December 14, 2013 § 1 Comment
‘Tis the season of lists so I thought that we might make a list of important learning from this Holiday Season of Marketing so that we could use it all next year. So here is my list. Feel free to add your learnings to the list.
1. Pinterest is the thing of Sugar Plums and Dreams. This female-focused audience is now 70 million strong and retailers need a Pinterest strategy. Holidays, DIY and Recipes are some of the top searches on Pinterest. And 47.7 percent of shoppers say that Pinterest content has inspired holiday gift purchases. Here’s an amazing fact - Amazon has been among the most popular holiday season e-retailers for passed-along Pinterest content, drawing more than 16,300 pins/shares a week since Thanksgiving, per Searchmetrics’ research. Walmart is second and Apple is third.
2. Gift guides are an important sales tool. Some of the most-opened emails during the holiday season are gift guides. Use your imagination for special groups, categories and price ranges. Also popular are gift guides for gifts under a certain price like $50 or $100. Pinterest would be a great place to create gift guides.
3. It’s online! Black Friday gave way to early Thanksgiving openings and Cyber Monday. These shopping holidays saw some new trends this year. Seventeen (17%) of consumers are expecting to increase their online purchases this year, including 2o% among more affluent households. For the first time, more consumers will shop online (47%) than at discount/value department stores (44%). While consumers did more of their pre-Thanksgiving shopping at online retailers than at mass merchants or department stores, they will do more last-minute shopping at mass merchants and department stores (presumably because they won’t have time to wait for the shipping). (Integer Group, M/A/R/C Research.) Oh, and there’s a new term to learn – Green Monday (the Monday with at least 10 days until Christmas).
4. Price checking abounds and Amazon is a clear leader in online shopping. Some 87% of consumers agree that they will always check Amazon before making most online purchases (MarketLive/e-tailing group.) Retailers’ sales and promotions are the most likely factor to influence shoppers’ holiday spending (44%), ahead of household expenses (27%) and existing debt obligations (14%). (Discover).
5. Free shipping is now the standard; 7 in 10 shoppers expect free shipping online, and 47% expect free returns. (Deloitte.)
Bonus Trend: One third of holiday shoppers will be buying gifts for themselves this year, while spending the rest of the budget on friends and family. However, holiday shoppers value generosity and social consciousness from their favorite brands.
There are only ten days left until Christmas. Make the time count – smile more, laugh more, treasure the time and be generous of spirit during these last days before Christmas.
December 10, 2013 § 1 Comment
Women are the holiday multi-taskers so it’s no surprise that 43% of female workers say they have holiday shopped online while at work, according to the new CareerBuilder CyberMonday study. Jennifer Sullivan Grasz from CareerBuilder reports only 35% of male workers are also holiday shopping online.
CyberMonday shoppers work too!
Over half (54 percent) of all workers expect to be shopping online for the holidays. Many of those will be planning to spend the time during lunch or during breaks. The survey finds that one in five workers will spend between one and three hours browsing Internet deals from the office over the course of the holiday season and 10 percent will spend 3 hours or more; a quarter report just planning to spend an hour or less.
Back in 2010, we reported on a similar study that found that 40% of female workers 18-54 said they shopped online, and a whopping 84% of moms said they spent 15 minutes or more daily shopping. And emails were a definite trigger for with 60% responding to email offers.
Workers are responding to lots of holiday emails.
No wonder we are responding to emails. Some 28 percent of all emails are sent during the holiday season. In fact, every brand is sending consumers an average of six emails, up from five last year. Experian says that email accounts for nearly 3 percent of website visits (ahead of social) and higher conversions (3.58 percent) than search (2.49 percent) and social (.71 percent) combined. Oh, and don’t forget – half of all emails are now read on mobile devices.
Email tips for marketers.
For marketers, we need to take all of this in consideration and start planning early. Some of the important considerations are:
1. Test emails and offers for effectiveness.
2. Test timing of emails. Weekends versus weekdays may yield different results. By the way, half of all working women do their shopping between 11 am and 2 pm.
3. Make sure your subject lines are appealing and stand out to your consumers. Subject lines are where most people make a decision to unsubscribe.
4. Help your customer with gift guides. According to Experian, gift guide emails experience 48% higher transaction rates than normal promotion emails.
