Archive | Social Marketing RSS feed for this section

108 Days Until Black Friday: Everybody Waits for a 100 day countdown. Are you everybody? — Black Friday 2015 Marketing Tips

11 Aug

No need to panic but Black Friday is right around the corner. And as the good little marketers, executives and decision makers that I know you are, I know you’ve put a ton of energy and effort into your holiday planning and you are probably feeling pretty good about it. You have some promotions and special offers that are sure to excite, your social strategy is primed and ready to start conversations with the faithful, and IT is ready to handle the crush.

Time to feel good?  Of course not, there is more to do! Let’s talk numbers:

Highlights from Black Friday 2014:

2014 Black Friday online sales were up 9.5% over 2013, peaking at 8:55 a.m. PST.

>>> Pump those special offers via social media to less peak times to maximize revenue throughout the day and minimize website performance issues.

 

  • Historic Mobile Milestone Spurs Online Shopping: Thanksgiving Day mobile traffic accounted for 52.1 percent of all online traffic – the first time mobile devices have outpaced their PC counterparts for online browsing. Black Friday mobile traffic reached 49.6 percent of all online traffic, an increase of 25 percent over last year. Black Friday mobile sales accounted for 27.9 percent of total online sales, up 28.2 percent over 2013.

>>> If your website isn’t mobile friendly, shame on you. Mobile is the wave of the future (and if you attend any conferences, it has been for the last ten years…sorry omni-channel you are so-ooo 2000). But with Google promising to penalize websites that aren’t mobile friendly and using it as a ranking factor in search, there really isn’t any excuse.

 

 

  • Thanksgiving Eats Into Black Friday Sales: Thanksgiving Day online sales increased 14.3 percent over 2013, with Black Friday up 9.5 percent year-over-year. Average order value on Thanksgiving was $125.25, down 1.8 percent over 2013; Black Friday was $129.37, down 4.4 percent. This trend may indicate that shoppers are becoming more comfortable and digitally savvy in how they use online coupons and rebates to secure the best bargains. Black Friday online sales were 63.5 percent higher than Thanksgiving Day. This is a decrease from 2013, however, when it was 70 percent higher as Thanksgiving online sales continue to eat into Black Friday shopping.

>>>After turkey, people sit down on the couch and plan out their Black Friday shopping. And then they start shopping when they realize they really don’t want to line up at 4am to get a $5 toaster. So plan on reaching out a little bit earlier this year and consider having a separate strategy for turkey day itself.

  • Top Five U.S. Cities for Online Shopping: New York City claimed the top spot for Black Friday online shopping followed by Washington, D.C.; Atlanta, GA; Los Angeles, CA; and Chicago, IL. New York City shoppers spent on average $121.91 per order on Black Friday.

>>> Do you have geo targeted PPC, social and SEO in place?  Consumers are looking for product, model #, features etc…and looking to get it locally. Think about combining structured data coded onto your site with price, reviews, location, etc to stay visible during the holiday season.

 

  • Smartphones Browse, Tablets Buy:As the new digital shopping companion for many consumers, smartphones drove 34.7 percent of all Black Friday online traffic, more than double that of tablets, which accounted for 14.6 percent of all traffic. Yet, when it comes to mobile sales, tablets continue to win the shopping war – driving 16 percent of online sales compared to 11.8 percent for smartphones, a difference of 35.5 percent. Tablet users also averaged $126.50 per order compared to $107.55 for smartphone users, a difference of 17.6 percent.
  • iOS vs. Android:iOS once again led the way in mobile shopping this holiday season, outpacing Android across three key metrics on Black Friday:
    • Average Order Value:iOS users averaged $121.86 per order compared to $98.07 for Android users, a difference 24.3 percent.
    • Online Traffic:iOS traffic accounted for 34.2 percent of total online traffic, more than double that of Android, which drove 15 percent of all online traffic.
    • Online Sales:iOS sales accounted for 21.9 percent of total online sales, nearly quadruple that of Android, which drove 5.8 percent of all online sales.

>>> Your website should be optimized for the device being used by your visitors. Responsive or adaptive design (your choice, don’t get me in that mess) means better user experience and better conversions. Don’t let those visitors bounce!

 

  • The Desktop is Not Dead: When consumers did choose to use their PC or desktop, they spent more with an average order value of $135.33 compared to $116.02 for mobile shoppers, a difference of 16.6 percent.

>>> When the real big dollar items need to be purchased, and multiple sites need to be reviewed and compared, the desktop wins.  If you are selling big ticket items, or products that are routinely reviewed, neglect the desktop user at your peril!

