Monthly Archives: June 2017

As shopping online consistently grows more popular

In fact, some companies are even starting their online deals early. Wal-Mart’s “Cyber Week” begins on Black Friday. You can get Best Buy’s crazy good deals now

 As shopping online consistently grows more popular, Cyber Monday (or Cyber Week) is sure to be another success this year. So sit back, relax and get all of your discounted items online.

Check out these online discounts you don’t want to miss.

Echo smart speaker

Amazon’s Echo smart speaker is rumored to drop to $139.99, and its Echo Dot speaker accessory to only $39.99.

Kindle e-reader

There’s much talk over price drops for Amazon’s popular e-readers. The Kindle Paperwhite will allegedly be available for $99.99 on Nov. 28.

Dell laptop

According to a leaked Cyber Monday ad, Dell is planning on some major price cuts on products for the online shopping frenzy. From 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., score a Dell XPS 8900 laptop for only $699.99 (typically $1,049.99).

Xbox and Playstation

Dell will offer an XBox One bundle for only $249.99. For those who prefer Sony’s system, the PS4 Slim 500 GB Uncharted 4 Bundle will be on sale for $279.99.

Related: The Best Black Friday Deals of 2016

Samsung Smart TV

The Samsung 65-inch Curved 4K Smart HDTV, which is usually priced at $2,399.99, will be available on Dell.com for only $1,099.99.

Tablets

You can save big on tablets this year. Best Buy will offer $200 off the gold Galaxy TabPro S and $75 off all 128GB iPad models. The store has started cyber deals early this year to beat the rush — so many of these promotions are available on its website now.

EBay will offer the Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch 256GB Wi-Fi (all colors) for $649.99 — it’s priced at $999 on Apple’s website.

Noise-canceling headphones

Amazon may offer $100 off Philips Fidelio Noise-canceling headphones. Best Buy will offer Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear Headphones II for $99.99.

Drones

DJI Phantom drones will be offered at a 40 percent discount on eBay. DJI’s Phantom 3 Professional drone, which is typically $1,408, will be available for $749 on eBay.

Related: 4 Ways to Fit Holiday Shopping Into Your Hectic Schedule

Apple computers

Likely due to Apple’s recent release of new Macbooks, eBay will offer Apple’s typical $999 Macbook Air for $786.99. Also on eBay, the $2,149 Apple iMac will be available for $1,899.99.

Deals Early as Black Friday Loses Focus

Black Friday, as the day after Thanksgiving is called, has traditionally started the holiday shopping season in the United States and was the day when retailers turned a profit, thus going from “being in the red” to “in the black.”

Many retailers have started opening their stores on Thanksgiving evening to boost customer traffic and sales.

 But the number of Thanksgiving weekend shoppers fell by nearly a third to 102 million in 2015, from 147 million in 2012, according to the National Retail Federation. Moreover, early holiday promotions and online shopping hurt in-store spending by more than 6 percent last year, it said.

U.S. retailers, however, have redoubled efforts this year to boost sales with familiar tactics but greater intensity. Wal-Mart has already said it will increase inventory by more than half this year and make deals typically reserved for Black Friday available online early Thanksgiving morning.

Retail pricing and data analytics firm Market Track said an analysis of 15 top U.S. brick-and-mortar retailers and their Black Friday circular announcements online showed they were about three days earlier than last year.

“They are all trying to beat each other to the punch and starting their promotions earlier and earlier every year,” said Traci Gregorski, senior vice president, marketing at Market Track.

Last year, discounts on popular products deepened by 30 to 40 percent from Black Friday prices as Christmas got closer, according to Market Track data.

Mark Cohen, a professor at Columbia Business School and the former chief executive of Sears Canada, said the urgency related to Black Friday has greatly diminished.

“Consumers know great deals and discounts are available throughout the year, and prices during the holiday season will only get better if they wait,” he said.

Deals have been available for several days already on websites of retailers like Target Corp., Macy’s Inc., Kohl’s Corp., Home Depot Stores Inc. and Lowe’s Cos. Inc.

Ecommerce giant Amazon.com Inc. joined with a first of its kind month-long Black Friday promotion.

