With their Halloween decorations stuffed back in the closets, shoppers are turning their sights to the next big American shopping holidays: Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
These celebrations of commerce are woven into the American identity. The National Retail Federation reported that holiday sales during November and December 2017 increased by 6 percent year-over-year, the largest increase since 2010. Similarly, eMarketer reported that retail e-commerce grew by 18 percent in 2017.
While analysts predict more modest sales growth for the 2018 holiday season compared to last year (15.3 percent increase in retail e-commerce, and total retail holiday sales growth of 3.8 percent), email marketers still can’t afford to overlook this highly clickable time of year.
My company, Yes Marketing, has some insights into messaging and timing for Black Friday- and Cyber Monday-themed emails this holiday season.
Black Friday: Click-through deals replacing in-store steals
Black Friday has held the mantle of busiest shopping day of the year for more than a decade. E-commerce is a huge source of the holiday’s consistent growth; in 2017, American shoppers spent a record $5 billion online in 24 hours on Black Friday. This formerly brick-and-mortar shopping day has the potential to ride its digital hot streak and be your favorite day of holiday email campaigns.
The early bird opens the email. While many shoppers still associate Black Friday with the best discounts, a relatively new trend has emerged: “pre-Black Friday” sales, featuring limited quantities of discounted items. In 2016, Black Friday emails sent on the Tuesday before only led to a 2.5 percent conversion rate, while in 2017, they resulted in a whopping 9 percent conversion rate. Shoppers are becoming ever-more anxious to spend.
Email marketers looking to capitalize on these sales should emphasize the short timeframe of these early savings and the special value associated (in other words, don’t offer the same discount on Black Friday or Cyber Monday). Leverage fun promotions that generate excitement while stealing some of the holiday allure from the big days to come. Many shoppers have a set amount of money in mind to spend for the holidays, so why not get a piece of that pie earlier?
Free shipping = more conversions. Black Friday messages without an offer in the subject line had the highest open rate in 2017 (15.1 percent), and when it came to the best combined open-to-conversion rate, free shipping wins the day. Themed messages promoting a free shipping offer generated an impressive 14.9 percent open rate and a 14.7 percent conversion rate. By eliminating shipping costs, retailers also curb consumers’ desire to leave the house and buy an item at a brick-and-mortar store.
Cyber Monday: Putting a bow on your holiday week
While Black Friday’s digital sales have been increasing YOY aggressively, Cyber Monday remains the champion of the holiday week as the largest online shopping day of the season. The hard part for marketers is ensuring they get attention. Open rates for 2017 Cyber Monday emails were almost 2 percentage points …read more
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