 

  • Social Influence – Facebook vs. Pinterest:As marketers continue to rely on social channels to drive brand loyalty and sales, IBM analyzed trends across two leading sites on Black Friday – Facebook and Pinterest. Facebook referrals drove an average of $109.94 per order compared to $100.24 for Pinterest, a difference of nearly 10 percent. Facebook referrals converted online sales at more than twice the rate of Pinterest

>>>Loyal customers also serve as brand advocates, engaging with your brand online and speaking well of it offline. These customers drive 33% more sales and 18% more traffic than regular customers so engage them regularly with quality content tailored to them.

  • Less Frequent, More Targeted Email Promos*:Retailers sent an average of 5.3 emails on Black Friday 2014, decreasing more than 11 percent over the same period in 2013, as retail marketers continue to send more targeted — and less frequent — messages to shoppers. Open and click-through rates – when someone opens an email and clicks at least one link – were 12.9 percent and 2.4 percent, on Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day, compared to 15.4 percent and 2.8 percent respectively, last year.

>>>For the love of all that is decent and good, stop cramming emails down your customers’ throats. One great email tailored to one customer/segment is far more productive than mass emailings indiscriminately spraying the intertubes with your product juice.

Perform some analysis on your customers. Think about the ones who have spent the most or bought most frequently, or simply those who have been long-time supporters of your company. Send them a targeted, segmented email explaining that they are VIPs to your company and that you are doing something special just for them.

 

The four hottest retail categories this past holiday season:

  1. Department Stores: Black Friday online sales grew by 22.9 percent over 2013, with mobile percentage of sales increasing by 25.7 percent. Average order value was $143.16, a decrease of 2.5 percent year-over-year.
  2. Health and Beauty: Black Friday online sales grew by 56.9 percent over 2013, with mobile percentage of sales increasing by 31.8 percent. Average order value was $72.78, an increase of 9.8 percent year-over-year.
  3. Home Goods: Black Friday online sales grew by 43.2 percent over 2013, with mobile percentage of sales increasing by 3.8 percent. Average order value was $238.46, an increase of 6.8 percent year-over-year.
  4. Apparel: Black Friday online sales grew by 22.6 percent over 2013, with mobile percentage of sales increasing by 25.2 percent. Average order value was $114.96, a decrease of 6.8 percent year-over-year.

>>> My prediction for this holiday’s hottest categories? Pet rocks and tea cozies!black-friday

Deja Vu: Adweek says “The Hispanic Market Is Set to Soar” Didn’t We Hear This in 1999? 2002?2004?

2 Nov

From Adweek:

“Hispanic Americans continue to grow in number at a rate four times that of the general population, with the 2010 Census expected to show their total rising to nearly 50 million, from 38 million in 2000. And second-generation Hispanics are fast becoming the driver of the group’s growth, with 88 percent of Hispanic children born in America, versus 61 percent of adults.

As a result, agencies that market to this segment are finding themselves in a strong position, armed with the skills and techniques to take on general assignments from big-name clients. Meanwhile, in a tight business environment, general agencies are starting to compete for work previously reserved for specialist shops.

Is an already competitive agency landscape set to become even more so?

“In the 2010 Census, we’ll see confirmation of a shift from Hispanic consumers who are first generation, where Spanish is the dominant language, to second-generation, bilingual, bicultural consumers. It totally transforms how we market,” says Cynthia McFarlane, chair of Publicis Groupe’s Conill, a Latino agency. “These are consumers who are as influenced by American culture as the country of origin of their families. There is a new American culture forming, and these consumers are having a tremendous impact on mainstream America.””

 

Far be it from me to accuse anyone in marketing to pander and/or fawn over a supposed ‘hot segment’…but treating the Hispanic population as a homogeneous bloc that thinks, and responds the same way seems overly simplistic. No other ethnic groups is treated this way…people are many, many things…someone isn’t simply Hispanic. They are a mother of 2 of Hispanic descent who enjoys rock climbing, travel to national parks, golf and is active in local politics.

Call me crazy but speaking to her interests and needs would probably be more effective than simply identifying her as a Latina and yelling a precanned message.

Yahoo 2.0

28 Apr

Yahoo Inc is looking to revamp itself and improve its position in th emarketplace, and not so co-incidentally insulate itself from a $44 billion MSN buyout offer. Yahoo plans on leveraging its content and portal so that users can manageinformation about themselves in a single place and share it 2.0 style.

“We are not building another social network,” Chief Technology Officer Ari Balogh told more than 1,000 attendees at the Web 2.0 Expo conference in San Francisco on Thursday. “We are building social into everything we do.”

 “Yahoo Open Strategy” due out later this year, is Yahoo’s plan on positioning themselves in light of Myspace and Facebooktremendous growth. Yahoo’s plan would give users simple privacy controls to limit what data users reveal about themselves.

