Two Uber Trends From Cyber Week

Are you as happy as I am that the Cyber Week holiday extravaganza is behind us? Before it fades in the rear-view mirror, however, I'd like to call your attention to two major shifts that happened this year, and how email marketers can take advantage of them in 2015.

1. Mobile made its biggest gains yet in driving traffic and sales.  As I tracked shopping statistics on IBM's Experience One Benchmark Live service from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, several trends emerged:

Mobile drove more than half of all online traffic on "Cranberry Red Thursday." That's what I've dubbed Thanksgiving Day now that offline sales have joined shop-anytime online sales, along with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. 

Although Cyber Monday usually signals a desktop resurgence, mobile was still driving a can't-be-ignored 42.1% of traffic, up 30% from 2013.

Smartphones are closing the browse-to-buy gap with tablets. Although desktops and tablets still accounted for the majority of online sales, smartphones claimed a larger share of mobile sales this year.



Two examples:

  • Smartphones drove 36.3% of traffic and generated 14.4% of sales on Thanksgiving Day, while tablets accounted for 15.4% of traffic and 17.9% of sales.
  • By Cyber Monday, smartphones drove 28.5% of traffic and 9.1% of sales, while tablets accounted for 12.5% of traffic and 12.8% of sales.

Your opportunity: Although mobile is not yet the chief driver for online sales, you can no longer afford to ignore it, nor operate from a desktop-centric perspective.

These are the three imperatives for your digital marketing efforts:

  • Mobile-friendly email design, whether you choose responsive or device-agnostic design. Your email message must look and function correctly no matter what screen size or operating system your subscribers use to view them.
  • Mobile-friendly landing and product pages with added functions for shoppers who start their journey on one device but complete it on another, such as email reminders that link to pages browsed or products viewed.
  • A wholesale audit of all processes, from account registration and email opt-in to checkout, payment options, live customer support and other services to make sure they function correctly for all users regardless of device.

2. Branded shopping days are now A Thing. Black Friday has morphed into Cyber Week and spawned an ever-growing number of branded shopping days, from Cyber Monday to Giving Tuesday to Small Business Saturday and Green Monday. What's next? Fone Friday for wireless carriers, maybe? 

Your opportunity: These branded shopping days give email marketers more creative ways to package campaigns  -- not just another free-shipping or 20% discount offer – in formats that customers might be more likely to recognize in their inboxes.

You can piggyback onto the branded days that make sense for your company and your products. Just be careful to use distinctive subject lines that don't blend in with the other 300 "Black Friday" messages deluging your customers' inboxes at the same time.

Also, now that branded shopping days have become a familiar marketing concept, you can create your own branded days as tactics to capture customer interest and differentiate yourself from your inbox competition.

Consider a "Twelve Deals of Christmas" promotion, in which you spotlight one popular manufacturer or product with a unique deal on each of the 12 days the campaign runs.

Besides giving you fresh material for each email, this promotion blesses your efforts to increase frequency by creating high-anticipation emails with a specific cadence.

Another trend marketers should note for 2015: Competition for your subscribers' attention heated up earlier this year thanks to heavy promotions by retailers who opened stores on Thanksgiving Day – I mean, Cranberry Red Thursday – and marketers who turned Black Friday into Black November.

Watch for signs of shopper fatigue in email engagement, and counter it with "white space" emails: informative messages that give your subscribers a breather from nonstop promotion while keeping you visible in the inbox.

Until next time, take it up a notch!

2 comments about "Two Uber Trends From Cyber Week ".
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  1. Chad White from Litmus, December 11, 2014 at 1:57 p.m.

    The smartphone traffic vs. sales figures just demonstrate that there's a big uncaptured opportunity for retailers to be much more mobile-friendly. The smartphone traffic:sales numbers should look like the desktop numbers, which are pretty much equal to each other. The disparity on smartphones shows how much friction there is in the mobile user experience. A LOT.

  2. Loren McDonald from IBM Marketing Cloud, December 11, 2014 at 3:08 p.m.

    Agreed Chad ... which is why I think a lot of retailers will be better prepared next year. But it is also more complex than that with smartphones becoming as big as small tablets, etc. It is going to be interesting to see how the impact of things like ApplePay, PayPal, Amazon Payments have on smartphone conversion rates.

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