News: Blog

3 Tips to Overcome the Holiday Spending Slump

I didn’t shop on Black Friday. In fact, no one in my family shopped on Black Friday. Instead we slept in, ate leftovers (when only the day before we all groaned and swore we’d never eat again), and spent the day enjoying each other’s company. A rare treat that couldn’t be overshadowed by midnight sales or door buster deals.

It seems we weren’t the only ones that chose a day in pajamas over a marathon trip to the mall. Check out these facts and stats from the Wall Street Journal:

  • Total retail spending from Thursday through Sunday fell 11% compared to the same weekend in 2013
  • Black Friday shoppers spent an average of $380.95 each, down 6.4% from last year
  • 134 million people shopped over the four-day weekend, down 5.2% from last year

These numbers correspond with Fluent’s holiday shopping survey published on Nov. 25 in which 24.3% of respondents said they planned to spend less money on gifts this year (compared to just 16% who said they’d spend more), and only 18.6% said they would start shopping on Black Friday.

While Cyber Monday sales grew by 8.5%, the growth rate slowed compared to previous years (2013 online sales rose 20.6% from 2012). According to USA Today, and consistent with Fluent’s findings, nearly four times as many online shoppers completed their purchases on desktop compared to mobile.

Lingering economic uncertainty is undoubtedly forcing retailers, and e-tailers, to brace for a difficult 2014 holiday season. In order to compete and succeed in these final weeks of the year, having a strong game plan for digital marketing efforts is key. 41.5% of the consumers we surveyed said they research their gifts online before making a purchase (more than the 21.5% who said they’d do so in-store), so the key is to create interesting digital experiences that engage all the way to conversion.

Email is one of the best digital channels to stay top of mind with shoppers. Here are three tips to overcome the holiday spending slump and engage customers online:

  1. Leverage email subscribers: Provide your customers with the information and access they want. When it comes to holiday shopping, your subscribers want to know that they’re getting a deal, so email details about a sale or special pricing before making it public. Then, choose a clear and concise subject line that gets right to the email topic – Early Bird Special: 40% off Electronics Until 6pm or Insider’s Exclusive: Buy One Get One This Weekend Only.
  2. Optimize for mobile: According to the latest research from email firm Movable Ink., 65% of marketing emails are opened on mobile. Be sure that your email templates are built with responsive design or for mobile-first viewing (mobile will translate to tablet or desktop better than the other way around). Include multiple call to actions throughout the email, most notably in your header, images, and body text, so readers can click or tap-through no matter where they’re looking.
  3. Create custom messages: Don’t just send blast emails about sales and discounts. Check in with customers periodically – encourage them to purchase items sitting idly in their online shopping carts with an extra 10% off, make suggestions based on past purchases, and ask them to participate in short surveys about their preferences to personalize the digital experience even more. Treat your subscribers as people instead of a checkout total and they’ll reward you with brand loyalty beyond holiday sales.

One of the theories behind why retailers experienced a Black Friday slump this year is that sales are kicking off well before Thanksgiving and continuing throughout December. Many shoppers, myself included, no longer feel any urgency to shop on a specific day. Take advantage of this with email by helping your subscribers research, prepare for, and complete their purchases.

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