Amazon’s decision to delay Prime Day extravaganza to October could throw a wrench into retail marketers’ Black Friday/Cyber Monday campaigns, threatening to steer holiday spending away from the traditional Thanksgiving weekend shopping extravaganza.
The Prime Day challenge, plus surveys showing nearly half of U.S. consumers expect to spend less on holiday shopping and a significant share remain skittish about in-store shopping, mean marketers must engage customers more creatively to compete and win in this highly unusual and uncertain holiday season.
Many marketers are counting on a record-breaking holiday season this year to make up for lost time. Make a few core adjustments and adaptations to set your email program up for success during the peak of the holiday shopping season.
1. Anticipate the Prime Day challenge
Coresight research shows one-third of consumers will do their holiday shopping on Amazon Prime Day (which could land in early to mid-October and run as long as a week), while only 15% said they would shop on Black Friday instead.
It’s a problem because Prime Day shoppers might end up with less money to spend on Black Friday/Cyber Monday promotions or have finished most of their holiday spending.
Delivering a better customer experience with advanced personalization and real-time data can help marketers recapture shopper attention by the time Black Friday and Cyber Monday roll around six to eight weeks later. Adopt flexible tactics like:
2. Double down on loyalty
Loyalty programs are rich sources of data that marketers can use to keep members’ eyes focused on their stores and websites with some clever messaging strategies:
3. Stress convenience and safety of local store shopping
Coresight research also shows that consumers are once again avoiding public spaces like shopping centers and malls as COVID-19 cases rise again.
It’s too soon to predict what will happen when the holiday shopping quarter begins on Oct. 1. However, marketers can use email to explain how they keep customers and employees safe in their stores and what services they offer, like curbside pickup and BOPIS (buy online, pickup in store) for time-pressed or cautious customers.
Besides this content – which can also explain mask requirements, sanitation, and store layout changes to reduce time spent online – marketers can use dynamic content modules that contain late-breaking news, such as sudden changes in hours or open locations.
Adding a map or store address of the nearest open location can keep foot traffic going to the right stores and reduce shopper frustration.
4. Get on your customers’ calendars
Whether it’s an in-store VIP event or a major promotion online, an add-to-calendar function lets customers add the date to their phone or desktop calendars and then generates a reminder just before the event happens.
This is a big bonus because the reminder comes from the calendar—appearing on the desktop or the phone lock screen—and keeps the big day from getting blitzed by wall-to-wall Prime Day promotions in the inbox.
5. Keep email content up to date and accurate with real-time inventory data and moment of open technology
An October Prime Day might pull inventory as well as spending forward six to eight weeks. That, along with supply chain disruptions, can lead to shortages and out-of-stocks for Black Friday Week promotions.
Marketers can use dynamic content powered by real-time data to swap out-of-stock promotions for in-stock merchandise, even after sending the email. Moment of open technology refreshes email content automatically whenever the customer opens the message—another way marketers can reduce frustration and increase conversions.
There’s no doubt that 2020 is testing retailers like never before. But marketers who connect with their customers on deeper levels and offer them more than just a deep discount, who reduce barriers and frustration and build trust and reliability will be the ones who come out on top when the world rights itself again. Get actionable inspiration to shape your own email strategy for success through BFCM and beyond in the Liveclicker 2020 Holiday Lookbook.
With the right strategy and technology, email can drive unprecedented revenue in a very short amount of time.
That’s the happy holiday news that fashion retailer Torrid received following one very successful holiday email campaign. A data-driven strategy and the addition of real-time technology came together at just the right time to deliver the highest revenue hour in the company’s history.
If that sounds like a gift your brand could use this holiday season, see how Torrid outperformed its holiday email goals and adapt these lessons for your own campaigns.
Torrid delivers sophisticated email campaigns throughout the holiday season. But like many retailers it puts a special focus on the Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping period.
The company had ambitious goals and set specific targets related to increasing traffic (both to the site as well as its online store), driving incremental revenue, and achieving other aggressive goals for the holiday season.
We all know how big these shopping days are, but their growth rates—and the opportunity they represent—can still come as a surprise. In 2018, an estimated 164 million people were planning holiday shopping sometime during the five-day period from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday. Black Friday was the single busiest day, with 116 million people reporting that they planned to shop that day.
In 2018, Cyber Monday hit nearly $8B in total sales, making it the largest online shopping day in U.S. history, and topping even Black Friday ($6.2B) in terms of online sales. Both Black Friday and Cyber Monday demonstrated significant year-over-year growth (20% and 23.6%, respectively), leading many analysts and retailers to think that 2019 will be even bigger.
Torrid wanted to create an engaging new Black Friday/Cyber Monday email experience to achieve its goals of maximizing campaigns sales and overall revenues.
The retailer’s marketing team came up with an innovative approach: to build emails that displayed a countdown timer that counted down to the end of each one of the company’s special live (limited time) promotions.
Using the RealTime Email platform, Torrid designed highly personalized, extremely relevant content using customized messages and open-time data. When a specific promotion expired, the hero image disappeared, but it was replaced by a brief message telling the customer to visit the Torrid site to view the latest promotions and deals.
Torrid found that these new emails led to new levels of customer engagement and urgency, both of which increased sales—from the email promotion as well as the site—as well as total traffic. Most importantly, customers paid attention to the countdown timer and made their purchases before the promotion expired.
Swapping in dynamic content as offers changed over time enabled the brand to update its emails with the latest, most relevant messaging even after they were already sent and opened. This helped Torrid gain incremental revenue from campaigns sent days, even weeks, earlier.
Even expired promotions led to revenue spikes and new traffic to the retailer’s site, with 37% of opens and a 3.6% click-through rate occurring after the sale ended. An updated image and CTA after the sale had expired created a large and long tail of continued site visits and sales well into the holiday season.
Torrid’s Black Friday/Cyber Monday campaigns were a success by any conventional measure. Traffic numbers increased over company and industry benchmarks. Total clicks, total opens, click-through rates, and conversions surged.
But most important, Torrid hit the single highest revenue hour in company history and significantly exceeded its revenue goals. With Liveclicker, Torrid was able to achieve goals where they matter most: top-line revenue growth and a stronger bottom line.
For more details on Torrid’s holiday strategy and results, download the complete case study here.
The Torrid case study is just one example of how email marketing innovation can make this holiday season your most productive yet. For even more ways to drive greater revenue and overcome traditional holiday headaches, be sure to check out our ebook: Real-Time Solutions to 9 of Retail Marketers’ Biggest Holiday Email Headaches.
More than our gift to you, it’s your way to find other tips, tricks, and effective examples from leading retailers to reach customers throughout the holiday cycle!