Get the most out of big days in the holiday buying season!
The most important thing you can do heading into the 2014 holiday buying season is to understand who your customers are and begin setting up both segmented promotional emails, and personalized automated emails based on purchase and behavioral triggers.
Do you know why? Indeed, you know that Black Friday traditionally was the day that retailers went into the black with their profits, when all year they might have been in the red.
And you also know that shoppers can exhibit downright crazy behavior that does not define their buying trends for the rest of the year – and you want to capitalize on their open minds and open wallets.
But can you really bring order to a chaotic buying frenzy and extract more dollars from them when you know they will be bombarded by promotions everywhere they turn? Absolutely, and, truth is, if you don’t you will be missing out on big conversions.
Of the 10 most active shopping days, Black Friday no longer tops the list. Now, Cyber Monday is king.
In fact, three of the biggest shopping days are Mondays. This is because there’s been a shift in the way people are shopping in general, and especially for high-dollar items like electronics. It’s not uncommon for customers to go to the show room, look at the products they want up close, and then shop online for the best deals.
Understanding Your Customers
What data points do you need to know to better understand your customers’ holiday buying, how do you gain this knowledge, and most importantly, how do you put it into play to achieve profitable results? Here are some places to start:
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Over the past two years, not only has Cyber Tuesday has joined Cyber Monday in out performing Black Friday. With the explosion of smart phones, tablets, and laptops, customers are opting to stay home and wait for the deals to come to them via the internet. In fact, in 2012 Cyber Tuesday revenue (from first time and repeat customers) increased 67%. As the November shopping season gets longer and customers become increasingly tech savvy, make sure your holiday email marketing strategy includes promotions, emails, and deals for Cyber Tuesday as well.
How should email cadence change in the lead up? Currently, some retailers are sending daily, others weekly, and still others less frequent than that. The frequency of your sends will differ based on the loyalty of your customers.
Big brands, such as Banana Republic, can afford to send promotions daily, or even multiple times a day, even in the off-season, because their subscriber list is very attracted to the brand and tend to be loyal shoppers. These customers appreciate the offers and will repeatedly take advantage of them when they are ready to shop, and they continue to shop often enough to receive attractive promotions regularly.
However, other retailers that don’t yet have such size and broad brand loyalty can suffer from over-sending.
They need to first ask themselves, “How often do we have new, helpful content to share?” New products, new offers, helpful educational and “how-to” content is a good excuse to send an email.
Secondly, they will need to ask “How relevant is the communication?” Data allows you to send emails that are very relevant, and thus support higher frequency of sending.
For example, the individual product recommendation might go out one day, followed the next day by an educational email about a product recently purchased, or a best customer reward. Automated emails, even if they increase frequency in a given week, are far less likely to cause unsubscribes than increasing frequency of promotional emails.
When we’re talking about Cyber Monday, promotions are the most relevant type of email to send. In 2012, 93% of retailers sent at least one email on Cyber Monday, and many of them sent more.
Sending 4-6 emails per week would not work any other time of year, but for the right group that you’ve diligently targeted – especially those who are loyal – Cyber Monday emails will serve to engage those shoppers while they are hot. You can cover all the hours of the day with flash sales, specials that only last for the first hour, new products released only on a given day, etc. without risking the fatal unsubscribe.