Holiday 2011: Key Promotions & Trends for Online Retailers

Whether you are shopping in a brick and mortar store, walking down a city street, or watching evening television, it is now inevitable that you’ll come across holiday promotional advertizing. The digital space is no exception. With online holiday spending projected to grow 15% this year (Forrester), ecommerce merchants are well underway planning for the peak traffic weeks ahead of us.

With this in mind (and in practice at the office), we’ve put together a collection of key statistics to consider, and an overview of online promotions and marketing trends that we’re likely to see Acadaca clients implementing soon—if not already.

Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday?

2010 Black Friday sales growth increased 0.3% from 2009, while Cyber Monday saw a 20% increase from the previous year. Online, Cyber Monday still represents a bigger shopping day and is expected to grow as more consumers look to avoid Black Friday madness.

Holiday Promotions:

Free Shipping: According to NRF, over 90% of online retailers are planning to offer free shipping at some point during the 2011 holiday season.

Discount Coupons & Markdowns: Dollar amount off and percent off coupons and flat markdowns are standard holiday promotions for incentivizing online spending.

Free Return Shipping: When purchasing for others, customers are comforted in knowing the returns process is easy and free of charge.

Trending For Holiday:

Email Marketing: Always a driving force in online marketing, holiday email campaigns are likely to increase in frequency and will emphasize clear calls to action.

Merchandising: Ecommerce sites will customize catalogs by featuring gift suggestions and holiday-specific categories.

Focus on Urgency: Promotional and advertizing verbiage will often include a focus on time and deadlines in order to inspire immediate purchases. For example, “Order by 12/16 to receive free shipping!”

Mobile Optimization: As more consumers are using mobile and tablet devices to research products as well as make purchases, online retailers are pushing to ensure optimization across platforms. In a recent article by Leena Rao on TechCrunch, the author discussed the upcoming online holiday shopping season with executives from Google, eBay, PayPal, and ShopKick. All executives “unanimously agreed that this would be the year of mobile for the holiday shopping season.”

Social Media: Social media platforms are increasingly becoming a default source for consumers to find product reviews and advice from personal networks. According to NRF, Facebook represents the largest pre-holiday marketing investment for retailers.

Look out for our post-holiday recap early next year, but until then happy shopping and selling during the busy weeks to come.

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