Data is power, and with today’s uncertain economic landscape, data is more important than ever. Now that Black Friday/Cyber Monday is behind us, we have access to trends and performance metrics that can help evolve and drive business holiday strategies. In our recent Holiday 2020 Checkpoint virtual event, we explored trends and results we observed from the cyber period and discussed tips and tricks for ending the year off strong.
Holiday promotional strategies, which include crafting eye-catching creative and landing pages, was a main theme of discussion for our panel of experts. Joining our CEO Joe Yakuel was Melissa Spencer Barnes, CMO at Trade Coffee, Helen Nightingale, VP of Ecommerce at Draper James, Katie Reed, VP of Performance Media at Casper, and Kelly Goldston, VP of Growth Marketing and eCommerce at Spanx.
The event kicked off by examining data around the cyber period. This year, holiday messaging and extended promotions began a lot earlier, making Black Friday/Cyber Monday less of a novelty. Despite the early shopping deals, retailers still grew revenue by +20% YoY on Black Friday/Cyber Monday, indicating that the cyber event is still a massive draw to customers.
In order to stay on top of trends, Goldston believes that “looking at how customers are behaving in real-time and adjusting to it” is vital. If your team has already put a strategy in place, be willing to change and adjust it as needed, and be flexible.
When faced with the challenge of a longer promotional period, Nightingale stressed the importance of “staying true to the brand, but also differentiating between upcoming promotions.” In order to entice customers who didn’t bite when items were 30% off, Draper James put together gifting product kits, allowing the company to offer bundled items that were housed on one product page, versus selling separately. Utilizing this doorbuster strategy allowed Draper James to differentiate promotions while still offering customers a great deal.
Allowing people more nimble ways to gift during an incredibly stressful time of year is key. Digital brands are a godsend for last-minute shoppers. Barnes emphasized that Trade Coffee was already planning budgets accordingly as historically, a bulk of their subscription sales come the week before Christmas from people buying last-minute gifts.
When it comes to creative assets, making them simple and eye-catching is the tried and true formula for success. Text overlays with “30% OFF,” for example, are very important during the holiday season because the simplicity of the design cuts through all the noise of the incessant holiday promotional activity.
Goldston is of the opinion that brands can go one of two ways: either be the loudest of the boldest or go in a completely different direction. “We had a lot of success using media press quotes that make a really clear statement about why consumers should like this product and to remind them why they’re considering us in the first place,” shared Goldston.
Another thing to consider is whether it’s easy and efficient to navigate landing pages for gifts. Previously, it took customers eight clicks to purchase a gift from Trade Coffee. This year, they launched a whole new gifting experience that shaved down purchasing a gift to only two clicks, resulting in a 60% increase in conversion rates.
Even if your creative team is itching to flex their artistic muscles, your customers’ behaviors should guide the experience. Draper James had built out an editorial feel for their gift guide, creating shoppable content. Despite efforts to create a more interesting shopping page, their customers preferred the natural shopping grid.
Delivery companies have been massively overloaded since the start of COVID, and that pressure has only accelerated for Black Friday/Cyber Monday and now, the holidays. Our experts believed that customers were becoming increasingly cognisant of shipping delays and were shifting their behavior and shopping earlier to allow for any problems with delivery.
The shipping delays have forced brands to reconsider how they approach shipping cut-off dates without alienating any late shoppers. Casper had announced a strict cut-off date that was decided on by their operations team, who are in close contact with UPS, and will observe to see if the cut-off date changes customer behavior and brings in a sense of urgency. On the other hand, SPANX believes the customer will be aware of shipping delays without any push from their end.
The event ended with some quick wins for attendees to take home. Among them included focusing on post-purchase customer service in order to maintain customer LTV. Most holiday buyers only purchase once, but impeccable customer service and a great shopping experience is more likely to make those customers repeat, raising their LTV. Gift cards are another great gifting strategy. Despite being underutilized, they are a great way to work around shipping cut-offs, as brands can still sell gift cards after the cut-offs have passed.
Charlotte Norman is a content writer passionate about all things marketing. She received an MFA from NYU Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute’s Literary Reportage program and is currently based in New York City.