Tag : holidays

Do Black Friday and Cyber Monday Matter Anymore?

black friday cyber monday holiday salesSpring may have just arrived, but it’s not too early for affiliates to be thinking about this year’s holiday season.

And with researchers predicting this holiday period to stretch for an even longer duration, it’s imperative affiliates understand shifting consumer shopping habits as well as how online retailers plan to tackle the holidays.

The Christmas Creep

Thanks to ecommerce, consumers can shop 24x7x365 on nearly any device. And better fulfillment options allow for delivery up to the last minute during the holidays. That’s good and bad news for affiliates. Those factors enable affiliates to promote holiday offers for a longer period and earn more money. But, it can also cause some consumers to become numb or even turned off at the barrage of holiday offers that start too early or last too long.

For Christmas studies show that many consumers begin shopping as early as Labor Day. In 2016 some 34 million people had already started their holiday shopping in early September, according to CreditCards.com and close to one million were already done by that time.

Consumers are becoming a little more accustom and slightly less annoyed by early holiday promotions, according to a survey by RichRelevance. Still, more than half of those surveyed (55 percent) said they were annoyed or very annoyed by holiday goods appearing in stores (and online) before Halloween. However, that’s down from 71 percent in 2014.

A week of Black Friday?

Complicating matters are evolving patterns related to individual shopping days, such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In the past these single-shopping days often dominated the holiday season. But a shift has been taking place and these single-day events have also grown to encompasses multiple days. In some cases brands are divorcing these terms from the actual holiday period and also using them for other seasonal promotions (think Black Friday sales in July).

Research shows that recently Black Friday has gone on much longer than just the day after Thanksgiving. In fact, there are cases where it lasts for weeks. A recent Econsultancy study cites Amazon as an example of an online retailer stretching out a Black Friday event for up to 14 days.

In the Econsultancy survey, retailers were asked about the duration of their Black Friday events. Fully 35% characterized it as the four-day weekend (from Black Friday to Cyber Monday), while 45% said it extended beyond four days.

What Days Matter

According to Adobe, Cyber Monday was the largest online shopping day of 2017, accounting for $6.59 billion in sales. Black Friday ranked second with $5.03 billion. And Thanksgiving Day has also become a shopping holiday in its own right, responsible for $2.87 billion in retail ecommerce sales last year.

This research seems to underscore multiple points:

  • Black Friday promotions are continuing to bleed into the surrounding days.
  • Black Friday and Cyber Monday continue to be as important as ever.
  • New individual shopping days are emerging.
  • Consumers remain responsive to big holiday shopping days.
  • These individual holiday promotions may be less about getting deals and instead about consumers’ desire to participate in the actual events.

But just as many consumers are starting their holiday shopping earlier, many are also waiting until the last minute. According to MasterCard, the second largest weekly growth rate in US retail ecommerce sales during the 2017 holiday season occurred the week of December 17, when sales increased 23.7%. And December 23, a Saturday, was the second highest shopping day of the year. Now digital shoppers are postponing purchases until the eve of Christmas Eve.

So, it’s to the affiliate’s advantage to spread out the holiday sales since there is less likelihood of retailers’ websites crashing and delayed deliveries. But the surge of shoppers starting sooner, can also result in returns, which impacts affiliate commissions.

The bottom line is that affiliates must delicately balance the idea of seizing the multitude of holiday promotional opportunities, but not alienating or frustrating consumers.

What Chateau 20 Loves About the Holidays

The holiday spirit is infectious! And the best part of being part of a diverse team is sharing that joy and finding out about everyone’s holiday traditions. It doesn’t matter if you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Three Kings Day,  St. Lucia Day or Festivus, the Chateau 20 team wishes you peace, joy, love, and prosperity. 

Happy Holidays from the Chateau 20 team:

  • Karen White, Founder and CEO
  • Nina Merikan, CFO
  • Brandie Feuer, Director of Strategy
  • Lisa Riolo, VP of Operations and Special Projects
  • Chris Park, Partner Relationship Manager
  • Tiffany Ponds-Kimbro, Publisher Development Manager
  • Aaron Yeh, Digital Media Manager
  • Ashley Holyoak, Publisher Development Manager

We won’t tell you who on the Chateau 20 team has been naughty or nice, but you can find out who loves fruitcake (and their recipe). And learn what we love about the holidays.

Best holiday gift you’ve received?

