Archive for November, 2009

Are you ready for Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

The holiday shopping season begins the day after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday, when retailers open their doors, as early as 4 a.m., to welcome bargain shoppers with special deals and one-day specials.

The Internet has its own complement.  It is known as Cyber Monday — the Monday after Thanksgiving when work resumes and e-commerce experiences a boom, as employees begin their holiday shopping on company time., the online retailers’ trade group that coined the term, is projecting 85 million Americans will shop online either at home or at work this Cyber Monday.  This is an increase from last year’s mark of 72 million.

On average, the past three holiday seasons recorded annual spending growth of 23 percent.  Last year, online retailers posted $731 million in sales on Cyber Monday, according to comScore.

Cyber Monday is a real shopping holiday now.  Retailers are highly motivated to move sales earlier in the holiday season and Cyber Monday gives them another occasion relatively early in the season to promote sales through email marketing.

Review some of the Experian marketing statistics regarding Black Friday and Cyber Monday:

  • It is expected email volumes will increase on these days. Considering the volume of email sent on Black Friday increased 64% from 2007 to 2008, and 40% from 2007 to 2008, quite as large an increase is not expected from 2008 to 2009.  However, the economy stands to play a large role in just how much email gets sent on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
  • Two years ago, online purchases peaked during the traditional shopping week ending Monday, November 26th (Cyber Monday) when fully a quarter of all adults bought something online.  Online purchases in 2007 remained high for several weeks after Thanksgiving before falling to 17% during the week of Christmas. Compare those statistics with the ones from last year (which had a late Thanksgiving) when online purchasing commenced even sooner – several weeks prior to Black Friday.  In fact, between the weeks ending November 3rd and November 10th in 2008, the share of adults who made an online purchase more than doubled from 11% to 23%.  For the most part, online purchase levels remained at or near this level for the duration of the 2008 shopping season until dropping back down to 16% during the week of Christmas.
  • With Thanksgiving falling late in the calendar again this year, expect consumers to exhibit similar purchasing patterns as they did last year. In a typical week of the year, approximately 15% of all American adults make a purchase online.  However, during the five weeks prior to last Christmas, an average of 23% of adults made an online purchase.

You need to remember when sending out your email blasts to promote your holiday offerings certain guidelines:

1. Offer Free Shipping and Other Shipping Discounts
2. Have Your Holiday Email Schedule Mapped Out
3. Provide a Holiday Guide
4. Use Gift Cards
5. Coordinate Online Marketing Campaigns

According to MSN business there are additional preparations you should be making throughout this holiday season:

  • Update your email signature to include holiday greetings and offers, along with a link to your holiday web page.
  • Create and send additional holiday emails sharing greetings, helpful holiday gift or planning ideas, and special offers.
  • Update holiday offers throughout your social networks, and encourage customers and fans to do the same.
  • Be sure inventory, staff and promotions are ready for Black Friday when holiday shopping kicks off in brick-and-mortar outlets and Cyber Monday when online shopping goes into high gear.
  • Send holiday emails and gifts, each one personalized so employees, customers, and friends know you value them.
  • Send an email blast announcing the last day you can ship orders to arrive before Christmas.

*Did You Know — According to 75% of consumers surveyed consulted the retailer’s website to research products and special offers before heading out to shop offline on Black Friday and 61% also consulted emails they received from retailers

Is Your Online Business prepared for Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving in the United States is historically one of the busiest retail shopping days of the year. Retailers will open early and usually offer significant discounts. The origin of the name, Black Friday comes from the retailer’s shift to prosperity during the holiday season. Back in the day when accounting records were kept by hand, red ink indicated financial loss while black ink indicated profit.

Data indicates people also are excited about Cyber Monday. The term Cyber Monday refers to the Monday immediately following Black Friday (November 30, this year). It symbolizes a busy day for online retailers. The premise was that consumers would return to their offices after the Black Friday weekend, making purchases online they were not able to complete in stores.

The term Cyber Monday was coined by

According to comScore, Black Friday of ‘2008 was not nearly as profitable as anticipated. This report indicated that e-commerce sales were $534 million, but that was only a single percent increase over the previous year 2007. What many online retailers actually walked away with on Black Friday in 2008 was a big letdown.

In December 2008, comScore released its Cyber Monday data. The report suggested online retail sales for Cyber Monday in 2008 were up 15 percent over 2007. It should be noted – this data also showed the average dollars spent per buyer declined by five percent, due to the attractive prices offered by a number of large online retailers.

