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#12DaysofStrategy: What to Expect from the Post Christmas Sale Period

While you read this, hopefully you are already reveling in what a successful festive period you’re having and looking forward to maximizing a very significant sales period, even with the rise of Black Friday. For industries outside of retail such as travel and home, this also indicates the peak of the year increasing in wider online prevalence.

So what can we expect from the Boxing Day/January sale?

Sales to be spread over a wider period due to where Christmas falls
With the 27th also a bank holiday in the UK, it’s likely we may see a slightly quieter day than normal due to consumers also having the 27th to shop. This is a trend that we saw reflected by many of our clients last year, and is something to keep in mind.

With the first Sunday of the year being the 1st it will significantly change the buying patterns of customers. We’d normally see a very strong first Sunday, especially in the home and travel sectors, but with this being the 1st we expect to see sales more evenly distributed.

Home & Travel sector changes

This will still be a strong period for both sectors, but there will need to be flexibility in the way you work, as what we’re currently seeing in buying patterns and product choices from customers may vary.

A change in store behavior?

Could this be the end of the mad Boxing Day rush in-store? With parliament discussing whether stores should be forced to close on Boxing Day, this could see massive gains for online retailers, with more customers shopping from a mobile device or desktop in the comfort of their own homes, and a potential shift in how companies split their sales items between store and online.

Similarly to the run up to Christmas being impacted by Black Friday, there are a lot of external factors in when public holidays fall, the state of the market, and how this will impact consumer behaviours. Expect to see the sales trends from last year vary both in when they fall, but also in the products ranges being purchased.

#12DaysofStrategy: How does Christmas on Sunday Effect Shopping Behaviours?

Christmas falling on a Sunday leaves an entire day free for last minute shopping, sometimes referred to as “Panic Saturday”. In addition to this retailers may also see instances of showrooming, whereby a consumer sees an item in-store but completes their purchase online, sometimes at a lower price.

A typical consumer experiences a digital touch at some point along their journey to an in-store conversion. Hence, to make the most of this year’s Panic Saturday on Christmas Eve, retailers should consider how they can best leverage their digital channels to drive in-store conversions for last minute shoppers, and also ensure that they are prepared for showrooming consumers to make their purchases online following an in-store visit.

For last minute buyers in the run-up to Panic Saturday, information such as click & collect deadlines, and store information such as locations and opening times are necessary. Both sitelinks and location ad extensions can help with this and drive a consumer from visiting your retailer online to in-store. On Panic Saturday itself, local inventory ads will be imperative in creating a digital storefront and enabling a user to find the exact item they want, and then driving them to your store. Again, location extensions are important; search queries involving “near me” have historically peaked over the Christmas period, and so the easier a consumer can find your store, the better.

For showrooming consumers it is the use of singular marketing messaging across your channels which will create a consistent user journey. Being the opposite of in-store last minute buyers, this presents an opportunity to use sequential messaging for showrooming consumers to increase brand affinity and conversion rates.

Even with two categories of consumers that we can potentially expect on Christmas Eve, the common thread between these consumers is the importance of mobile devices. Last minute shoppers will be using their phones to find stores which stock the items they want, or store information such as directions. Showrooming consumers can be conducting their online research on the go using their mobile devices and may make their online purchases on the spot.

Ensuring mobile websites are fully optimised to capture this traffic and serve the user the most relevant information will be important in order to make the most of this peak for retailers during the festive season.

Hopefully these tips and insights from cross-device performance and cross-channel attribution post-Panic Saturday can enable retailers to make the most of Christmas Day falling on a Sunday, and increase revenue between offline and online activities.

Stay tuned to more from our ‘12 Days of Christmas Strategy‘ blog series.

Black Friday Online Sales Performance 2016

There was a lot of talk before Black Friday suggesting that this season would not see nearly the same growth as it had in previous years. In fact, advertisers anticipated that in-store sales would take a massive hit as most people turned to the internet for the majority of their shopping. Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed, we can accurately determine what success the massive shopping day actually received.

According to Sky News, “Black Friday failed to deliver a double-digit surge in online sales growth while high street shopping visits unexpectedly rose, according to industry figures.”

“Online purchases climbed by 6.7% compared to last year but this well short of a forecast for 25%, and was a big slowdown compared with a rise of 31% in 2015.

Footfall – a measure of shopper visits – was up by 2%, with high street growth at 2.8% beating retail park and shopping centre growth. Footfall was expected to decline by 5%.