Karen – So, I am dating myself here, but the best gift ever was my Atari Pong Game, circa 1972.  I was one of the first kids on the block to have one, and I recall playing with it for hours. Back and forth, back and forth. Good times.

Brandie – I love unique gifts. One year my Grandpa made me a stained glass jewelry box that I will always treasure.

Lisa – My love of gadgets started at age 12 when I received Simon, the electronic memory game. I loved that gift so much and have embraced gadgets ever since. Honestly, though, I genuinely like giving more. I love finding something that is appreciated.

Chris – Recently, I’d have to say my Masterbuilt Electric Smoker.  I use it all the time!

Tiffany  – There were two. My great-grandparents bought me a globe one year and I spent hours with it, learning the countries and capitals – thinking and dreaming about where I’d go and the people I’d see there. It helped give me a bigger scope than Cleveland, Ohio. I wanted to see it all and I still do. I also remember getting a Barbie makeup set when I was around 8 (1982). The best part was taking it to a sleepover/birthday party where all of us did makeovers, in baby pink and sky blue eyeshadow. It was hilarious.

[caption id="attachment_1229" align="alignleft" width="252"] She said, Yes![/caption]

Aaron –  It was my wife agreeing to marry me. I asked her on a Christmas Day.

Ashley –  I’ve had so many great gifts that I can’t really say which has been the best. But if I had to pick, I would say that my favorite gifts are candles. I can’t get enough!

 

 

 

Worst holiday gift you’ve received?

Karen – My mother once wrapped up a box of rocks in the prettiest big box under the tree as a gag gift.

Brandie – Anything you receive in a White Elephant Exchange is usually the worst.

[caption id="attachment_1225" align="alignright" width="300"] What could possibly go wrong?[/caption]

Lisa – I got back a gift I gave one year later from a friend. It kinda crushed me because I realized that a) I gave a gift that wasn’t a good fit and b) it was so bad my friend didn’t remember I was the original giver.

Chris – The worst gift was something I REALLY wanted. When I was young, I wanted these bouncing shoes. This must have been before toy safety was a consideration. Each shoe was giant metal springs sandwiched between 2 pieces of tin. You strapped them to your feet and were supposed to be able to bounce to incredible heights. I sprained an ankle after about 40 seconds and got several “told you so’s” from my parents.

Tiffany – I don’t really remember any holiday gifts as bad, honestly.

Aaron – A tub of squid jerky from my Chinese grandma. Gross!

Ashley – Last year, just before Christmas, my 7-year-old nephew passed away after suffering from a brain tumor since birth. It’s one of those things that is horrible no matter the time of year, but because it happened during the holiday made it a bit tougher for everyone.

Favorite holiday tradition?

Karen – Christmas Eve is all about food prep for my family. But after all the food prep is done, we all head out to Big Lots to pick up the half-off  Christmas ornaments for the next year. After that, we usually sit around laughing and talking and sipping Egg Nog. Nina and I still honor this tradition every year. We have been doing this for 30+ years.

Brandie – Home for the holidays.

[caption id="attachment_1223" align="alignleft" width="200"] Chris, Shelley, and a huge tree.[/caption]

Lisa – Holiday music runs a close second to (almost a tie with) the lights and decorations. But my favorite family tradition is that my immediate family gathers on Christmas Eve for Antipasti (all appetizers).

Chris – When my boys were little, I always got up before they did and made cinnamon buns. Once they got up, we waited for Grandma and Grandpa to arrive and then they tore into the presents.

Tiffany – My favorite holiday tradition is The Nutcracker. My mom and I went every year. I could dance the thing if I had to. It was an entire event. We dressed up and we would take the train downtown to Playhouse Square, which was beautiful. When I moved to Las Vegas I went to see it at the Smith Center, but it’s just not the same without her and a very heavy coat.  

Aaron – Matching pajamas for the whole family. We open them with the stockings on Christmas Eve so everyone matches for presents on Christmas Day. It’s adorably dorky!

Ashley – On Christmas Eve all of my relatives on my Mom’s side get together at one house (usually my Aunt’s home) for Christmas dinner. All of the kids play together, the adults laugh about old memories, then as it gets later we all sprawl out on the floor to watch movies until Santa comes.

How you give back during the holidays?

Karen – Giving back is one of the most important things to me and my family during the holidays. It used to be numerous turkey and ham giveaways that we would hand deliver for those in need of a helping hand. But the last three years, Nina and I usually find a family to adopt. We make sure that all the kids get the toys on their wish list, and we purchase gift cards at the grocery store to help out with their dinner. This year we are buying toys for kids in children’s services. There is a wish tree at my place, and each resident can pick a kids name off the tree that lists what they want for the holidays.