Will Black Friday and Cyber Monday experience a big boom in 2009?

The National Retail Federation (NRF) released its 2009 holiday forecast. In the report, NRF projected that we would see holiday retail sales decline by one percent this year to $437.6 billion. This data is based on expectations for the full months of November and December, a total of 55 shopping days.
What does all the Black Friday and Cyber Monday buzz mean for small online retail stores? You should expect more website traffic than usual during this period in November and possibly more sales when compared to any other days in November.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday mean your holiday selling season is here!

It makes perfect sense for small online retailers to start their holiday shopping promotions – this should include email marketing promotions. This will help you kick off the holiday shopping season for your customers and let you take advantage of the increased shopping traffic in November and December.

According to a survey conducted by ISACA, the IT governance association, 63% of people of all ages say they shop online during the holiday season from their workplace computers.

CareerBuilder says employers lost 580 million in productivity on Cyber Monday in 2008. They estimate 43% of those planning to shop from work on Cyber Monday will spend at least one hour doing so, and 23% said they shop two hours or more from their workplace computer.

This is why Black Friday and Cyber Monday is essential to your business even if you do not see direct sales from it. It is a chance for you to get your brand recognized; highlight special holiday deals; mention lower-priced items when possible; stress the ease and convenience online shopping offers; and most importantly remain in the mind of your shoppers.
For retailers, it seems, the internet continues to be an incredibly powerful way to market and sell their products. Companies have come to understand that, even for those individuals who prefer to purchase their gifts in stores, the internet can still be a great tool. Online retailers generally offer information along with high-resolution images of their products so that consumers can research them and make purchasing decisions before heading out to shop.

*Did You Know – According to comScore in 2007, on Black Friday consumers spent $430 million, on Cyber Monday they spent $610 million.

When is the most effective time to send your emails?

Friday, November 13th, 2009
Good for you – you have decided to embrace the necessity for email marketing. It is a wise choice.

There is an old adage that says – ‘Timing is Everything’ – this is true in life as well as email marketing.

So when is the most effective time to send?

Our research, here at Emercury, shows the best days are Tuesdays, Wednesdays,and Thursdays. The reason these days are better (for businesses) is simple – during Saturdays and Sundays your audience is not in the office. We suggest, on Mondays, you allow existing and prospective customers to get caught up after their weekend. Monday tends to be a day when there is a multitude of internal work and organizing to complete. In other words – leave them alone.
What about Fridays? People are generally in a good mood. They are more likely to reciprocate a quality solicitation – right? Wrong! They are closing out the week, and their minds can be elsewhere. Too often a project commencing on a Friday can be overlooked Monday.

I want to reiterate, so you follow this formula — the days to send to your subscribers are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Since these days are mid-week, your subscribers should be in the ideal state of mind to want to read, and hopefully convert on your newsletter. Monday nobody really has the time, or wants to take the time, to read a sales email. Likewise, Fridays are often filled with wrapping up work and procrastination. Do not send your message on Friday, unless you do not want people to read it. Statistically, Friday is one of the worst days possible to send an email blast.

Additional days to steer clear of are holidays and primary vacation months.

The time of day you send your email blast is not as important, but it definitely must be considered. Research when your readers are online. You do not have to presume – go to your logs. Discover when your website receives the most traffic. You can find out when the people on your list joined. If you find a pattern within an approximate time range, then select that time to send your emails.

We suggest, to our Emercury clients as a general rule of thumb, to send your email blast between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. You want your message to reach your audience when they are most accessible. Early in the morning and late in the afternoon are not those times. People will be more frenzied in the morning – retrieving their coffee, making a quick call, cleaning out their inbox – you do not want your message to get lost in that shuffle.

Remember; do not place all your email marketing strategic thought in these areas. Let your subscribers have a say with their purchases. Tracking and testing is the only way to know when your audience is the most willing to respond to your offer. As a business owner, what you need to prioritize is finding your niche market for your email list; this allows you to target your sales messages. When you have defined you market, you can have a targeted business email list with contacts who welcome your offers and the priceless information you send them. The more you refine your niche market, the easier it is for you to furnish your audience with their specific needs and interests. People do not respond to impersonal emails. They react when you relate to them and provide a solution.

*Did You KnowSMTP stands for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, which controls email relay on the Internet. All online mailing services use SMTP, and all email is SMTP mail. Delivering email and e-marketing since 1996, is the world’s oldest independent SMTP service provider.