As many others have noted, Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) was kind of insane (in a good way) this year. Adobe reports $2.87 billion on Thanksgiving Day, $5.03 billion on Black Friday, and a whopping $6.59 billion on Cyber Monday.
And this year, sales actually started as early as the Monday before Thanksgiving, turning BFCM into a true Cyber Week. Here are some quick stats that I found most compelling:
- Digital Commerce 360 reports, “mobile devices accounted for more than 61% of traffic to retail sites Black Friday morning and more than 46% of sales.”
- Next time a client tries to tell me that no one wants to shop on mobile, I’m going to remind them of this metric.
- According to Adweek, retailers sent nearly three billion emails on Black Friday alone, along with 82 million SMS push notifications.
- Shopify reports a 4.29% average conversion rate for email during BFCM, with the next best channel coming in at 3.04%.
- Retention Science states, “48% of the entire U.S. online apparel retail market was discounted by an average of 45% off. This is compared to 44% of the market with an average of 36% off last year.
- This year, I personally noticed better, deeper discounts offered by luxury brands. Matt Benson, MatchesFashion, The Outnet, and SAKS OFF 5th all offered up to 50% off over BFCM.
Looking specifically at SD’s clients, I noticed some general trends worth noting. Here are a few of the biggest takeaways:
- Thanksgiving was the biggest YoY growth day this year. Last year, many clients waited until Black Friday to kick off deals; this year, sales started as early as November 20 and ran as late as December 5. Only a small handful of our clients opted to wait until Black Friday to kick off sales in 2017.
- This year, I saw more specific deals – i.e., discounts on designated Cyber Week categories and tiered promotions. Clients that offered a flat % off deal with no strings attached saw nearly 50% more YoY growth than clients that didn’t.
- Triggered emails saw average conversion rates in the double digits over BFCM. Email in general (including transactional, marketing, and triggered emails) was the best performing channel for most clients.
Digital campaigns didn’t wow me this year, but there were a few that stood out:
- For the third year in a row, REI pushed customers to #optoutside (and give them great, user generated content) on the biggest shopping day of the year. They closed brick and mortar locations and encouraged customers to shop sales before and after BF.
- Brands like Everlane and Catbird donated proceeds from sales to charity. Everlane had a stated donation goal for the day and their website included a countdown meter:
- Sephora’s model is also genius. Every year, they mark many items down to $10 or $15 and release a preview of the sale beforehand to create hype. Free shipping at Sephora starts at $50, so they ensure users spend at least that much (and likely significantly more). This isn’t Sephora’s first time at the rodeo.
- Respond to customers on social media! If someone complains, reach out to them directly and on your social feed and do your best to rectify the situation. BFCM likely drives many new users to your site and it’s important to retain them instead of making an enemy for life. Over BFCM, I saw many brands that just couldn’t keep up with feedback on social. Consider hiring a community manager or freelancer to help with the workload over the holidays.
- Offer additional incentives to top customers. If you have these customers segmented out in your email list, offer them an additional discount, free gift, or store gift card as a thank you (and an incentive to buy more). Several brands used to do this (I’m looking at you, Madewell) but didn’t this year.
- Increase your email sign-up discount or offer additional promos (like free gifts or gift cards with purchase) during BFCM for users that opt-in to marketing emails for the first time. I can’t think of a single brand that offered this type of incentive and it feels like a real miss. As we previously stated, email had the highest average conversion rate over all channels for our clients and building that list throughout the year is absolutely crucial to long-term success.
- Create more Instagram stories. If you’re still struggling with the algorithm change, this is the best way to increase engagement and ensure that your posts don’t get buried. If you have a verified account, utilize stories to tout specific deals with links. Oh, and please don’t just post static product images. Be creative! If your content sucks, it doesn’t matter how great the deal is… users aren’t going to click.
If BCFM wasn’t great for you this year and you’re looking to make some changes in 2018, get in touch with us. For more marketing ideas and ecommerce strategy tips, check out these previous blog posts:
Written by: Lindsay Pugh, Digital Strategist