David Kirkpatrick

Online Marketing: Cyber Monday reactions from 17 of your consumer marketing peers

December 3rd, 2010

The swirling vortex of shopping and hype that is affectionately known as Black Friday to Cyber Monday always draws plenty of ink, both virtual and actual. Here at MarketingSherpa we prefer metrics to hype, and real world stories over vague lifestyles “reporting.” With that in mind, following are some facts about this past Monday online, a chart and below the fold an entire host of actual reactions to Cyber Monday from e-tailers, industry insiders and more.

Just the facts, ma’am

  • Email is big this year – Experian CheetahMail found email volume around Black Friday was up 23 percent over 2009
  • This year’s Cyber Monday was the most profitable e-commerce day in the history of the Internet
  • ComScore found online retailers broke the $1 billion sales barrier, a 16 percent increase over last year
  • More than nine million people shopped on Cyber Monday – up four percent over 2009 – and spent an average of $114.24
  • Amazon won the most trafficked Cyber Monday e-commerce site title
  • Walmart was the most searched term on Cyber Monday
  • US visits to the top 500 retail sites were up 16 percent
  • Search and cross-shopping across other retailers sites accounted for 44 percent of referrals last week

And now the chart …

Head below the fold for Cyber Monday reactions …

Rita DiPalma, Senior Vice President of Brand Magnet, a next generation online loyalty solutions provider

Cyber Monday was the day free shipping became the drug of choice with 80-plus percent of online retailers offering it to consumers. On its own — free shipping is unsustainable for most retailers. While customers will buy more — for many retailers, their margins cannot handle it long term. Online retailers will need to take the next step by requiring consumers to commit to a  highly customized service with some amount of cash. Online retailers do understand that the consumer really does not have web loyalty, they have brand loyalty.  So, how will the online brands get the consumer loyalty without sacrificing all the margins?  In the next 12 months, we will see the retailers that will flourish with the right strategies and drive consumer loyalty with convenience, incredible values, and entertainment.

Anita Mahaffey, Cool-jams Inc.

We had some great deals going, but it paid off. We offered specials and free shipping from Black Fri-Cyber Mon. and had the highest grossing sales weekend that we’ve had since our beginning 3 years ago. Life is good!

Steve Cospolich, co-founder, DeaLoco.com

As part of our 2010 strategy for Cyber Monday we launched a new coupons section on the website (coupons.dealoco.com), which has been pretty well received so far.  Traffic-wise we had about twice as many visitors as usual on Monday.  All in all it was a great day.

Heather Dougherty, Director of Research, Experian Hitwise

Cyber Monday is not the biggest day in terms of online traffic or sales, but consumers associate it with sales. Expect retailers to continue to push promotions out as Experian CheetahMail reported email volume up 50% on Cyber Monday 2010 versus 2009.

Kristine Smith, Marketing Manager, Expressionery.com

Expressionery.com approached Holiday 2010 committed to expanding our approach to media. In addition to the direct mail, print and email marketing we’ve built our business upon, we’ve more aggressively embraced social media. For example, we’re running seven separate sweepstakes over an eight-week time period on our Facebook page.   We also plan on updating our fans about timely promotions and ordering deadlines through social media forums.  In addition, we’ve created a blogger community that is allowing us to interact and converse with like-minded bloggers during the holidays and beyond.  We’re coordinating several product giveaways with select bloggers (such as the one here) to drive awareness and additional traffic to our website.  And finally, we’ve created several humorous lifestyle videos for YouTube which we hope will go viral this holiday season.  The timing of these initiatives, and of our traditional media, have been accelerated this shopping season.  We launched our after-Thanksgiving sales a full week earlier than in 2009, which led us to add Cyber Monday specials we had not previously offered.  We wanted to engage customers sooner, and keep them engaged throughout the buying season.

I can’t share specifics on our results to date, but I can say that we are pleased with our efforts.

Vijay Chitoor, CEO, Mertado

Cyber Monday was a record day for Mertado. The top selling items ranged from video games, GPS units, memory foam pillows and the Corn Dog Maker. Customers came from all places, including social games, content publishers, email and Facebook.

Jon Fahrner, CEO, Moxsie

This seemed like the most promotional cyber Monday to date. In planning for Cyber Monday, the Moxsie team knew that a simple promotion would not be enough to stand out in the social-sphere or in the sea of promo emails. We worked hard highlight the right products for right now. The formula included an eclectic mix seasonal items such as boots and coats as well as great gift items such as headphones, laptop bags and watches. It took months to put things in place, but it paid off big time. Cyber Monday sales increased 300% over our daily average. Based on our Twitter conversations with our followers, self gifting and splurging was evident.  This is a really good sign for Holiday sales.

Julia King, Director of Marketing, Moxsie

We could tell from Facebook and Twitter that people were really anticipating Cyber Monday. Many of them asked us what promotions we’d provide and of course, wishlisting was rampant prior to the event. Along with social networks, blog coverage really helped us get the word out about our Cyber Monday deal as well.

