Black Friday and Cyber Monday are Approaching

A record number of online retailers sent promotional email on Black Friday and Cyber Monday last year. However, research shows three new trends:

1. The emergence of Cyber Sunday— In an effort to get a jump on Cyber Monday, when inboxes are extremely crowded, a growing number of retailers began sending their campaigns on November 29th last year – Cyber Sunday — particularly after 5 p.m. EST.

Interestingly, the Sunday before Cyber Monday saw an increase in email, as 45% of retailers sent at least one promotional email last year versus 36% the previous year. That made last November 29th the biggest Sunday ever for retail email marketing.

2. Growing comfort with the term “Cyber Monday.” While the percentage of retailers sending email on Cyber Monday crept up only slightly, the number of retail emails referring to Cyber Monday by name increased 54 percent last year compared to the previous. Retailers are becoming more comfortable with the term and confident consumers recognize the term, thanks to media coverage.

3. More of a buildup to Black Friday. In addition to the large increase in the number of retailers sending promotional emails on the actual Black Friday, retailers promoted Black Friday in their emails more vigorously and much earlier. During the four weeks leading up to November 27th last year, the number of retail emails referencing Black Friday rose 96 percent last year compared to 2008.

The volume of email marketing messages sent on Black Friday and Cyber Monday hit an all-time high last year. However, according to email vendors, message deliverability was an issue for marketers.

According to the Retail Email Blog, which is run by Smith-Harmon, 71% of major online retailers sent at least one promotional email on Cyber Monday, up 1% from the previous year. On Black Friday, 69% of major online retailers sent at least one promo message, which was up from 59% in 2008.

The large volume of email challenged deliverability. Almost one in four email marketing messages were not delivered to recipients’ inboxes on Cyber Monday, meaning that 76% of retail emails made it to the inbox.

Deliverability was at its lowest on Cyber Monday from 8 to 9 am and noon to 1 pm, when the largest volumes of mail were slowing down ISPs.

Another factor in the drop in delivery rate comes from mailing to inactive names, or recipients who have not opened an email in more than six months.

ComScore reported that consumers spent $887 million online on November 30th (Cyber Monday last year), up 5% from 2008’s Cyber Monday and matching the heaviest online spending day on record.

So, consumers are readying themselves for the biggest online shopping day of the year and gaining insight into the latest and greatest deals being offered online.

Here were some 2009 trends of the busiest online shopping day of the year:

1.  More retailers were offering exclusive deals last Cyber Monday than in years past. According to research, 87.1 percent of retailers had a special promotion for Cyber Monday.

2.  Mobile Commerce was predicted to have a major impact on Cyber Monday sales due to the increasing popularity of the smart phones. Mobile Commerce likely influenced consumer decisions since it gave users the ability to comparison shop, place orders, and guaranteed in-store pick-up.

3.  Exclusive online discounts were deeper than years past. Retailers such as offered as much as 50 percent off select merchandise.

4.  Retailers were offering free shipping as an incentive for customer to buy online.

The 2010 Holiday Season is upon us and there is an abundance of predictions based on activity, from previous years.  Here are some for 2010:

1. Social and rich-media campaigns will not get much traction after mid-November.

2. Discount codes will become more prominent in pre-header messages and subject lines.

3. “Share with your network” functionality will be used more strategically.

4. Designing mobile-friendly email is more important than ever.

5. At least 50% of retailers will send an email on Thanksgiving Day and at least 70% will on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Signup for Emercury today and begin benefitting from email marketing today. Refer a retail business before Black Friday and earn double the referral fee.

*Did You Know – Sales tracking firms (who represent 500 major retailers) reported that online sales were up 14% above Cyber Monday 2008.

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