Are you ready for Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

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

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