Online sales soared on Cyber Monday, totaling about $2.29 billion in the United States, up approximately 16 percent, according to an Adobe report. Email promotions likely played a role in the sales growth. Looking at how some marketers crafted Cyber Monday messages could provide valuable information about the kinds of holiday ecommerce offers that are really working.
Overall, holiday retail sales were down about 3.9 percent in the United States compared to the same weekend in 2012, according to the National Retail Federation. Nonetheless, ecommerce was booming. Here are some of the emails that helped to fuel that success.
Amazon Featured Products
Amazon is one of the most savvy and most successful online retailers. It is little wonder that the company has some excellent examples of email marketing. For Cyber Monday, the ecommerce giant sent personalized emails announcing offers that were intended to appeal to the recipient’s tastes and interests.
What was particularly interesting was how Amazon’s marketers described the discounts. For example, the Kindle Fire HDX was promoted as “$50 Off,” while the ASUS VicoBook included a price, “Only $199.”
These offers are designed to make each price seem like a big savings. The Kindle Fire HDX with 64 GB of storage is $409.00, so $50.00 off is about a 12 percent discount. But when promoted as “$50 Off” it still sounds like a lot relative to some of the crazy offers consumers saw this past weekend.
Trader Joe’s Takes Focus Off of Prices
In the midst of the dozens of discount and dollar off emails that arrived in inboxes over the weekend, Trader Joe’s sent out a calm reminder that its “Fearless Flyer” holiday shopping guide was available.
The email did not show any prices, and made no promise about huge or unbelievable savings, rather it relied on the yearlong relationship to Trader Joe’s builds with its customers to engage them. The lesson here may be that holiday marketing is really an extension of the marketing that you do all of the time. If you are building customer relationships in July, those customers are probably going to shop with you during the holidays. Trader Joe’s may also be maintaining better margins, which is a good thing.
Boot Barn Sent the Same Email Four Times
Boot Barn, one of the nation’s leading western wear retailers, was certainly focusing on frequency for its Cyber Monday sales as the company sent the same Cyber Monday promotion no less than four times on Sunday and Monday.
The first email came on Sunday with the subject, “Cyber Monday Starts Now – Up to 82% Off.” At about 6:00 a.m. Mountain Time on Monday, the email was resent (perhaps to folks that had not yet opened the first message) with the subject line, “Today Only Cyber Monday Sale – Up to 82% Off.” The message was delivered a third time at about 5:00 p.m. Monday, with a new subject, “Final Hours – Cyber Monday Deals End Midnight Tonight.” At about 9:55 p.m. a fourth delivery was sent informing potential customers that there were only “Minutes Left….”
Boot Barn is demonstrating that it is not afraid to send shoppers repeated messages to make the point. While you might not want to send four emails in 24 hours, there is a case to be made that it may be acceptable to send more frequent emails during the holidays.
B&H Emphasized Education
B&H, which sells photography and videography equipment and accessories, devoted a significant amount of space in its Cyber Monday email to educational information. In fact, depending on which email client a consumer used and on which sort of device one looked at the email message, the only thing that someone might see in the upper portion of the email is the header and the learning information.
B&H may be making an effort to position itself as not simply a retailer, but also as a useful source of information. The approach should help B&H stand out from the crowd and ultimately make more sales.
If an email recipient followed the “Learn & Make an Educated Purchase” link (at top), that shopper could find product reviews, product introductions, or instructional videos, like a 16 minute seminar on headshot photography with a professional photographer.
It is worth nothing that lower in the email B&H include some heavily discounted products. This reminds retailers that they need to build a business long term without sacrificing sales today.
Unline Keeps It Simple
Unline is primarily a business-to-business retailer, selling packaging, and packaging-related items. Given its business clientele and the number of emails those contacts must be receiving this time of year, Unline keep its sale (which lasts well past Cyber Monday) very simple and direct.
Sometimes online retailers can make offers too complicated, and it can be refreshing to just see a straightforward discount.