What You Can Learn From The Holiday Shopping Season

holiday-lessons-osThe 2015 holiday shopping season is here and, more than ever, people are talking about all the shopping they’re doing online.

But how are brick-and-mortars doing these days and what trends can we discern from the shopping season so far?

We took our Santa caps off for a moment and replaced them with thinking caps to find out. Here’s what we learned.

Why bust a door?

ShopperTrak, which claims to be the leading tracker of shoppers and “consumer behavior insights and location-based analytics,” estimated brick-and-mortar retail from Thanksgiving to Nov. 29 yielded about $20.43 billion in total sales—an estimated 10.4 percent decrease compared to 2014.

Read the entire article on Auctiva EDU.

The Rundown: Black Friday, Small Biz Saturday & Cyber Monday

We’re in the home stretch.  Only a few more days until the holiday shopping weekend kicks off.  Here’s a rundown of each day on OpenSky- including official hashtags, suggested hashtags and email schedules. We’ve also included a few helpful links that you can reference to make sure the posts you’re creating and broadcasting are effective.

Enjoy!

Thanksgiving, Thursday, Nov 28

Suggested Hashtags: #givethanks, #shopforacause, #thanksgiving
Member Email: 12am ET
Member Email: 1pm ET
Rewards Members receive Free Shipping at 11pm ET

Black Friday, Nov 29

Official Hashtag: #blackfriday
Suggested Hashtags: #sale, #doorbuster, #shopforacause, #BOGO, #freeshipping, #limitedquantity
Member Email: 12am ET
Member Email: 12pm ET
Member Email: 8pm ET
Rewards Program Free Shipping expires at 12pm ET
Twitter Small Business Blog: #BlackFriday & #CyberMonday Shoppers on Twitter

Small Business Saturday, Nov 30

Official Hashtag: #shopsmall
Suggested Hashtags: #opensky #community #smallbizsat, #smallbusiness
Member Email: 12am ET
Member Email: 1pm ET
Member Email: 8pm ET
Download Twitter’s Small Business Saturday ToolKit
Get $100 in Ad Credits from Twitter
Download Small Business Saturday Resources provided by American Express
5 Tips for Using Facebook on Small Business Saturday
Tip: Today’s the day to email your contacts and thank them for supporting your business over the year.

Sunday, December 1

Member Email + Rewards members receive credit: 12am ET
Member Email: 1pm ET
Member Email + Rewards members receive Free Shipping: 11 pm ET

Cyber Monday

Official Hashtag: #cybermonday
Suggested Hashtags: #dealoftheday #doorbuster #sale
Member Email + Rewards members receive Credit & Free Shipping: 12AM
Member Email: 12pm ET
Member Email: 8pm: 4 Hours Left to Shop
*Rewards Credits expire: 11:59pm ET
Twitter Small Business Blog: #BlackFriday & #CyberMonday Shoppers on Twitter

And if you have some great advice for selling over the weekend  please share some of your own tips and tricks for the rest of the Community to benefit from!

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10 Ways to Stand Out & Drive Sales During the Biggest Shopping Weekend of the Year

Black Friday kicks off the busiest shopping weekend of the year.

Shoppers experience ‘sale’ messaging overload between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. They’ll see deals everywhere they look. Stand out with sales that are clear, creative, drive urgency, provide value and most of all, make sense for you. Combine interesting sales opportunities with customer service, showcase your product expertise, and focus on your core competencies as a business.

Here are the 10 tactics you can use to set yourself up for success.

1. Market your sales before they launch

All too often, shoppers learn about a sale once it’s already launched, or even worse, when it’s already over. Why? They weren’t given any time to prepare for what’s on the way by the Seller. Use the time leading up to Black Friday to begin marketing sales you’re planning for the weekend. Big Box retailers have been doing that in newspapers forever. As a shopper, you know the doorbuster for Black Friday before you head to the store, don’t you? Replicate that strategy online. Try to get shoppers to schedule a visit to your shop over the holiday weekend by sharing teasers for what you have planned.

2. Create Doorbusters#doorbuster

The name of the game is getting traffic (or visitors) to your OpenSky page between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Create a few doorbusters that help catch the attention of someone browsing for a great deal. Regularly, doorbusters exceed a 50% discount,  include a GWP (gift with purchase, more on that below), and are available in a very limited quantity.

3. Create Time Sensitive Promotions

Create urgency and drive engagement by creating limited time offers.  Black Friday and Cyber Monday are perfect candidates for 1-Day Sales. But don’t be afraid to push the envelope – how about 4 Hour Sales throughout the course of the day? Or a sale every hour? (if  the size of your catalog permits).  Take shoppers on a journey throughout the weekend – make it fun. Make it a game.

4. Offer Free Shipping

This weekend, you aren’t just vying for sales against online sellers – you’re competing with the brick & mortar stores that don’t any charge shipping whatsoever. Solve this by offering Free Shipping for the weekend. Take this variable off the table completely, making it a non-issue for any prospective buyer.

5. Advertise the price after discount

Don’t make a shopper work to figure out the actual cost of an item after a discount. If you’re offering 30% off, tell shoppers what the cost is as checkout.  An $42 item with a 30% discount ends up costing the shopper $29.40.  Sounds a lot cheaper than $42, doesn’t it?  Use that final price as an asset in your messaging.

6. Create Buy 1, Get 1 Deals#bogo

Commonly referred to as a BOGO offer, buy one, get one sales are a great way to communicate clear savings to a shopper. Buy one and get one for free.  Can’t get much clearer than that.  But be careful – not every item is a candidate for a BOGO sale. Do people really need two navy blue winter jackets?

7. Create Buy 1, Get 1 Half OFF Sales

The cousin of BOGO is the commonly used Buy 1, Get 1 Half OFF sale.  It has a similar effect on the shopper and is a bit kinder to your margin, but remember – this weekend isn’t the time to hold back. If you’re going to drive sales, it’s time to get aggressive.

8. Gifts with Purchase (GWPs)

This is a BOGO deal in disguise, and with more possibilities.  Think for the shopper and give them the opportunity to buy one item, and get a little something extra as an added bonus for buying.  If you sell Pancake Mix, throw in some Syrup for free. If you sell a necklace, throw in an affordable pair of earrings for free.  Give shoppers the nudge they need to buy in the moment.

9. Launch New Products

What better weekend to create some intrigue for your existing customer base?  Add some new products to your store and advertise them. Exclusive launches of new products perk of the ears of your previous customers, driving clicks, traffic and sales.

10. Create Bundles with Savings

Tis the season for gift sets, gift baskets and bundling.  Create an easy way for the shopper looking for the perfect gift.  Think for them by creating bundles that make the shopping experience stress free.

Make sure you’re tuned in over the next 9 days, as we’ll be sharing new features, updates and community wide marketing initiatives that can help land you sales and exposure over the holiday weekend.