Cyber Monday and Black Friday both fall in November this year for the first time since 2012, which could create a touchdown for brands.
With digital holiday shopping expected to increase in 2015, email marketers should be aware that "November will be bigger than December this year,” says Jonathan Opdyke, CEO and cofounder of performance marketing platform Hooklogic.
In 2014, Black Friday sales increased by 26% online to an estimated $1.51 billion USD and Cyber Monday sales increased by 17% online to over $2.04 billion USD, according to comScore.
Although average spending per person is expected to be comparable to last year, almost half (46%) of consumers plan to do their holiday shopping online in 2015, according to a recent study by the National Retail Federation.
“I think it could go as high as 65% this holiday season,” says Opdyke. “This is the year mobile will take over, and it happened faster than anyone thought. Before screen size and usability were major issues, and companies were forcing desktop designs to fit to mobile. Better mobile platforms and apps have facilitated better mobile and online shopping rates.”
This is a prime opportunity for email marketers to promote their company’s products and take advantage of holiday-minded consumers who are eager to shop.
Opdyke recommends that email marketers reconsider their advertising budgets to ensure they can market through the New Year with a strong focus on November. He asserts that marketing in November is also critical from a branding perspective since “you can tell people what the hot gifts will be, and remind them that this is what they want.”
He also says that search engine optimization plays a role. “Ninety percent of purchases happen on the first page of a search result. SEO is incredibly important because people just don’t dig that hard. SEO goes up with marketing early so don’t wait to go live until Thanksgiving,” he says.
In addition to SEO and branding, email marketers should also be aware of product inventory and sales optimization. Marketers are more informed if they are reviewing what products are selling and tracking ROI.
“You’re not learning until you start marketing,” Opdyke says.
Although marketers should plan to spend more of their advertising budgets in November this year, Opdyke also recommends that marketers make sure to plan through New Year's. He says Dec. 26 through Dec. 31 is equivalent to two Black Fridays in terms of sales and revenue generated.
“Ironically, a lot of ad equivalencies are gone at this point. Marketers should plan to re-up their budget to help clear out leftover inventory,” he says.
Interestingly, Opdyke says that the holiday season is the one time of the year where personalization isn’t as critical because customer data is often about a consumer’s individual shopping preferences and not necessarily what they might be buying for friends and family.
The holidays are “kind of like the super bowl,” says Opdyke. “It’s the one time of the year that blasting works.”