Brandie – I support Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth during the holidays. It’s easy to give back through their Amazon Wishlist.

Lisa – I donate throughout the year. And then around the holidays I do more spontaneous generosity -meaning bigger tips for service providers etc. Also I focus more on local organizations at this time of the year.

Chris – My wife Shelley and I donate to the Salvation Army food pantry.

[caption id="attachment_1228" align="alignright" width="266"] Giving back to the troops.[/caption]

Tiffany – I should do more, but I like to volunteer at my church.

Aaron – By preparing care packages for troops deployed overseas. My favorite memory of this was in 2013, my entire organization donated items and we ended up making and filling 49 stockings for an entire platoon. It was amazing.

Ashley – We normally donate gifts to Toys For Tots.

What’s on your holiday wish list?

Karen – Picture Frames. To please, please NOT let me overeat. And a cruise vacation.

[caption id="attachment_1227" align="alignleft" width="300"] On Brandie’s list.[/caption]

Brandie – Apple TV, Build Your Own Robot.

Lisa – I was not kidding when I told my family my only wish is for rain. Seriously. My area (Ventura, CA) did not get relief from drought conditions with the early 2017 rains. Now with the fires… well, I’m just asking for mudslides. So, maybe I need to rethink. On a personal front, I really don’t want anything. I’ll just be happy with spending time with family and friends.

Chris – I really don’t have much on my list. My birthday was on Black Friday, so I already got most of what I needed/wanted.

Tiffany – I’d love an espresso machine or a trip abroad (Prague or Vienna), but I don’t need any more “things”. Like, at all!   

Aaron – For my kids to stop growing up so dang fast. Holiday pajamas that I don’t feel dumb wearing year round (looking at you, 2016 Santa and candy canes). And a new coffee pot (coffee is life).

Ashley – A new laptop, my kids’ happiness, and for everyone to experience peace and love.

It’s just not the holidays without _____.

Karen – Coquito

[caption id="attachment_1232" align="alignright" width="300"] Gorgeous – until you have to shovel.[/caption]

Brandie – Grandpa’s Christmas cookies.

Lisa – Sparkling white lights in the town centers.

Chris – Family.

Tiffany – SNOW. Damn it!

Aaron – Pumpkin spice everything!

Ashley – Christmas lights!

Eggnog or fruitcake?

[caption id="attachment_1217" align="alignleft" width="300"]fruitcake recipe Karen’s Fruitcake recipe. Missing info: cook for 90 minutes.[/caption]

Karen – BOTH!! I am getting everyone fruitcake for the holidays. I found my recipe. 

Brandie – Never had either.

Lisa – If the eggnog is added to my latte, then eggnog. If the fruitcake is freshly baked and full of spice, fruitcake.

Chris – Neither.

Tiffany – Eggnog.

Aaron – Eggnog is a billion times better than fruitcake.

Ashley – Eggnog. Never tried fruitcake.

Are you a regifter?

Karen – Yes. Pretty sure I have done a few,  like a crystal clock and other houseware items which were not of my taste.

[caption id="attachment_1231" align="alignleft" width="290"] Recycling. Upcycling. Regifting.[/caption]

Brandie – I regift a lot of vendor chachkies as stocking stuffers for family. They love them!

Lisa – Nope.

Chris – Yep. Typically gift cards.

Tiffany – No.

Aaron – Nope. Not even once!

Ashley –  Yes, I have regifted! I received a bath set one year that, in my opinion, didn’t smell too good, so I gave it to my younger sister.

Favorite holiday movie?

Karen – Love Actually is my new favorite, with It’s a Wonderful Life coming in second.

Brandie – The Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas. It’s 60 days of cheesy Christmas movies.

[caption id="attachment_1244" align="alignleft" width="300"] Christmas Vacation. It’s a holiday classic.[/caption]

Lisa – By far my favorite full-length movie is It’s a Wonderful Life. I absolutely love the one scene in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation where Chevy Chase flips on the holiday lights and causes an power outage for the entire town. That made me laugh so hard I cried.

Chris – A Christmas Story. Christmas Vacation. It’s a Wonderful Life.

Tiffany – It’s a toss up between White Christmas and Home Alone. They’re so similar, right?

Aaron –  Die Hard. It’s A Wonderful Life is a very close second.

