So you obviously have an email inbox, you would not likely know about this blog if you didn’t have one. So, chances are that you received a few emails within the past 2 weeks telling you about sales for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In fact, there’s a good chance that you were inundated –and may still be for that matter- with emails telling you to hurry up and take advantage of the one-day, early-morning, door-busters, low-stock sales that only happen once a year. And it seems that this year in particular, there was a near seamless transition from Black Friday to Cyber Monday.
Stories and images of massive crowds lining up or even camping out overnight filled the media and lines were out the door and around the building. Retailers reported massive sales volumse and declared both days a retail success. But really, how special are these days?
For e-commerce stores, it is certainly important to stay competitive in an often saturated landscape and make sure that you are offering deals that will appeal to consumers. It is also important to make sure that past customers and potential customers know of your deals and offerings: make sure you are reaching out via all of your marketing channels, including email.
However, many of the emails sent during this time of the year refer to amazing deals that aren’t available any other time of the year or very limited-time deals that expire after only a few hours. They aim at creating a sense of urgency to get the user to click through and make a purchase right then and there.
However, you may have noticed that during the week after the one-time-only deals, the sales were often extended. 70% off can still be found at many of the stores and prices are still well below non-holiday levels. At this point, some of the more savvy shopper users have almost come to assume that they can get the same (if not better) deals in the days leading up to the end of the shopping season rather than during the mad rush at the beginning. Perhaps the 5am sale will allow you to save an additional $2.50 off the $50 rice cooker, but is fighting the crowd, parking and getting there at 5am worth it?
During this time of the year, I instructed many of my clients to send out a message that, if you can believe this, had NO SALES PITCH, MADE NO OFFER, PROMISED NO FREE SHIPPING. That’s right, it was an email that had no outward intention of driving sales. Rather than appealing to the animalistic shopper in each of us, the aim was to appeal to the human element with a message to a human, from a human. This allows for a differentiation from the flood of sales emails in your inbox with all of their capital letters, end dates and exclamation marks. They were messages reminding us that we have much to be thankful for, that this is an important time to step back, reflect on the year, and make sure to appreciate what you have and just maybe, take some time from your busy schedule to help out someone in need. A quick tug at the heart strings and the result was an average open and click rate approximately 200% higher than the list average for many of the lists. In addition, the sales attributed to those campaigns often outpaced the emails that simply offered coupons, listed the time left before the deal expired or warned of low stock on popular items.
So next holiday shopping season, make sure to take a step back from the melee, survey what your competition is doing, and try a different tactic where you simply wish your customers a Happy Holiday Season and thank them for being great customers. Wish them a safe and happy holiday and watch their reaction. You may be surprised.