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.
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:
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!