Brands are Anticipating the Biggest Week in E-Commerce: American Thanksgiving, Black Friday & Cyber Monday
Black Friday marks the unofficial beginning of the Christmas season, a yearly shopping event when brands offer impressive deals in order to maintain an edge over the competition. The day has primarily been U.S. specific activity, but Canadians are slowly catching up to Americans when it comes to Black Friday spending, with 22% saying they’ll partake compared to 39% per cent of Americans.
How your brand considers timing, strategy & consumer behaviour could make or break your selling success and achieving a strong ROI for Q4.
Sales Curves for Black Friday & Cyber Monday
Brands need to understand how to target potential customers at the right time. According to a report from YesMail, brands have been engaging with their audience at the wrong times.
Key Learning: aim to target your audience the days leading up to the weekend versus the day of.
Based on data from last season, the Sunday before Black Friday was ideal for brands to engage with shoppers on Facebook, the Monday and Tuesday saw a successful response for email, and the day before Black Friday proved to be the best for Twitter engagement.
Customers will wait to shop until the deals begin, but brands should make an impression beforehand. Ads should go up weeks in advance with messaging and creative that clearly matches the deal-seeking, festive audience. Once the weekend kicks in, you should be focusing on optimizing your campaigns – by increasing your budget during high traffic times identified through data optimization and target your audience to reach the consumers in shopping-mode.
When Mobile Matters
On Black Friday, shoppers head into congested retail stores in search of deals. However, knowing the lines and short timeframe to secure the best price, they head in with research in hand.
Data suggests 83% of smartphone users engage in shopping activities before, during or after visiting a store. Similarly, NRF suggests that six out of seven consumers do research online before ever buying in-store.
When Shoppers Use Mobile Research
Customers want stores to be easy to find. Business should enable location and call out extensions for a seamless customer journey in Search. Upon arrival, they will start comparing prices online, so discounts and deals should be clearly promoted in store as well. After making a purchase, encourage your customers to go online to give the product a great review.
Brands are learning the vital role of Landing Pages in the customer journey, but still only 48% of marketers build a new landing page for each marketing campaign. Build momentum with evolving landing pages that keep customers focused on one specific call to action. Give customers time to make a purchase decision by linking them to your landing page weeks before and retargeting them as a reminder. Landing pages that sell specific products and show the deals associated with each will be most successful if separated and uniquely targeted to consumers.
Adobe predicts social will only drive two percent of visits to retail websites during the holidays, with revenue per Facebook visit averaging $1.24, Pinterest $0.74 and Twitter $0.60. This is surprising, and seems more like advertisers are not targeting their customers well. Considering new data from this year, the average user logs 1.72 hours per day on social, which represents about 28% of all online activity. Shoppers have the second best chance of finding good deal on social media.
Taking advantage of new shopping options means users can make purchases without leaving their social platform. This creates a seamless approach to find deals and directly respond, even faster than being directed to a landing page or website.
Last year email marketing drove over 27% of holiday sales, and between a 70% and 94% increase in the effectiveness of marketing tactics when employing personalization for their audience. In an Adestra study, 45% of emails are opened on mobile, 36% on desktop and 19% in a webmail client. Emails will be most successful if they’re adaptable to all viewing platforms, enticing with visuals and clearly link to specific deals. One of the worst days to connect with shoppers through e-mail is on Black Friday, yet last year that was the when one-third of promotional e-mails were sent. Follow up on the day of, but don’t count on that message to make an impact.
Don’t count on Loyalty
From Thanksgiving Day to Black Friday, online sales grew by 63.5%. Ironically, sales from smartphones and tablets were 18% higher on Black Friday than on Cyber Monday in 2014. So this year expect many Black Friday shoppers to stay home and look for deals online. However, the best day to push for online sales is still Cyber Monday, as it pulled in the highest total revenue last year, on record as the biggest online shopping day in US history.
Traffic will not directly correlate with sales. More people may search with mobile, but they are not all buying. Tablets accounted for 12.5% of online sales on Cyber Monday, compared with 9.1% for smartphones and 78% on Desktop. Average order values are also higher on larger screens— averaging at $121.49 on tablets, $99.61 on smartphones and $128.24 on desktop. This behaviour means that desktop is still king of sales. Ad dollars focused on desktop ads will find the highest ROI for most brands.
The divide between Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the holiday weekend has already begun to blur. The idea that Black Friday is for in-store sales and Cyber Monday is online only is already outdated. Within the next couple of years we expect to see the end of these specific day distinctions. Instead, we will see a long holiday shopping weekend that kicks off on Thanksgiving (U.S.) with sales dispersed throughout the week.
Shoppers will continue to shift towards online shopping. Desktop and mobile devices will gain traffic as more consumers enjoy the flexibility of shopping at home and avoiding hectic lines. Some businesses have already followed along; Staples and Costco, will not be open on Thanksgiving Day, but will be taking online orders.
With the right preparation, Canadian brands should expect the biggest Black Friday and Cyber Monday yet.