“We are going to unify all profiles throughout Yahoo,” said Balogh, whose appointment as Yahoo’s CTO was announced on January 29, a day before Microsoft first proposed its $31 per share cash and stock offer to merge with Yahoo.

Balogh estimated there are more than 10 billion latent social connections that exist between Yahoo’s 500 million monthly users in the form of e-mail addresses, instant message buddy lists, address books and other shared connections.

Consumers More Likely to Return to Sites That Include Community Aspects

17 Apr

From: http://www.marketingcharts.com/direct/consumers-return-to-online-shopping-sites-that-embrace-web-20-4265/?camp=newsletter&src=mc&type=textlink

With consumers continuing to spend briskly online, and social websites aggregating ever-larger numbers of participants, the twain – online shopping and social networking – may finally be meeting, according to a nationwide survey from Guidance and Synovate.

In the new survey, more than 60% of respondents report being drawn to online retailers that employ Web 2.0 tools and techniques.

The Guidance/Synovate eNation study of some 1,000 online consumers, conducted in March, asked: “When thinking about shopping online, what is most likely to make you return to a given shopping website?”

Among the findings:

guidance-synovate-online-shopping-why-return-to-website.jpg

  • 35% of respondents say they’re most likely to return to a shopping website if it makes recommendations on products or services for sale.
  • 26% say they want “a unique experience each time” they shop.
  • 18% say they’re more likely to return “if the site solicits their feedback” on its products and services.
  • 16% say “a welcome when they arrive” at the site is the factor most likely to make them return
  • 6% say  they’re most likely to return “if the site makes them feel part of a community” with other shoppers/site visitors.

Drilling Down: Social Shopping Online

Other key findings:

  • Fully 41% of those age 18-24, the prime demographic for the social web, say they’re most likely to return to a site that makes recommendations. Only 29% of those 55-64 say so.
  • Women are far more likely to be influenced by a welcome greeting – with 20% saying it’s the feature most likely to get them to return, compared with 12% of men.
  • The older you are, the more you want to give feedback: The upper three age groups were more likely than the bottom three to say that a site that solicits their feedback is most likely to make them return.
  • A few groups went against the overall trend by not selecting “recommendations” as their No. 1 choice: non-whites (they chose both “unique experience” and “feedback” ahead of recommendations), those with post-grad education (”unique experience” was slightly higher), and those with incomes under $25K (first choice was the “welcome”).
  • There’s a wide gap between the lowest-income bracket and all others:
    • Only 26% of those who earn less than $25,000 per year chose “recommendations,” 10 percentage points below all other income categories.
    • Respondents in the lowest income bracket were far more likely to prefer a “welcome” – 27% said it was the feature most likely to make them return, at least 13 percentage points higher than the other income categories (14% of those earning $25K-$50K and those earning $75K+, and 12% of those earning $50K-$75K agreed). 

“The economy is fragile and the competition for the consumer dollar is fierce, but as these findings make abundantly clear, online commerce is now a two-way street – and retailers need to embrace that reality, ” said Jason Meugniot, Guidance president and CEO.

“Online consumers and merchants are in dialogue as never before, and consumers are counting on each other for insights in making purchase decisions. Recommendations have become the new currency of online commerce, along with their corollary, the opportunity to give feedback to the e-Commerce site.”

Interesting Ecomm Data

8 Apr

Blatantly stolen from my boss’ blog and edited for my own nefarious purposes.  Just so much good data that is so hard to find normally…WARNING: some ChannelAdvisor horn tooting to follow.

“We spend a lot of time at ChannelAdvisor following the various datapoints and thoughts around e-commerce and today Forrester research (Sucharita Mulpuru is the analyst) came out with a joint report/survey with the great folks at Shop.org (I/we are an active member FYI).

The headlines of the report are good news for internet retailers:

  • Forrester sees e-commerce growing at 17% y/y in the US (This is good because comscore is starting to talk about 14% and maybe lower).  I’m an optimist and think that in early 09 the pundits will update the data to be more like 20%
  • This puts e-commerce at $208B for 2008, up from $174 in 07
  • e-commerce represents 7% of retail.
  • search engine marketing (what I call paid-search) drove 35% of sales and is still the top channel for retailers
  • 65% of retailers are experimenting with social networks
  • Forrester is predicting that growth will be driven by the computer, CE, auto and apparel categories.
  • Retailers spend $.50/click on average for paid-search and see $8.47 in incremental revenue (that’s a weird metric)

I downloaded the report and what’s neat is that shop.org/Forrester are finally seeing and reporting on the multi e-commerce channel trends we’ve been talking about for years.  For example, they have this figure from the survey section that covers the top channels for retailers (note these would be larger retailers, primarily with brick-and-mortar operations as well I would assume):

