Why some marketers say Cyber Week is just too long

Here’s how email marketers can sidestep the perils of a too-long holiday promotional period.

As Black Friday and Cyber Monday have begun to merge into a single blockbuster weekend to kick off the holiday shopping season, many enthusiastic marketers are pushing sales and promotions well past the weekend. But are we ready for a “Cyber Week?” Maybe not.

Longer doesn’t necessarily mean better

Gurjit Sandhu, marketing manager at Yes Marketing, said that its research showed that an extension of the sales holidays doesn’t carry the same element of urgency as a limited sale, citing stats that show that while emails sent out the Tuesday after Cyber Monday generated a 16.2 percent open rate, they only yielded a 2.7 percent conversion rate.

“While many retailers attempt to build on the momentum of these shopping events by extending sales into Tuesday and beyond, our research has demonstrated that the extension of these sales often leads to indecision and inaction for consumers as the sense of urgency to act diminishes,” Sandhu said.

Taylor Schreiner, director of Adobe Digital Insights said that while merchants kept their discounts alive after Cyber Monday, they didn’t see corresponding sales growth past Tuesday.

“The Tuesday after (11/27) brought in $2.97 billion and grew considerably at 29.6 percent year-over-year, so there was some spillover from Cyber Monday as retailers maintained their discounts, but the remaining days had below-average growth,” Schreiner said.

Some attribute the Cyber Week trend to mobile

Karly Cyr, senior marketing manager at digital experience plaform Mobify, attributes the trend to the increase in mobile use for holiday shopping, saying “customers have access to the store 24/7 through their phone and what’s new here is they’re willing to actually buy on [them] when the experience is fast and convenient. As more and more retailers deliver experiences that meet these expectations, consumers are becoming more comfortable not only shopping, but actually buying on their phones. Retailers now have to market to this customer specifically.”

Cyr noted the example of e-commerce retailer Payless, which is marketing “24 days of deals.”

“Black Friday this year began well before the actual day and retailers can see how shoppers are viewing pages as they look at products and plan what to buy prior to the holiday. With good response comes the need to extend this revenue generator. So Cyber Monday has extended to Cyber Week. This began with some marketers last year, but the trend has been more noticeable this season with lots of flash sales, extended offers, and other enticements to keep the shopper, and the mobile shopper, in particular, shopping,” Cyr said.

Shoppers will shop as long as they have offers

Adam Proehl, partner and co-founder of digital marketing agency NordicClick, said that its retail and consumer product clients have “continually found as long as they have compelling offers that stand out, they can email their customers more often (than they otherwise could most of the year) while maintaining (or even increasing) performance and minimizing list fatigue.”

Proehl says that brands that suffer from ‘urgency dilution’ may have other problems.

“They’ve probably already trained their customers to expect a big sale once a month, never have anything unique to offer, or simply haven’t figured out how to position their message properly to stand out in a season where everyone else is vying for that same customer’s attention,” Proehl said.

How retailers can make the most of the season

Sandhu said the longer shopping season leaves shoppers exhausted and without the “urgency and scarcity that drives them to purchase. To combat this slump, retailers should draw on specific subject lines with attention-grabbing CTAs (calls to action), as well as run tests prior to actual campaign deployments in order to determine which tone and emotion resonate best with consumers. To avoid the risk of overexposure, retailers should think twice before they extend their sales into Tuesday and beyond.” Sandhu said.

Mark Gally, CEO of B2C CRM Zaius said, “As Black Friday/Cyber Monday merge to become a 4-day weekend of holiday shopping, marketers have to make the most of every engagement and interaction. To do this, marketers have to be careful not to inundate the inbox with too many promotions. Instead, marketers should personalize all of their content according to where the buyer is in the customer lifecycle, what products they’ve browsed, and more. By using customer data effectively, marketers can make more out of fewer messages, drive higher conversion rates, and rely less on discounts during this competitive weekend.”

About The Author

Robin Kurzer started her career as a daily newspaper reporter in Milford, Connecticut. She then made her mark on the advertising and marketing world in Chicago at agencies such as Tribal DDB and Razorfish, creating award-winning work for many major brands. For the past seven years, she’s worked as a freelance writer and communications professional across a variety of business sectors.

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