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Black Friday's Gone Digital. Here’s What You Need To Know.

Posted by Chris Winter on Dec 2, 2014, 5:13:00 PM

Black Friday

Another year, another Black Friday (and Cyber Monday) have come and gone. It seems like every year the momentum leading up to the day following American Thanksgiving, where many retailers return to profitability (back in the black), has increased exponentially. More recently, the acceleration of digital marketing and commerce efforts have been a major influence in the increased sales across North America.

According to early reports from Forbes, 2014 U.S. online sales grew by 20.6% over Black Friday 2013 making it the biggest US e-commerce day ever. Early estimates from TechCrunch via Forrester indicated that US online retail sales reached upwards of $89 billion. Interestingly, the sales seem to have come at the expense of actual in-store retail purchases with the TechCrunch report indicating sales were down to 50.9 billion from 57.4 billion in 2013. It may be too early to say if online will beat brick and mortar in North American sales, but one thing is for sure, online is a heavy contender.

US Online Holiday Retail Sales

Is it any wonder? The Black Friday retail environment has historically cast a dark shadow over the shopping experience with all the stampeding and unruly customers fighting over rock bottom prices on flat-screens. It seems that more and more savvy consumers have chosen to forgo the line-ups to shop online and that’s great news for digital marketers.

In fact, if you’re an email marketer in the retail space it could be argued that this is the biggest day of the year for you. Released in 2013, an analysis of a Moveable Ink study indicated that Black Friday emails garnered 38% more opens than Cyber Monday and the majority of those opens (as high as 59%) were completed on smartphones. To complement the high mobile open rate, TechCrunch reported that Mobile sourced sales reach 21.8% of total online sales, an increase of nearly 43% from last year. If you’re a retailer, how do your stats compare? Did you see more traffic coming from mobile sources and did they convert to actual online sales? The key message here obviously being: with email marketing you can target your customers directly and forgo spending dollars on digital advertising; people are already looking for deals because they know what Black Friday is all about.

3 more tips to get ahead of the game next year:

  1. Be Mobile. The stats speak for themselves. If you’re in the retail space, chances are many of your readers are opening in the mobile environment, so ensure your email offer appears clear and concise to readers on popular devices like the iPhone. If that means using responsive or nicely scaling emails so be it. Here’s a guide on designing for mobile.
  2. Build Anticipation. Such a big event can be daunting for consumers. Not unlike Boxing Day, many of the best deals are hinged on the single day of offers so many consumers pick and choose the retailers they want to focus their narrow time window on. You can increase your customer’s knowledge of what you’re offering by creating an automated program that highlights and previews offers you want them to know about. Obviously, the more targeted the better so always try and include some sort of personalization; whether it be by gender or buying history, those tailored previews will go a long way in keeping your brand top of mind when Black Friday finally lands. 
  3. Create Urgency. You won’t be the only one trying to get a hold of your customer on Black Friday. Creating urgency in a creative way by adding features like Countdown ClocksDynamic Images that change over the course of the day, or even use a Scratch and Win offer to enable offer randomization – all of these can be done within email or engaged through one simple click. With more and more brands jumping on the Black Friday bandwagon, getting creative will be critical in 2015. We can help you with that, by the way – click here

countdown clocks


Topics: Black Friday, Retail Marketing, Email Marketing

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