Tis the Season to Be Prepared

It is that time of year again – the holiday season is almost upon us – beginning with Black Friday and Cyber Monday! Are you prepared?

However, sales start far ahead of Black Friday (Thanksgiving or before), while Cyber Monday is a little more defined, as people get back to work.

Research indicates that social media drove .34% of online sales during Black Friday; on Cyber Monday, social drove .41% of online sales. This means four of every one-thousand transactions were attributable to social media. However, businesses should not solely rely on social media to drive holiday sales.

Mobile accounted for 24% of all e-commerce purchases on Black Friday and 18% of all e-commerce purchases on Cyber Monday.

This validates the growing amount of computing that takes place on mobile devices. Mobile optimization of e-commerce sites and emails should be an important consideration for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Of course, this should be the case in general. You need to make sure that a customer can purchase using their mobile device as easily as they could buy stuff on their PC.

Consumers were most likely to purchase in response to two things in 2012 — discounts and free shipping. All businesses need to consider promoting these and additional deals for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, on their website and through email marketing.

You should be accumulating a database of email addresses through your website, and you should definitely be sending email newsletter campaigns and offers to advertise Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals on a weekly, if not daily basis.

Online press releases are also a tool you can employ to increase your website’s exposure. You can send a press release for Black Friday and additional holiday promotions.

Never underestimate word of mouth marketing –asking people to visit your website for quality deals should not be undervalued. Having a website URL that can be emailed, posted on social sites, or otherwise communicated is a simple, but effective strategy.

The goal should be to use your holiday season activity to acquire consent and information you will transform into sales in 2014. The easier you make it for your customers and prospects to achieve their objectives, the more they will be loyal to your business. They will remember the positive experiences when things settle down after the holidays.

Do not forget to capture email addresses and permissions by offering a free gift, discount, or bonus for people to opt in to your email programs. The email obtained today can become future profit.

Use Black Friday and Cyber Monday to bring people back for more. Create triggered email messages that do more than provide status updates. Educating customers about your products and services improves their experience and your revenue.

Plan your follow-up, so you do not neglect your customers, which is paramount just like good service. Create customized follow-up website and email strategies targeting specific customers.

So here are some things to consider for this holiday season.

The mobile focus will intensify during the holidays. The National Retail Federation is forecasting mobile to drive e-commerce sales gains of between 13 and 15%. Last year, e-commerce sales increased 15.5%. They are predicting retail sales to gain only 3.9% as the United States economy continues to improve, however, online sales across-the-board, and mobile sales more specifically, should be very positive.

Did You Know? According to data published by the National Retail Federation, more than 35 million Americans visited retailers’ stores and websites during Thanksgiving, 2012 – up from 29 million in 2011.

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