Retail email marketers should take note of two trends that emerged from the recent Black Friday-Cyber Monday shopping extravaganza as consumers get down to the serious business of holiday shopping:

1. Mobile traffic and sales jumped this year but still lag desktops for conversions and sales.

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Stats: Mobile set records on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. – 40 percent of sales and 60 percent of traffic – but had declined to 28 percent of sales and 48 percent of traffic by Monday (IBM Watson Trend).

Mobile’s 3.6 percent conversion rate on Monday edged up from 3 percent on Black Friday but remained half of desktop’s Monday rate of 7.5 percent (IBM). Mobile email drove 49% of email opens and 44 percent of all click-throughs (IBM).

Takeaway: Investments in mobile-friendly websites and email redesigns are paying off. However, retailers must find ways to keep smartphone shoppers on their sites to browse and at least start the purchase process by putting items in carts, especially on high-traffic days like Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday.

Streamlining the purchase and account process, adding one-click payment sources and “email my cart” or “remind me later” remarketing emails can reduce abandonment and increase order completion and sales.

2. Shopper fatigue is showing up already thanks to earlier and earlier retail promotions around branded sale days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.


Stat: Website traffic has been falling steadily since October; on Thanksgiving it was 33 percent lower compared with 2014 and 34 percent lower on Black Friday (Cofactor). Despite more mobile activity on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, mobile users actually spent 5 percent less time on sites than in 2014 (Cofactor).

Takeaway: Any email marketer, not just one whose fortunes are tied to the holidays, needs to watch for signs of fatigue, such as lower opens and clicks and, possibly, higher unsubscribes and spam complaints. Cutting back on email isn’t the answer because you’ll just get left behind in the stampede to the inbox.

Changing out one or two promotional emails for more service-related messages – shipping deadline alerts, buying guides or a simple “Thank you for your business” – can get you noticed in the inbox without wearing out your subscribers.

Want to learn more about how data-driven marketers are optimizing their email programs for the holiday season? Check out this white paper for 3 useful tips.

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