We’ve taken a look at a sample base of our client activity and determined our own stats from the holiday.

Black Friday Performance

From the data collected, we found that (on average) Black Friday revenue was up by 13% year on year (YoY), with an 8% YoY increase for Cyber Monday.

black-friday-year-on-year-stats

  • Black Friday increased its dominance over Cyber Monday in terms of traffic, conversion rate and revenue:
    • Black Friday saw 251% more traffic, 384% more revenue, and a 152% higher conversion rate compared to the November average.
    • Cyber Monday only saw 172% more traffic, 190% more revenue, and a 114% higher conversion rate compared to the November average.

black-friday-vs-cyber-monday-performance

 

Breakdown By Device

black-friday-2016-device-breakdown

  • 55% of traffic on Black Friday was generated on mobile devices. This is up from 46% last year.
  • 38% of Black Friday Revenue was driven from mobile devices which is up from 31% last year.
  • Not surprisingly based on last year’s trends, revenue from desktop and tablet dropped by 4%  YoY.
  • Mobile and tablet traffic increased over the Saturday and Sunday between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

black-friday-2016-stats-by-day-and-device

Time of Day Performance by Device

Black Friday continues to show a daytime dominated trend with desktop and mobile revenue peaking before midday. Tablet, however, continues to perform best during the evening.

black-friday-revenue-by-time-of-dayblack-friday-time-of-day-performance

 

Performance by Country

  • Looking at the performance uplift in markets outside of the UK, US, and Canada which have traditionally performed well on Black Friday:
    • France saw the biggest uplift in traffic generating nearly 2.5x the November daily average.
    • Germany, Ireland, and the Nordic markets also saw significant uplifts in traffic.
    • Spain saw the highest uplift in revenue on Black Friday, generating nearly 7x the November daily average.

black-friday-performance-by-country

 

With Black Friday gone, Christmas is fast approaching. If you want to make sure your sales continue during the holiday period check out our “12 Day of Christmas Strategy” blog series for all the latest inside tips to achieve the best performance possible.

‘Miracle off Oxford Street’: The Shift from In-store to Online

Black Friday is kicking it up a notch with more shoppers than ever moving from out on the streets, to inside their homes, as online shopping is expected to skyrocket during the start of the holiday season.

The Brick-and-Mortar Decline

Retailer information specialist, Verdict, has predicted that retailers will see will see a sharp downturn in brick-and-mortar sales this Black Friday. This doesn’t seem to have many retailers sweating at the collar, even though it looks like the shop-shunning trend will continue this season.  Retailers will try and stem the loss of Christmas sales, and the mounting costs associated with Black Friday, such as additional staff, and an increase in operational requirements.

Even in the US, the birthplace of Black Friday, retailers such as Target have implemented a longer shopping period, rather than relying on a one-day frenzy. Target rolled out a 10-day shopping extravaganza entitled: “10 Days of Deals” that discounts certain product ranges over the course of the period.

UK retailers cited shopping fatigue, and administrative chaos as part of the reason some have turned their backs on Black Friday. They feel they have been forced to offer deep discounts for several weeks that practically give away items and cut into regular priced Christmas sales. Another point to consider is that while Americans have the day off after Thanksgiving, no such holiday exists in the UK, meaning in-store turn out is bound to be lower due to work.

The unmanageable influx of foot traffic, operational woes and skewing of traditional Christmas revenues have many UK retailers disillusioned with in-store Black Friday events. Sixty-one percent see the shopping day as an ‘unprofitable and unsustainable promotion.

The Online Shift

It sounds like doom and gloom, but for retailers who are still participating in the largest revenue generating day of the year, Black Friday will see growth in online shopping. This means retailers will really need to be on top of their online strategy.

For the reasons stated above, in addition to the increase in mobile and tablet purchases, we are expecting to see the majority of shopping happen online this holiday season. In order to maximise sales, retailers will need to prepare for a heavy influx of online traffic and have everything in place to avoid website crashes or slow loading times.

Consumers have shown a preference for online shopping; tired of battling the crowds for a limited number of products and returning home frustrated and empty handed. A few quick taps, and the product can be delivered or collected hassle free. Black Friday will continue this eCommerce trend and survive digitally in the UK, even if in-store sales slump. Retailers with a strong multi-channel strategy in place will reap the rewards of the growth in online shopping.