Some brands are getting in on the action by offering steep discounts that reduce the appeal of waiting for Black Friday. Handbag maker Kate Spade is already offering 75 percent off some items, and off-price chain Saks Off Fifth has similar discounts on some clothing and shoes.

Expanding season

“The holiday season is expanding, and Black Friday is no longer the kickoff for the season,” said Natalie Kotlyar, who heads retail and consumer products at business advisory firm BDO Consumer, adding many start holiday shopping at Halloween, Labor Day or even Amazon’s Prime Day on July 12.

Reuters/Ipsos poll of 1,639 adults online showed 63 percent did not plan to shop on Black Friday this year. Some 32 percent said they plan to finish about half of their holiday shopping on that day.

The year-end shopping season spanning November and December is crucial for retailers because it can account for up to 40 percent of their annual sales. The NRF, which has been overly optimistic at times in the past with its sales projections, expects holiday sales to grow 3.6 percent this year to $655.8 billion.

For Black Friday alone, about 70 percent of retailers expect sales to remain flat this year, according to telephone interviews with chief marketing officers at 100 U.S. retail firms, BDO Consumer said.

Nevertheless, big bricks-and-mortar players like Target and Wal-Mart will still open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

The best and busiest time of the year for all kinds of marketers

The best and busiest time of the year for all kinds of marketers. The time when sales and marketing team can meet their pending targets in a short span of time. This presents a huge opportunity for retailers, only if they know how to cash in on the season of gift-giving and group events. On the other hand, the evolution of social media has made it mandatory for marketers to come up with fresh ideas to increase customer engagement and drive sales. If you still haven’t been able to formulate ground-breaking strategies to engage your customers, you’re definitely losing out on some great conversions.

Customers are usually inundated with holiday promotions pertaining to offers, deals and discounts. Marketers understand the expedience of offering enticing promotions and that this is the time of the year when customers tend to spend more time browsing for the best deals across preferred brands. If you are an online business, your customers are already habituated to receiving special offers; chances are that they don’t even spend more than a couple of minutes on the website if the deal is not alluring enough. Special offers targeting holiday euphoria, announced via social media at the right time, is a good recipe to break into the market and acquire customers. Creating a sense of urgency compels customers to buy the product as soon as they see the advertisement.

Video marketing and live feeds

Video marketing is an excellent way to create fresh content for your brand promotion. Live streaming during the holiday season is a great way to connect with audience through creative, fun and interactive campaigns. For example, Snapchat, Instagram Story and Facebook Live are good options to explore when designing videos/live streaming campaigns.

Your company can use an internal resource for recording and publishing videos on snapchats and other equivalent platforms. However, you’d need a full-fledged production team to create videos that attract eyeballs. Regardless of whether the video content is produced internally or through agencies, a company would do well to integrate their creative teams to brainstorm new ideas and leverage video marketing to connect with their customers. The idea is to deliver interactive campaigns that translate into leads and eventually, profits.

Utilizing mobile marketing

Mobile influenced holiday shopping is a continuing trend, and marketers have witnessed a huge shift in this category. Today, there are 35% more mobile users than desktop users and successful brands are taking all the right steps to leverage on this massive growth. Even if your maximum conversations are taking place on desktop, remember that there are consumers who research their purchases on their mobile phone prior to any purchase and if you won’t make efforts to reach out to them, you’ll end up losing a big slice. In short, you need to make sure that mobile remains a focal point of your holiday season marketing if you want to effectively influence and capture mobile-influenced consumer attention.

Tip: 

Last minute deals and offers will not help you capture the market during the peak holiday season. You have to make sure that you plan your campaigns 2-3 months in advance and commence soft promotions. Make your customers are aware of upcoming deals so that they don’t divert to other equivalent platforms in an endeavour to find better price points.

It’s time to start planning your holiday season campaigns and get ready to execute them when the season sets in. When done right, these tips should help you increase brand awareness, engagement and conversions.

Anticipating Customers’ Holiday Shopping Habits

In 2015, between Black Friday and Christmas Eve, ecommerce sales increased by 20 percent over the same period in 2014. When this year’s 2016’s, holiday-shopping sprint ends this month, ecommerce figures are expected to rise yet again — an estimated 17.2 percent.

