offline to online.

If the retailer can keep up and make that buying process seamless, enjoyable and efficient, then we’ll happily commit.

Win-win!

Unless the website crashes.

Then it’s lose-lose.

The fact of the matter is that many retailers are still struggling with availability of data.

Those that have it can’t always implement it.

Those that have it, and implement it, fall at the last hurdle when their website simply can’t cope.

More and more people are using online means to fulfil their shopping needs, which is great for online retailers.

…so long as they can handle the pressure.

With 75% of all smartphone and tablet users saying they’ll abandon a retailer’s mobile site or app if it runs even a little slow, according to Dynatrace’s poll, they can’t afford to drop the ball.

But this year website crashes have been few and far between.

Online sales are higher than ever and seasonal broken noses are fewer than ever.

And that’s reason enough to be Jolly this season.

(Photo by PA)