The annual Black Friday
shopping extravaganza marked a big shift in shopping habits this year. Below are my takeaways and ways you can use this information in your 2016 email-marketing
1. Branded shopping days have evolved into "The Five Days of Digital Deals" beginning on Thanksgiving Day. However, actual shopper behavior shifted
significantly from Thursday to Monday.
Cyber Monday continued its reign as
the biggest online shopping day of the season in the United States, beating sales from Black Friday by 25.5%,
according to the IBM Watson Trend reports. Also, Black Friday outpaced Cranberry Red Thursday (Thanksgiving) by 52%.
Customers are more likely to be on their mobile devices on Thursday and Friday,
but the busiest online shopping days are also the days with the highest desktop share of both traffic and sales.
2. Smartphones surpassed tablets' share of sales
on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, signaling that it's time to rethink the classic mobile-versus-desktop data match-up.
The digital divide is real, but it's not
mobile versus desktop so much as smartphones versus tablets and desktops. Conversion rates are roughly 2 to 2.5 times higher on larger-screen devices, but smartphones drove more than three times the
traffic to websites.
Also, shoppers on larger devices are in "lean-back" shopping mode, giving tablet shoppers more in common with desktop users than "lean-forward,"
on-the-go users on smartphones.
3. Thanksgiving strengthened its role as the "table-setter" for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Thanksgiving Day online sales posted strong gains over 2014, but higher conversion rates on
Friday and Monday indicate that the holiday is primarily a research period for shoppers.
On that day, they're scanning their inboxes, browsing offers and researching online, but they won't get really serious about buying until they see what merchants offer up from
Friday through Monday.
Retailer behavior enabled this longer consideration time. Many retailers branded their email promotions for Black Friday or Cyber Monday but launched
them days before or extended them for days after.
4. Email behavior contributed to online conversion behavior.
who started their purchase journey on one device were more likely to convert on that same device.
As an example, mobile opens and clicks beat out desktop rates on Friday, but desktops scored higher rates on Monday.
Cyber Monday: Share of
email opens on desktops was 51.2%, compared with 48.9% on mobile. Share of click-throughs on desktops was 55.9% to 44.1% on mobile.
Black Friday: 57.6% of emails were opened on mobile devices, compared with 42.4% on desktop. Share of mobile email clicks rose
22.8% on Friday over 2014, while mobile opens grew only 2.7%. Clicks from mobile devices were 54.9% compared
with 45.1% on desktop.
How to Make the Device Shift Work For You
In light of the key lessons
learned so far in this holiday shopping season, here are some approaches to consider:
- Smartphone, rather than mobile, strategy.
Being mobile-friendly is no longer good enough. Optimize email and web experiences for the smaller screens of smartphones.
- Seamless conversion across devices. Add
"email my cart" or "save for later" options that allow customers to break off a session on one device and then pick it up on another.
- Remarketing and resends. Given high
traffic but low conversion rates on smartphones, embrace the power of resending messages and site and cart remarketing.
- Social and mobile campaigns. Now is the time to test
social retargeting ads and integrated SMS and push messaging. If your customers are reading emails on mobile devices, but not converting, test driving them to your mobile app or reengaging them in
What changes are you making in your marketing programs to adapt to the growth in smartphone-based shopping?