It’s no secret that the holiday season is huge for retailers — both on and offline — but that doesn’t mean we should let the period play out unaided. Leveraging customer data to better prepare for next year’s, 2017’s, holiday season (even as you’re finishing out this year’s holiday) will pay. The first step? Anticipate customers’ holiday shopping habits to maximize this critical time of year.

 Learn what motivates your customers to buy.

Every purchase is driven by a very specific motivation. That motivation won’t be the same each and every time we buy something, nor will someone making the exact same purchase necessarily share our motivation. But, at its most basic, the reason we buy generally belongs to one of two categories:

  • A want
  • A need

Dig a little deeper, however, and you’ll see countless factors that influence our decision to buy.

  • We’re celebrating.
  • We want to reward ourselves.
  • We feel down and want to cheer ourselves up.
  • We know we’ll have a need for this thing in the near future (i.e., we need wine for Friday night’s dinner party, even though it’s only Monday).
  • We need this thing right now (i.e., we’re out of toilet paper).

And of course, sometimes we’re buying for others.

  • In celebration of a holiday or birthday
  • “Just because”
  • As an apology
  • That person bought us a gift, and we feel obliged to return the gesture.

Consumers’ motivations for buying have a significant impact on their shopping habits. That’s why it’s so important to be aware of these reasons to buy, and how they can change. A genuine need for something right now? Chances are, we won’t be fussy about it, and we’ll probably be willing to pay more than we should.

A realization that we’ll need something in the near future? We’ll be happy to wait until we can get the right item at the right price.

Related: Revealed: The Online Holiday Shipping Deadlines for This Year

A Christmas gift? Initially we might not be too fussy, but as the 25th inches closer, the more urgent our “need” to buy becomes.

Understanding why your customers buy from you is key to anticipating how their habits will change during the holiday period.

Identify your audience.

To anticipate your customers’ holiday shopping habits, first understand who it is that’s buying from you. To do this, identify your target audience (or in many cases, audiences).

If you operate in a niche market, you may have a single “target audience.” Retailers that sell a wider range of products are going to have a greater number of target audiences.

Begin painting a picture of the people you sell to by looking at your current customers, paying special attention to those who are the most loyal. Why are these people buying from you? What traits or habits do they share? Can you spot any patterns in what they buy, and when?

Tools like Shopify’s Point of Sale software can help you identify common attributes your audience shares and trends they tend to follow.

Look at where your visitors —  especially those that convert — are coming from, too. This can reveal your most profitable traffic sources, and help you identify channels that have the potential to be moreprofitable if you increase the time and funds assigned to them.

Use this information to create detailed profiles of your target customers that you can leverage to make more informed decisions about how to sell to them.

Segment your audience data.

So, now you should have a clear picture of who’s buying from you and why, as well as where those sales are coming from. Next, you need to segment your customer data so you can see how their behavior changes during the holiday season.

While there is no “official” start date for the holiday shopping season, retailers generally begin to push for Christmas sales after Halloween, or from the first of November. Things really ramp up for Black Friday and pretty much stay that way until the last store shuts its doors on Christmas Eve (ecommerce stores obviously wrap up their Christmas sales a little earlier).

When segmenting your data, you’ll probably want to start by looking at the period beginning a month or so before the holiday shopping season generally kicks off. This will ensure that you get a clear picture of when your sales begin to spike, and how hard and fast they grow (or don’t grow) from that point on.

Use this data to influence your marketing strategy.

There’s little point in collecting all this information if you don’t leverage it to boost sales. Changes you might make could include (but certainly aren’t limited to):

  • Investing more cash into channels that consistently drive high-converting traffic your way
  • Configuring ads to display only during periods that your audience is most active and most likely to buy
  • Highlighting your most popular seasonal products during your holiday email marketing
  • Doing the same with your holiday ads
  • Segmenting email and ad campaigns to target regular customers with specific messages as the holiday season begins
  • Creating gift guides to drive traffic to and boost sales of your most popular products during the holiday season