Shop_org2

Another interesting datapoint they have from the survey is they asked retailers for a variety of e-commerce channels what the cost per order for the channel is and the average selling price.  I’ve found that most retailers like to look at channel costs either as a ROAS (return on ad spend) or an ‘Effective Take Rate’ (ETR), which is more of a cost of sales kind of model which helps for margin-planning/forecasting.  So I took the Forrester data and splatted it into a spreadsheet to calculate the ETR.  I also added eBay and Amazon as marketplaces with their ETR’s and ordered the channels from lowest ETR to highest and this is the result: (Amazon/eBay are highlighted to indicate I added them)

Shop_org

The only datapoint on here that looks unusual to me is the CSE data, usually we would see this more in-line with paid-search so I’m going to go look at our data and see if there’s anything noteworthy there. ( editor’s note: while that percent does seem high to me, I would expect it to be in the 20-22% range)  Not to toot our own horn here, but my guess is the retailers surveyed aren’t watching their CSE programs very closely or using ShoppingAdvisor to optimize their CSE channel.

If you’d like to learn more, there are several news items out today covering the report:

Online Sales to Grow 17% in ’08

8 Apr

 AP Report

Online spending is expected to rise a robust 17 percent this year, despite a sluggish economy that has bruised many brick-based retailers, according to an annual survey to be released Tuesday.

Retail sales online, excluding travel purchases, are set to grow to $204 billion in 2008 from $174.5 billion last year, fueled by sales of apparel, computers and autos, according to a survey conducted by Internet analysis firm Forrester Research for Shop.org, the online arm of the National Retail Federation trade group. That projection is below the 21 percent increase seen in the prior year, but industry officials attribute it to the maturing of the business, not the sluggish economy.

E-commerce “is clearly the bright spot in retailing,” said Scott Silverman, executive director of Shop.org.

The upbeat report contrasts with the outlook for many traditional retailers, which have been paring down store growth and closing shops as they struggle with consumers who don’t feel like spending amid higher gas and food costs, a housing slump and a weaker job market. The exceptions are discounters and wholesale clubs, as shoppers turn to less expensive stores.

On Thursday, the nation’s retailers are expected to report at best flat sales growth in March, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. Same-stores sales are sales at stores opened at least a year and are considered a key indicator of a retailer’s health.

Online retailers are not immune to the same economic challenges, but what has spearheaded e-commerce growth is a “tale of two shoppers that visit the Web for different reasons,” according to Sucharita Mulpuru, a Forrester Research analyst and lead author of the report.

There are the price-sensitive shoppers who appear to be buying more items online as they look for better prices. And then there are the more affluent customers, who have been increasing their online spending because of the convenience and vast offerings.

But those shoppers looking for a bevy of free online shipping deals may not find them as plentiful as they did last year. The study, which surveyed 125 online retailers in February and March, showed that merchants are less interested in using such promotions this year. While 85 percent of online retailers said they used some shipping incentive in the past year, just 35 percent said they would focus more on these types of deals in 2008.

Instead, retailers said they plan to invest more in advertising on social networking sites like myspace.com and facebook.com, according to the survey.

That may not be the best strategy, according to Mulpuru.

“It’s great for brand-building and for buzz, but it’s still unproven how social networking drives direct revenue” for retailers, said Mulpuru.

Catalyst Conference

25 Feb

Warning corporate shill at work =).  

If you’ve ever wanted to pick the brain (and play golf at Pinehurst) of some of the smartest and most connected people in the industry like:

 Chris Shimojima, Vice President, Global Electronic Commerce of Nike

Stephanie Tilenius, General Manager, eBay North America

Mary Anne Gillespie, Vice President of Sales of PayPal

John Mracek, Vice President and General Manager, Distributed Commerce of Shopping.com 

Vince Monical, Director of Commerce and Analytics of Google  

Sebastian Gunningham, Senior Vice President, Merchant Services of  Amazon.com      

Ben Ling, Director of Platform of Facebook

If the health and direction of e-comm is your thing, then stop by to network and get the opinions of Deutsche Bank, Bears Sterns, Goldman Sachs and Stifel Nicholaus.

Then I’d encourage you to attend ChannelAdvisor’s  Catalyst conference in Pinehurst, April 1-3. It’s only $349 and that includes the conference itself as well as golf, transpo to and from the airport, drinks and meals, parties, etc..  And unlike other company sponsored events….ChannelAdvisor doesn’t pitch its own products…no really! I wouldn’t lie to you.

If you email me and let me know you are coming, I’ll even take you out for an additional round of golf!

%d bloggers like this: