CyberMonday was coined in 2005 to title the post-Thanksgiving online shopping spree that Shop.org data suggested occurs. Since then online retailers have taken special care to offer CyberMonday specials and promotions to snag their share of the CyberMonday traffic and sales opportunities.
In fact, according to a new Shop.org release, 80% of stores are planning to tie Thanksgiving Weekend specials to CyberMonday. But I for the life of me can't figure out why retailers are still clinging to outdated approaches.
4 Reasons Retailers Shouldn't Wait Till CyberMonday to Launch Specials
Number 1: Mobile Phones - 77% of the US population has a mobile phone and north of 40% own a smartphone. If there is one thing we'll all do on Black Friday it's stand in line. Whether we're waiting for that midnight opening, the 20 people in front of us to check out or to ask a question of the overworked sales associate, you can rest assured that Black Friday shopping will entail waiting.
What do you do when you're waiting? That's right... you text, Tweet, Facebook and read email. In 2005, your only real opportunity to buy anything online was via a computer and for most of us, heavy duty computing was still largely a work activity primarily because in 2005 only about 50% of us had high speed access at home. You remember dial-up don't you -- didn't it make shopping fun?
But today, in 2011, that same broadband speed is now in the palm of your hand. And according to recent research, consumers plan to use it. In fact, according to Deloitte’s 2011 Annual Holiday Survey of 5,000 U.S. consumers, of the 42% of consumers who own a smartphone, 27% will use their device while shopping for the holidays,
Number 2: Propinquity Marketing - yes it's a real word. Propinquity means nearness in place, proximity, similarity or time. Ask yourself what is the last thing a consumer will likely have in their hand right before their credit card? If you need a hint, see #1 again. Mobile phones (smartphones especially) are the ultimate propinquity marketing platform for online retailers -- and this advantage is highlighted during busy holday shopping days like Black Friday.
If the consumer is shopping, and they have that little computer in their hand, why then would a retailer want to wait until CyberMonday to pass out that special discount? Give the consumer a simple option to check with you BEFORE they buy that TV at Best Buy. Supplement that with special offers delivered via that mobile device and you have a powerful 1-2 punch that might move even more Thanksgiving Weekend shopping online.
Number 3: Opportunity Cost - have you seen those offers of "find it cheaper elsewhere and we'll match the price" that retailers love? Honestly, how much of a discount would you have to find to actually go through the trouble (especially during the busy holiday time period) to take advantage of that offer? So again, why would an online retailer wait until AFTER the consumer had shopped to offer that great deal? With the plethora of low cost, digital marketing channels available, why wait? Fish when the fish are biting.
Number 4 - competitive advantage -- again with digital transmission tools an online retailer can wait until the very last second to show their pricing/offer hand. There is no need to print the newspaper flyer that comes out the day before. There is also no need to stick to published prices. Online retailers can change the cost of their products in seconds. This is a huge competitive advantage that their offline brethren don't share. Once that big fancy newspaper circular or TV ad touting the $399 60" LCD TV goes live - that retailer has to live with that price publicly. Sure they can do mark-downs in store, but the digital retailer can instantly change his price and have that be the price that shows up in Google Search, email marketing, social efforts, etc. In today's hyper-competitive marketplace, nimble wins. So again, why not leverage that to work against the brick-and-mortar competitor.
CyberMonday is a big day. Online retailers should continue to focus on that day because it will continue to drive large portions of sales. BUT -- if you're a retailer that is waiting until CyberMonday to launch your great holiday sales, etc, vs kicking it off on Thanksgiving Day or Black Friday -- well, IMHO you're missing a huge marketing opportunity.
But that is just one opinionated social media marketing consultant's opinion... what do you think?
photo credit: alancleaver_2000
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