Ashley – Christmas Vacation. Every year my family gets together on Christmas Eve to watch movies and spend time together, and this movie is always a staple that everyone loves!

Rate your holiday spirit from 1 (a Grinch) to 10 (last name might be Claus)

[caption id="attachment_1222" align="alignright" width="300"] Karen not being a Grinch![/caption]

Karen – My middle name is Grinch during the holiday season. Having lost both parents, it takes me longer to get in the mood. Giving to others has certainly helped, but I am still a big fat 1 until about 12/23  with my sister pulling me along kicking and screaming.

Brandie – Does being excited about a full week of vacation count as a 10?!

Lisa – I pretend to be more Grinch like than I am. I am a solid 6 with moments of 8. I act like a 2.

Chris –  This year? Probably a 3, but hopefully it will improve as we get closer to the holiday.

Tiffany – Most years I’m about an 8. This year I’m holding at a 4 so far – sliding slowly into Grinch territory where I have NEVER before dwelt.

Aaron –  I am a natural 2 who has successfully learned how to be a 5. Kids change everything!

Ashley – I would say an 8. Mid-November is when the holidays begin. I love Christmas music, even though my husband refuses to listen to it until two weeks before Christmas.

 

Holiday Shopping Online was Huge

online holiday shopping

If you’re a data junkie, you can rejoice at the glut of numbers that have come out over the last week. Market researchers have been tracking all things related to consumers online holiday shopping. Here’s everything you need to know about the results from online shopping for Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. Spoiler Alert: Mobile was a big deal!

Thanksgiving and Black Friday

  • Affiliate network sales from Black Friday were up 38% compared to the same day last year. (CJ Affiliate Network)
  • Across the board, consumers demonstrated a higher propensity to spend. The average order value for Thanksgiving came in at $180 — up $24 more than the average day for the month. (Criteo)
  • On Black Friday the number of online shoppers rose 3.5% compared with last year, and the number of purchases rose 12.5%.(Criteo)
  • About 115 million people visited online retail sites on Thanksgiving. (comScore)
  • Nearly 129 million people visited online retail sites on Black Friday, up 14% compared with last year. (comScore)
  • The average order value on Thanksgiving and Black Friday roseto $122, up from $120 in 2016. (Salesforce)
  • Email and ad engagement rates leaped in the week before Black Friday There was a 23% hike in sales on Thursday and Friday, compared with the prior year. (Rakuten Marketing)
  • Sales grew by 21% during the three-day period from Wednesday to Black Friday. (Rakuten Marketing)
  • There was an11% growth in purchases from Wednesday to Black Friday. (Rakuten Marketing)
  • Click-through rates rose by 154% and ad engagement rates by 111 % during the three-day period. (Rakuten Marketing)
  • Black Friday’s average order value jumped by 9%. The peak purchase time occurred at 2 p.m. on Black Friday. (Rakuten Marketing)
  • Thanksgiving Day purchases grew by 35%, and revenue grew by 28%. (Rakuten Marketing)

Mobile Led Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday

  • 56% of total online Black Friday traffic came from mobile devices, up from 43.4% last year. (Qubit)
  • 40% of transactions were completed on mobile devices on Thanksgiving Day. (Criteo)
  • Mobile revenue grew by 45%, purchases by 34% and average order value by 7% during Sunday to Friday of Thanksgiving week. (Rakuten Marketing).
  • Forty-six percent of all page views occurred on a mobile device during the week. (Rakuten)
  • 66% of orders made with a phone or tablet — up from 58% in 2016 (Shopify)
  • Mobile set a new record during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, representing 53.3% of visits — about 44.6% attributable to smartphones and 8.7% to tablets. (Adobe)
  • Mobile drove 39.7% of revenue — 29.8% from smartphones and 9.9% from tablets. Smartphone traffic specifically grew 21% year-on-year (YoY), while revenue coming from smartphones saw 41% growth YoY — a new record. (Adobe)
  • Purchases from mobile devices on Thanksgiving Day, and spending peaked online at 9pm EST, with 46% of all purchases occurring on mobile phones. (Criteo)

Cyber Monday

  • Shoppers spent $6.59 billion online on Cyber Monday compared with $5.65 billion last year, a 16.8% increase, making Cyber Monday the biggest U.S. online sales day. (Adobe)
  • Shoppers spent an average of $114.10 on Cyber Monday, up 7.4% from $106.24 last year. (BigCommerce)
  • Cyber Monday had 2.3 times (127.1%) more online shoppers than the average day in 2017, with 7.5 times (655.3%) more orders placed. (Qubit)

Mobile (Cyber) Monday

  • Revenue generated by smartphones accounted for 21.2%, or $1.40 billion, of online sales on Cyber Monday—also a record. (Adobe)
  • Mobile sales, which includes smartphones and tablets, generated $2.0 billion in sales, or 30.3% of overall revenue, and 47.4% of total traffic. (Adobe)

‘Tis the Season for Affiliates to Start Holiday Marketing

Affiliates Holiday PrepAffiliates should be in the process of finalizing their holiday marketing plans. Ideally, you started planning early and are now ready to execute on those plans.

