E-commerce companies leverage email marketing, mobile marketing and social media to build holiday sales buzz
The shopping frenzy in brick and mortar retail stores, better known as Black Friday, is also rapidly becoming one of the landmark days in the E-commerce world. This holiday shopping season (defined as November and December), E-commerce spending will rise 14.3 percent to $38.5 billion as more shoppers stay home on Black Friday and make their purchases online. Shopping online during the holiday season is a convenient way for people who cannot get to the stores, do not want to fight the crowds (or the cold) or simply look forward to sleeping in the day after their Turkey Day feast – to get limited holidays deal from the convenience of their own living room.
Last year, E-commerce sales on Black Friday alone, hit a whopping $595 million, an 11 percent increase from 2008. According to eMarketer, 2010’s anticipated acceleration in spending over holiday season, may also reflect the creative promotions and discounts of businesses that now encompass the use of social media networks (such as Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter) and other Internet marketing outlets. Many retailers are hitting the ground running with social media this year to promote upcoming Black Friday deals. Some are even posting deals that are exclusive to those who engage with their brand via their social media channels.
“The rules for Black Friday have changed significantly,” NRF CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement. “Instead of waiting until Thanksgiving Day to announce their promotions, many retailers are getting shoppers excited about Black Friday by offering sneak peeks of deals in advance, using social media to create buzz, or teasing upcoming deals on their websites.”
Recent results from the National Retail Federation Shop.org eHoliday survey found that more than half of the retailers polled will send out special emails to customers announcing Black Friday deals, while around 31 percent will use their company’s website to promote those deals, 39 percent will hit shoppers through their Facebook pages, and 21 percent will tap into their Twitter feeds.
This year, perhaps more than ever before, retailers are trying to attract customers through their mobile devices.They are creating Apps, teaming up with leading companies such as Facebook and Google, and using location-based services (such as Foursquare or Facebook Places) to serve up deals. Shoppers using smart phones will account for more than a quarter of the $447 billion that U.S. retailers expect to reap this holiday season. Retailers with superior mobile and social media strategies are likely to have an advantage in winning the business of the savvy mobile shoppers who are predicted to spend more than $127 billion, or 28 percent of overall sales, during this holiday season.
An excellent example of a strong retail marketing campaign leveraging web 2.0 this holiday season is the $500 gift card that is being given away by Sports Authority this coming Friday. The only way of getting a chance to win one of the 20 cards, is for shoppers to check in via Foursquare and tweet their check in through Twitter. However, they must do this while shopping in store during certain times.
“It’s a way of engaging with our customers, as well as a way of reaching out to a younger, more mobile-savvy customer base,” said Clay Cowen – Sports Authority’s Vice President of E-commerce.
With the explosion of Web 2.0 – retailers have an opportunity to boost revenues by taking advantage of online activities and social media outlets, which have changed the way consumers will shop, search and share this holiday season. Have you found any great Black Friday deals on social media sites? Will you look to the web to do your holiday shopping? We welcome your feedback!