4. Look for new ways to build your list and reach new people.
5. Be more personal. Address your customer by name or tailor the message to your geography, weather or preferences.
6. Use re-targeting and abandoned cart messages.
7. Make sure you are optimized for mobile.
The CareerBuilder survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive© on behalf of CareerBuilder among 3,484 U.S. workers and 2,099 hiring managers and human resource professionals (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) between August 13 and September 6, 2013.
November 26, 2013 § Leave a comment
November 16, 2013 § Leave a comment
It’s the time of the year when we begin thinking about sending holiday greetings to friends and family far and wide. Will it be an online greeting this year or a sentimental real paper card with pictures of the family and a special note? Will it be written in cursive or typed away on a convenient laptop? Will it be mailed with a 46-cent stamp or whisked through the web at no cost?
Have we lost our social graces? Or are we entering a new phase of how we relate our love? It seems we are in a cultural shift brought about by technology, budget concerns, digital natives and time deprivation.
Decline of Traditional Greetings
The United States Postal Service, which has its own problems, reported that the number of greeting cards mailed within the US declined by 24 percent from 2002 to 2010 and is still dropping. A perfect storm of migration to online services, a financial recession, busy lifestyles and younger digital consumers are creating new traditions for holidays and special days like birthdays.
A greeting cards industry report this year from IbisWorld says the sale of traditional cards has fallen by 60 percent over the last decade, to $5 billion a year. Last year Hallmark reported that their 2012 card sales dropped to 5 billion, from 6 billion in 2011. And American Greetings has had to go private after a 60% decline in revenue.
Growth of Digital Greetings
Remember your birthday this year? Chances are you got more Facebook Birthday greetings than you ever received cards? Why? Well, it’s so easy. Facebook reminds you. And you can even send a gift card if you want to really express some love. With Facebook, those annual holiday letters are not as important anymore. We see regular updates of our friends and know what is going on in their lives.
All the while, e-greetings are growing. Online card sales (both e-cards and custom printed ones) have grown to $3.5 billion in 2012 from just $65 million a decade ago. Both Hallmark, the number one provider, and American Greetings, the number two, have digital greetings divisions. And there are a plethora of other greetings companies like Egreetings, Blue Mountain, someecards and Dayspring. The trends are to more personalized or more irreverent cards than the traditional drugstore cards.
Growth of Handmade Cards
At the same time, there is a resurgence in small companies that provide special handmade cards. With a higher price than normal cards, the handmade card is actually the gift itself. There is also a big business in crafting for card making. Just ask the ladies at my church who make very special cards with special design stamps, craft supplies, pictures and glue.
So what’s your choice this year? Let me know how you will share your holiday greetings?
November 13, 2013 § Leave a comment
The stores are already decked in Christmas decorations. Santa has shown up in some malls. The holiday television spots have started. And retailers are planning moving up the selling season from Black Friday to Thanksgiving Day. The holiday reports point to a holiday shopping season that will start online and continue in full force through December.
eMarketer says the US holiday season online retail commerce spending will be up 15.1% over last year and will reach $61.8 billion. November and December spending will account for nearly one-fourth of all retail ecommerce spending for 2013. Total holiday sales are expected to top $602 billion, up 3.9% from last year.
Deloitte‘s annual report shows that 47% of internet users expect to shop online this holiday season and 38% of respondents said they would spend at least half of their budgets online. Where are they shopping if they are not online: some 44% said they would shop at a discount or value department store, 28% planned to shop at a traditional department store, and 21% anticipated going to an electronics, office supply or computer store.
The National Federation of Retailers says that online holiday shoppers expect to spend 20 percent more than other shoppers. The online shoppers expect to spend a net average $884.55 on gifts, decorations, food and more this holiday season, compared with an average $737.95 among all holiday shoppers.
The Google 2013 Holiday Shopping Intentions Study reports that 64% of women, compared with 56% of men, are more likely than men to start shopping early and purchase on the big days. But some 41% will still be shopping in December.
And shopping has already started. More than 40 percent of holiday shoppers said they started their shopping in October or before. Two-thirds of online holiday shoppers started early to help spread out their budget. Another half want to avoid the stress of last-minute shopping and the crowds. This holiday season will continue to highlight the importance of smartphones and tablets in shopping. Shoppers will use them to research products, compare prices, look up retailer information, and redeem coupons.
Value will continue to be important. Many say they are focusing on what they need and will be making practical purchases this year. Google finds that 81% of shoppers will rely on discounts, 76% will take advantage of free shipping, and 60% will act on purchase incentives.