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Using Black Friday & Cyber Monday Data to Win Big in 2019

Frank Jackson, 01/25/2019,

The data from this year’s Black Friday & Cyber Monday sales provide critical insight on consumer behavior. Discovering customers preferences and spending habits can help your sales. As technology changes, so does consumer behavior, and technology changes fast. Knowing your customer can provide the edge you need for running successful campaigns. What can you learn from this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales? More importantly, what can you apply now to help your business in 2019?

The Numbers

The data from sales on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the space between shows the growing reach of ecommerce. Record sales were recorded on Cyber Monday breaking the prior record by approximately $1.3 billion. Cyber Monday sales increased this year by 19.7%, or roughly $1.3 billion. While Black Friday sales also increased by 23.6%. 2018’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales led to $6.22 billion in sales! Adobe Analytics has recorded this year as “the largest U.S. online shopping day of all time.”

The data within the massive amount of sales statistics collected by Adobe Analytics, Amazon, and Shopify has helped to put a spotlight onto and reveal what currently dominates consumer-led purchase methods, shopping decisions, and purchases.

Shopify and Amazon’s Take on BFCM

Amazon issued a statement that the company’s total sales on Cyber Monday amounted to more sales on any other day in the company’s history, including Amazon’s Prime Day that occurred earlier this year on July 16th through the 17th. The company did not report any sales figures but disclosed that more than 180 million items were sold over the five days from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday.

According to an article released by Shopify, the peak sales for Shopify merchants reached a massive $37 million per hour throughout BCFM. The number of transactions conducted during the peak sales hour came to $870,000, generated by over 10,978 orders every minute. Shopify concluded that international shipments took up 18.54% of all orders placed. Shopify also found that mobile devices have finally established themselves as the predominant method to shop over desktop computers.

Only 34% of orders were conducted on desktop computers, while 66% of people placed orders through mobile devices! Shopify merchants have access to mobile-friendly payment options. Shopify believes this is what raised the number of mobile sales during BFCM. These mobile-friendly options include Shopify Pay, as well as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and other payment services.

What to do Now

Shopify also shared its results with email, direct, search, and social conversion rates. Email and direct conversions were nearly the same at 4.38% for email conversions and 4.35% for direct conversions. Social networks only amounted to 2% of the total order conversions and searches converted 3.60% of orders.

The data that Shopify and Adobe Analytics has released shows that Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales have continued to grow. Another critical finding is mobile devices are now the preferred method to purchase items online, and email marketing campaigns are the most effective form of online marketing for upping your conversion rates.

Targeting the High Spenders

The most popular sale times on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, according to Shopify, is noon for Black Friday shoppers. Compared to Cyber Monday where the last three hours of the night saw the most sales. Knowing the peak sales hours can give insight into consumer behavior. Using your own data, you can figure out the demographics of Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers. Using that information, you can design better-targeted ads for a demographic that is enticed by special offers, and ready to hit buy!

It is estimated that nearly 3% of Cyber Monday shoppers saw an out of stock message. Had retailers been adequately stocked they could have made around $187 million in additional. The take-home message here is to be ready. Check your inventory before the BFCM period, or before any major sale, and always choose a dependable print on demand provider so you can easily manage orders. In the new year, people will be looking for some of the out of stock items. Try and find what went out of stock and then find comparable products for your store.

Denver is the city that spent the most money with an average of $163 per order. Followed by $157 in San Francisco, $156 in New York and Portland, and $154 in the Seattle and Tacoma. The cities with the highest average purchase price should be prioritized when targeting cities with advertising campaigns. Try and use social media ads to target your niche in each town. Facebook and Instagram ads are great for finding your niche within these high spending cities.

Driving Sales Through Mobile

Everyone uses mobile. So, make sure your website is fast and mobile friendly. No one wants to wait while the page loads on their phone. Using Google’s mobile-friendly test, you can check and see if your store is up to par. Google recently made page speed part of their ranking criteria, so optimizing your site for mobile has several benefits.

How are your customers paying? Increasing the number of payment methods may be necessary. Integrating Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, and Shopify Pay will give your customers more options. If someone is browsing on their iPhone, they are more likely to use Apple Pay than enter their credit card information. Consumers want fast, safe, and comfortable ways to check out give them what they want and watch your conversion rate grow!

Social ads make sense

Social Media, Ads, and Conversion Rates

Google and Facebook both have retargeting ads. This means you can still catch those that slipped away during BFCM. Most people won’t buy anything the first time they visit a website. Using these kinds of ads can remind someone why the visited your site in the first place. Priming people can lead to sales later, even if they aren’t directly through the ad.

Set up retargeting ads on Facebook and put a collage of products the visitor is missing out on. Let them know about any deals you are running too. Facebook has collected billions of people’s information use that information to increase your conversion rate in the new year. Google provides another avenue for retargeting ads.

Using Google ads, you can create banners and other display ads. Using Google ads, you can re-engage and familiarize the visitor with your brand. People want to buy from familiar brands, the more exposure, the better. Combing Google ads and Facebook ads will be even more effective. Use both to retarget customers and create a brand people recognize.

Is Email Marketing Worth It?

The data shows an email campaign can improve your conversion rate. Using personalized emails will be even better for engaging customers. Use this information by creating emails your audience wants to see. This means finding out their interests and as much demographic information as possible.

You can collect visitor information through banner advertisements, pop up offers, and by having a form to fill out. A great way to catch a visitor’s information is making an offer they can’t refuse. Be creative by offering an e-book, free shipping, or a coupon for a product they are interested. Capturing emails this way is easy since the person is getting something in return for their information.

Once you have their email, you can offer different incentives for them to revisit your site. Developing an interesting monthly email will keep the recipient in the loop with your brand and give access to limited time deals and offers. This year’s BFCM has helped solidify email marketing’s place in the online toolbox.

How do you Make an Engaging Email Campaign?

Themed promotions that change every month can help keep your audience engaged. Keep things fresh by being creative with your emails message, content, and overall design. Most services allow you to create and save custom templates, so try and have a few ready every month. You may find some customers prefer one style of email, use that information and send out two different emails to match their preference.

Tracking coupons will help you gather data on the customer using the coupon. What item, or percent off, was the coupon for? Know which coupons work can inform your overall strategy. If people aren’t opening your emails, try and switch your title to a more engaging one.

Make sure you aren’t flooding your email list with offers. Too many emails can lead you and your CRM provider to get flagged as spam. Getting flagged by an email service can be detrimental to your business. If you are flagged, none of your offers or content will be delivered to anyone using that email service. To avoid getting flagged make your monthly newsletter informative, creative, and focused on helping the consumer.

A referral program with an incentive to buy more or sign up is an excellent way to build a customer base. Referral programs should offer enticing rewards to those who share your brand. Point systems are useful for encouraging people to share your products on social media. The more social media presence, the better, so consider teaming up with internet celebrities and offer them incentives for referrals. A famous YouTuber in your niche can build your email list and increase sales!

Putting it All Together

We learned a lot from this year’s BFCM! Unfortunately, you can’t go back in time and apply these lessons, but you can change your strategy for 2019! Here’s a quick recap and your own personal to-do list for carrying over last year’s lessons to this year.

  • Always check your inventory before announcing a sale.
  • Check your website’s speed.
  • Create a faster and mobile-friendly site.
  • Integrate more payment options for mobile.
  • Target your niche in the top spending cities with social media ads.
  • Use retargeting ads to re-engage your future customers.
  • Utilize your email list to drive sales with special offers.
  • Capture user information by adding multiple ways to opt in.
  • Create a referral program.

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