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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.