Here are some things affiliates should be doing now.

Get an Early Start

The most important step toward taking advantage the holiday season is getting an early start. Retailers often start their planning as early as June or July. For affiliates, this means that keeping on top of retailers you work with to ensure you know what they have coming. Affiliates should have their holiday campaigns up and running by October. The National Retail Federation reports that over 40 percent of people plan to begin their shopping by October, with over 12 percent planning to begin before September. Getting an early start increases the chances of capturing early birds.

Leverage Paid Placements

During the holidays retailers are looking for opportunities to reach new audiences or target specific demographics. This is good news for affiliates. Even if you don’t have huge traffic numbers. Having an engaged, loyal following in a specific niche can mean retailers looking for paid placements may contact you. But you don’t have to wait for them. Develop a hit list and reach out to those you think would be a good fit for your audience. Have a rate card ready that includes pricing, positions that are available and size of ads. Also have a terms sheet to formalize the agreement.

Maximize Major Dates

The holidays are comprised of much more than Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the week leading up to Christmas. Of course, those are huge, but the season has developed some other major days and periods that can also be lucrative.  

  • Singles Day (November 11th)
  • Thanksgiving (November 23rd)
  • Black Friday (November 24th)
  • Small Business Saturday (November 25th)
  • Cyber Monday (November 27th)
  • Giving Tuesday (November 28th)
  • Green Monday December 11th)
  • Free Shipping Day (December 15th)
  • Super Saturday (December 23rd)
  • Boxing Day (Canada) (December 26th)

Be Mobile Savvy

Expanding digital channels, such as mobile and social media, have added to the immense opportunities the holidays provide. In 2016 mobile accounted for 50.3 percent of all ecommerce traffic, surpassing desktop traffic for the first time ever. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise 38 percent of shoppers  say they will not return to a website if it’s not mobile optimized. If your affiliate site isn’t ready for mobile shoppers, you will lose out. According to CJ’s Affiliate’s 2017 Holiday Intelligence Report, mobile sales in CJ’s global affiliate network jumped 21 percent last holiday season, giving mobile commerce a 30 percent share of total holiday sales.

Get Optimized

The good news is that with just a few simple adjustments you can improve your holiday conversions. On landing pages, be sure the value proposition of any product you’re promoting is front and center. Highlight all the features and specifications, as well as the problem the product addresses (if applicable). And don’t forget to include multiple images. Including images on landing can improve conversions by 161%, according to Hubspot. You can also consider providing user reviews, which increases trust about the brand.

Promote Free Shipping

The cost of shipping can make or break your sale. According to a recent UPS Pulse survey, free shipping was deemed the second most important factor for shoppers when purchasing online. And a whopping 93 percent of shoppers take action for free shipping. So, if you’re promoting a product and the retailer is offering free shipping, let people know up front.

Finalize Gift Guides

Many holiday shoppers search terms such as Hottest Toys for Christmas, Gifts for Co-Workers, Most Popular Teen Gifts. Having gift guides in a variety of categories will put you front and center for those searching. It also allows you to promote a variety product together and gets potential buyers to stay on your site longer. Thus, increasing the chance of a purchase. So, no matter your niche, create as many gift guides as possible and promote them heavily on your homepage and through your social media channels. And be creative. You don’t have to just have the Best Gifts for Tween Girls. Think about offbeat and creative curated lists as well. For example, Gifts to Help Tweens Unplug or The Must-Have Cool Tween T-Shirts.

Don’t Forget the Procrastinators

There will always be last minute shoppers. Make sure to have some gift card options for those procrastinators. You could also include travel vouchers as well as memberships to food and wine clubs.  If you work with online retailers with a brick-and-mortar component, you can also tout in-store pickups as way to entice last minute shoppers.

Starting immediately and crafting your campaigns to run over a longer period of time enables affiliates to improve their chance of overall holiday success.