Q&A: How to Adjust Contacts Strategies Based on Cyber Mondays Cyber Monday was originally defined as the first Monday after Thanksgiving by Shop.org and picked up by popular media as “the biggest online shopping day of the year.”
But Cam Balzer, vice president of emerging media at DoubleClick Performics, says that is just the first of a series of four or five significant holiday peak “Cyber Mondays.” These Mondays between Thanksgiving and Christmas generate major e-commerce sales peaks for online retailers, but the first Monday following Thanksgiving is generally not the busiest.
We sat down with Balzer to talk about ways to maximize your contact strategies based on your Cyber Monday results.
LISTS & DATA STRATEGIES: Most merchants already have a set idea of their contact strategies for the holiday season. But how should they adjust those based on Cyber Mondays?
CAM BALZER: Based on what we know about the anatomy of a week during the holidays, there are at least two ways merchants should consider this issue: What content to include, and when to initiate the communications.
Regarding content, merchants should keep in mind that most online transactions happen on Mondays. Communications sent out late on Sunday or early Monday should focus on closing the sale online by providing incentives and helping customers find what they missed over the weekend.
Later in the week, many shoppers are preparing for the weekend ahead by researching purchases that will likely happen offline. Merchants can prepare for this in many ways; one example would be introducing customers to products more likely to be purchased offline later in the week.
Most sophisticated multichannel merchants are familiar with their own product mix, and a good rule of thumb is to push the products likely to sell online very early in the week and then to transition to the offline goods as the week moves on.
The most effective communications, regardless of the goal of each, will be sent at a time when the customer is most likely to act. Again, these times are very early or during the second half of the week.
LDS: If the goal is short after Cyber Monday 1, should the cataloger do a remail? Or do additional e-mails?
BALZER: Once Cyber Monday 1 has passed, there’s little that a merchant can do to recoup those lost sales. They should, however, keep this in mind as the weekend approaches, because certain steps can be taken in the store and elsewhere to make the sale more likely to close over the weekend.
They should also continue to follow their weekly merchandising strategy, pushing e-commerce sales early in the week transitioning this to providing information helpful for offline shopping later in the week.
LDS: Is there a time that a cataloger may see a bad CM, but it’s too late to mail another catalog? And if that’s the case, does that mean more postcards or e-mails?
BALZER: A major consideration here is whether or not there’s a retail presence – a store that customers can physically walk into. In many instances there will be a major retail presence with stores scattered throughout the country. In one instance, the merchant can focus on driving in store traffic.
In the other instance, all transactions need to happen online, over the phone or through the mail. With on retail presence, the merchant must forego opportunities to drive in store traffic and instead go for the online or out of store conversion. These merchants will have the most luck very early in the week, when shopping in retail outlets is less of an option for most of us.
LDS: Does it get to a certain point of the holiday season when you can mail, e-mail, etc. all you want, and still not get customers?
BALZER: At some point during the holiday season, shipping is no longer possible or it becomes cost prohibitive. So within that context yes, at a certain point, merchants lacking a retail presence are at a major disadvantage.
It’s important to think about what the Cyber Monday phenomena tells us about consumers as they move through the course of a typical holiday week, and to make sure that every communication – regardless of its physical form – serves up the information consumers seek at that particular time.