How to Capitalize on Cyber Week Success and Avoid Holiday Woes
Ready or not, it’s finally upon us: Black Friday marked the official start of the holiday season, a time of high hopes and high business stakes. It’s time for retailers to put their carefully crafted strategies to the test and find out whether they can bring in the revenue to end 2018 on a high note. There's reason to be optimistic: eMarketer forecasts e-commerce sales to climb 15.3 percent in the 2018 holiday season. However, in order to take advantage of that swell in sales, savvy brands know that pre-season prep is only half of the game. Reacting to performance signals quickly can make the difference between blowing goals out of the water and falling woefully short.
So what can brands do to make sure they’re poised to navigate the holidays with confidence? We recommend the following steps:
- Learn the early indicators of overall seasonal performance.
- Study your data from past years as a baseline, and keep constant tabs on 2018 numbers so that you can interpret signals of strong performance and spot negative trends early.
- Keep a few tricks up your sleeve in case there’s a need to correct course by adjusting the on-site experience.
To help retailers achieve these goals, Monetate recently analyzed four years of holiday data, including more than 11 million purchases, to uncover correlations between digital sales numbers for Black Friday, Cyber Week and the rest of the season. (For the purposes of the study, the holiday season includes all transactions in November and December, not including Black Friday or Cyber Week. Cyber Week is the Saturday after Black Friday through the Friday after Cyber Monday.)
The data indicates that Black Friday sales serve as a reliable predictor of overall holiday performance. The report found that 67 percent of companies that fail to meet their multiyear Black Friday average also failed to hit their multiyear average for the season overall. The data also revealed that Cyber Week sales have a stronger correlation to holiday sales than Black Friday alone. Positioned squarely midseason, Cyber Week serves as a key indicator for a brand’s performance throughout the holiday season, based on its current strategy, while allocating enough time to apply emergency measures if things look seriously off.
Monetate also found that most brands show fairly consistent trends year after year. Whether they peaked on Black Friday, during Cyber Week, or showed more evenly distributed transactions throughout the holiday season, such patterns tended to repeat annually. The best resource for gauging performance is a brand’s own history. Being familiar with the baseline, and actively comparing it to the 2018 numbers in real time, is critical for accurately monitoring results.
With these tips in mind, marketers should be prepared to tackle the 2018 holiday season with confidence. Cheers to a successful season!
Evan McGonagill is a writer and content marketing associate at Monetate, a customer experience optimization and personalization platform.