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Predictive data and the holiday season – The Merchandising Report 2015

Christmas is almost upon us. Digital River offers its take on lessons retailers can learn from previous years as companies seek to improve the customer experience to make the most of opportunities here.

The upcoming holiday season offers huge opportunities to retailers, but only the most prepared companies will get the largest share of an ecommerce retail season that’s now worth, in the US alone, $79.4bn. Are you prepared? Learning when and how to spend a marketing budget during the holiday season can drastically change your financial performance.

As your marketing team prepares for the online holiday season, it is beneficial to glance back over previous years in order to better utilise marketing spend, plan promotional calendars and predict potential opportunities to further increase this year’s revenue over previous years. Not only does this allow your company to conduct a quick rundown of previous practices, successes and failures, but it also allows your marketing team to look at aggregate results and potentially offer insights into patterns that have gone unnoticed before.

The importance of Cyber Monday

As well as analysing company performance down the years, retailers should look at the overall market. In this context, comScore’s 2014 Online Holiday Sales Report, which focuses on the US, makes fascinating reading. The report reveals that, in the 2014 season, US consumers spent $53.3bn online, marking a 15% increase over the corresponding days in 2013.

Cyber Monday (Monday 1 December) once again ranked as the heaviest spending day of the year, with more than $2bn in desktop buying. Cyber Monday has dominated the headlines for many years, even though a large number of companies have also promoted substantial online discounts on Black Friday.

When you begin to consider what days have consistently made the top 10 heaviest spending days almost every year, an interesting pattern emerges. Unexpectedly, Mondays and Tuesdays in a two-week period after Black Friday appear to be the consistent winners. No weekends and nothing within a week of Christmas come close to making the list The two Tuesdays immediately following Cyber Monday have found their way into the top 10 every single year since 2008. These days may not have a catchy title and are not propelled by millions of dollars in traditional holiday marketing spend, but they have consistently performed at high levels for the last seven years.

Marketing Strategies for Your Holiday Season

Social media directly generated 1.9% of digital purchases in the US 2014. In 2015, social media will make a larger impact as a tool for discovery, gifting ideas being the leading use.

Customer centricity is essential in order to be a successful online retailer today. Get to know your customers and understand their shopping habits.

Mobile is expected to play an important role in the 2015 holiday season, with a 32.2% rise in 2015 mcommerce sales as a whole in the US.

Display ad retargeting will be widely used this holiday season to increase awareness and sales. Add Facebook retargeting to existing display and Google retargeting efforts to increase return on advertising spend (ROAS).

Email marketing drove 17.7% of online orders in the US in 2014. Content is playing a large role in increasing click-through rates (CTR).

Go Global as online sales in China for ‘Singles Day’ in 2014 reported four times more sales than Cyber Monday in the US and is the biggest online shopping day on the planet.

About Digital River

Digital River is a leading global provider of Commerce-as-a-Service solutions. Companies of all sizes rely on Digital River’s multi-tenant, SaaS commerce, payments and marketing services to manage and grow their online businesses.

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