It’s no secret that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the hugest annual shopping days, both online and in person. It makes perfect sense why entrepreneurs focus much of their marketing and promotional energy around these heavy hitters. But shoppers have proven that they’re eager enough to start buying even before Black Friday.
That’s right, Thanksgiving itself is now fair game for ecommerce customers eager to score deals on their holiday purchases. TechCrunch reports that Thanksgiving was a record-breaking day for 2017 ecommerce sales, hitting $2.87 billion. That’s an 18.3 percent increase over the $1.93 billion figure from the same holiday last year. The rest of the month leading up to these impressive sales days also saw a year-over-year boost in expenditures—all 22 days featured over $1 billion in ecommerce spend.
If these exciting trends show us anything, it’s that proactive ecommerce stores should no longer wait for customers to visit their websites within the parameters of traditional shopping days. Eager customers will start offering up their patronage in advance—to stores who are primed and ready to offer the right combination of deals and service. Plus, with so many brick-and-mortar stores closed in observance of this family-oriented holiday, it’s wise for ecommerce stores to take advantage. As your website is catering to customers’ wants and needs, you can enjoy your holiday feast with a side of steadyrevenue.
According to eMarketer, “The timeframe of the holiday season continues to lengthen.” This outlet predicted that shoppers would start buying even earlier than the previous year, when almost one-third of gift buyers reported starting their shopping in October. As the boundaries of the defined holiday shopping season blur outside of just Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the “X Days of Holiday” sales, ecommerce stores must be ready to capitalize.
How? The same staples that are important throughout the year become even more crucial during crunch-time. Whether you sell electronics, furniture, makeup, trinkets, apparel, décor, non-perishable foods or any other product on the market, consumers expect the following from your website:
- A simple user experience, complete with intuitive navigation and quick load times
- A speedy, secure checkout process they trust enough to hand over their financial information
- Fast, affordable order fulfillment complete with customizable delivery choices
- Easy returns, since one in five people still choose to shop in-person over online because they believe products will be easier to return
It’s also important to strategize on how you plan to drive consistent traffic to your website year-round. If your idea of advertising for the holidays is scheduling a Facebook post for midnight on Black Friday, you’re missing out on driving additional visitors and revenue.It’s time to embrace emerging social media trends, like partnering with influencers, well before big shopping days to ensure your store snags a spot on shoppers’ wish lists.
For example, brands can spend the first half of this year cultivating relationships with online influencers. Then, leading up to the holidays, you’ll be able to implement a content strategy meant to connect with target lookalike audiences all over the web. But instead of running deals exclusively on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you can offer ongoing deals throughout the month—when there’s less competition.
If this year’s holiday trends show us anything, it’s that online customers are getting more flexible on what exactly constitutes “holiday buying.” We’ve already seen key holiday sales leak into Thanksgiving Day itself. Assuming this pattern continues, soon there will be even less distinction between formal and informal buying occasions.
Savvy ecommerce stores are ready to strike while the iron is hot. Thanksgiving was a record-breaking day for 2017 ecommerce sales; it’s safe to assume holidays in 2018 will be the same. Make sure your online store is fully stocked, optimized for visitors and offering up tantalizing promotions outside of traditional sales days.