Key Takeaways from Yesterday’s Holiday Prep Webinar

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Yesterday, Listrak CEO Ross Kramer teamed up with Michael Harvey, COO of Corra, to present the webinar Holiday Preparation: Monthly Milestones to Prepare Your Company. During the hour-long presentation, Ross and Michael took a look back at Holiday 2013 and shared tips on what retailers should be doing now and throughout the summer and fall months to prepare both their email marketing programs and websites for a successful holiday season.

Below are a few key takeaways. The presentation in its entirety is also available on demand.  

Cyber Monday has been the number one shopping day for the past four years, and shopping on Thanksgiving Day continues to grow

Last year, many retailers promoted Black Friday and Cyber Monday the entire week before

The first work day after the Thanksgiving holiday - Green Monday - is also growing in sales

Mobile spending was up 20% last year, and for the average retailer, accounted for 14% of holiday sales

Last year, Black Friday in-store sales were down, while eCommerce was up 

It’s absolutely time to now to prepare emails and websites for responsive design; even more consumers will be using mobile to shop this holiday season 

This holiday season is only one day longer than last year - 26 days between Black Friday and Christmas

July/August:

Review past email campaigns, grow your subscriber list, update your preference center, think about shopping cart abandonment and post purchase campaigns and subject line testing

Consider doing re-engagement campaigns now and keeping subscribers engaged as we enter the season 

Train in-store staff now to collect email addresses at checkout to help grow your subscriber list

Begin asking subscribers now to move messages to the Primary Gmail tab to make sure they see your holiday emails 

Cut through holiday email clutter with creative, inspiring email subject lines; begin testing now

Encourage subscribers to update their preferences now to reduce unsubscribes when email volume picks up 

Pay attention to website user experience; your site should be fast loading, responsive, have great search and easy checkout 

Shoppers abandon websites when they have a bad user experience, and most will never return

September:

Create holiday responsive design templates, plan for the unexpected with contingency emails and think about how mobile incorporates with email 

When designing holiday templates, don’t be afraid to create scrolling emails 

It’s jarring for subscribers to click from a responsively designed email to a website that’s not 

Consider how online and in-store promotions should integrate; customers expect them to 

Set up recurring email messages like Monday Madness and What’s New Wednesday to merchandise products 

Consider a sweepstakes to grow your list; a good number of retailers do it every summer

Onsite, think about holiday campaigns, landing pages, bundles and impulse purchases

October:

Wrap up holiday pre-planning and begin sending recurring, themed emails 

Onsite, freeze code and development and begin your testing phase; do not add any new functionality at this time 

November:

Debut holiday headers and templates, begin increasing sends, and create urgency around shipping dates

Consider beginning Black Friday mailings earlier in the week, then run a different promotion on Black Friday only

Send a Thanksgiving greeting email during the day and then a marketing email later in the day 

Pay attention to site performance, as traffic is increasing; introduce shipping countdown clocks

Retailers have learned that it’s okay to send multiple emails per day on Black Friday and Cyber Monday 

Post holiday:

Encourage consumers to start shopping for themselves again!