E-Commerce Tips for the 2016 Holiday Season
With Halloween in the rearview mirror, retailers everywhere should have begun implementing their 2016 holiday marketing strategies by now. Consumers are already crossing items off their lists of seasonal wishes, wants, and needs; retailers that wait too long to appeal to them run the risk of losing valuable sales — and customers. Just as critically, stores that hope to achieve their annual revenue targets need to have specific, detailed e-commerce plans in place well in advance of Black Friday, the once-traditional kickoff to the holiday shopping season.
Most people no longer wait until that day to start shopping for the holidays. According to PwC’s 2016 Holiday Outlook, 64% of consumers will make their first purchases before Black Friday week rolls around, and 29% plan to have their most of their holiday shopping wrapped up by then. Recent data on in-store sales offer additional evidence of Black Friday’s waning influence there; spending in brick-and-mortar locations on that day fell an estimated 10% from 2014 to 2015.
Nevertheless, retailers still see serious upticks in consumer purchasing in the period from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, not just compared to the rest of the year but compared to previous years — due primarily, if not solely, to the growing power of e-commerce. In 2015, for example, online sales on Thanksgiving Day jumped 25% year-over-year. Even as in-store spending dropped the next day, e-commerce purchases went up 14%. Cyber Monday online sales also rose; e-tailers took in $3.07 billion — a single-day record and a 16% increase.
Naturally, individual online retail outlets fared well, too. Amazon’s Black Friday sales went up 21% year-over-year, and Apple and JCPenney also enjoyed strong e-commerce sales that day. FreeShipping.com, Clarus Commerce’s owned-and-operated subscription shopping program, saw a notable spike from 2014 to 2015. On Thanksgiving Day, the first day of its weekend-long, 20% cash-back promotion (double the program’s standard 10% cash-back benefit), FreeShipping.com saw a 274% increase in member spending; over the entire five-day period, sales went up 149%.
Tom Caporaso is the CEO of premium loyalty solutions pioneer Clarus Commerce, with over 24 years of experience in the retail, e-business and customer loyalty industries. Appointed Clarus’ Chief Executive Officer in 2011, Tom’s leadership has led to exceptional growth for the once 10-person start-up which now boasts over 90 employees.
Under Tom’s guidance, Clarus has cultivated partnerships with brands and retailers such as MasterCard, FedEx, Bluestem Brands and Good Housekeeping; creating and managing premium loyalty programs that reward both the brand and its customers.
Caporaso is a noted expert in the retail, customer loyalty and e-commerce industries who contributes regularly to Nasdaq and has been frequently featured in numerous other outlets.