Grant Dahlke, Marketing & PR Manager, Other World Computing

We used multiple ‘traditional’ marketing, e-marketing, and social media programs to deliver record CyberMonday shipment and sales volume. While the modern marketer has a much broader arsenal of tools at his/her disposal, the basics of timing, reach, and frequency are still critical to campaigns and were a key factor in the traffic increase our web portal, www.macsales.com, gained leading up to and including CyberMonday.

Jeremy Shepherd, founder and CEO , PearlParadise.com

This year, PearlParadise.com offered major Cyber Monday discounts on seven pages of unique pieces that we had created over the past few years (such as jewelry used in photo shoots, magazines, or other limited items), and nearly everything sold in the first two hours. The result: on Cyber Monday,PearlParadise.com had sales volume much higher than in 2009. While the total dollar amount was down approx. 20% from the same day last year (during which many higher-priced Tahitian pearl jewelry was featured, resulting in higher average ticket value), we still sold dozens of high-end ($2000+) pieces, and the 2010 holiday season has kicked off with a bang.

Mike Feiman, President, PoolDawg.com

We changed up our strategy a bit this year. Starting on 11/22 we released one “Cyber Monday” style deal each day leading up to 11/29. In the end we had 16 total deals, half of which sold out.

In previous years, we focused on releasing all the deals at once, but this slow build led to an overall increase not only for Cyber Monday (which ended up being our best Cyber Monday ever with a sales increase of 30% over the previous year) but also lifted the entire week leading up to Cyber Monday.

John Ostman, VP Sales and Marketing, Probus OneTouch

Our sales numbers are still rolling in for Cyber Monday, but at this point we have had a better than expected Cyber Monday in terms of overall sales. My initial numbers tell me that we had an overall increase of 33% in gross sales over Cyber Monday 2009. In terms of channel breakout we did see a + 33% change from our own .com properties, a +52% change in Amazon sales, and a -1% result from eBay sales (n general we have experienced declining eBay sales in 2010).

In terms of strategy we began online campaigns earlier this year with more products being represented with pay-per-click campaigns along with an increase in spending. We also increased the frequency of our email marketing with a 1:1 focus and incorporated social media in a more robust fashion (facebook/twitter/blog coupons and specials direct to those groups).

It appears that all efforts have resulted in positive outcomes for 2010.

Mary Hall, author of “The Recessionista” blog

I devoted a post this year on The Recessionista blog to the best fashion deals on Cyber Monday. I do this every year for both Cyber Monday + Black Friday as a service to my readers. This year showed unusually high uptick in site traffic for both posts. Cyber Monday traffic was up 7 % with new readers coming in from Google looking for “Cyber Monday” deals. Black Friday saw an even greater uptick with 11% increase in site traffic. I feel consumers were definitely shopping smarter this year, looking for coupon codes and deals before buying items. I also saw more traffic on my Twitter (ID: RECESSIONISTA) feed, which shows me shoppers are engaging in the new phenomenom of “social shopping” which is discussing deals with others before going online. I gained about 20 new followers on Cyber Monday. For small businesses, the use of free social media tools like Twitter is a real bonus. Twitter was busy all day with Cyber Monday a promoted trending topic and users using the hastag #CYBERMONDAY to get the deals.

Some of the discounters that don’t advertise specific items on sale like Marshalls and TJMAXX, become discussion topics on Twitter and the blogs. For these retailers, consumers like to discuss what they have in-store before heading out.

Another phenonmenom of Cyber Monday is consumers searching for coupon codes on blogs like mine, Twitter and sites like RetailMeNot.com, and then seeing how many codes can be “stacked” or used to achieve a discount. Some sites will accept more than 1 discount code.

Bottom line, Cyber Monday was a win for retailers and it was enhanced in my opinion by the use of social media with Blogs and Twitter carrying up to the minute deals for consumers to use to get best savings. Facebook also plays a role as some brands post specials in their Facebook groups for readers. On my blog, I featured the 40% discount that Hudson jeans offered their Facebook members on Cyber Monday. That was probably the biggest discount on a fashion item that I saw.

A final note on Cyber Monday feedback–I saw an uptick on people reading my post on their mobile devices, with a 60% increase in people reading via an iPhone!

Ed Stevens, Founder and CEO, Shopatron

As of 4 pm PT Shopatron’s merchant sales on Cyber Monday are up more than 50%. Faster stores, better conversion.

Aimee Quemuel, on behalf of ShopIgniter

Across ShopIgniter’s hundreds of social eCommerce customers (retailers and brand manufacturers) during Black Friday/Cyber Monday:

There was an 80% user acquisition increase

There was a 500% increase in unique visitors related to a viral/shareable coupons

In terms of some general ongoing numbers, over the past few months, one of ShopIgniter’s customers, Kembrel, was able to nab 20% of their overall transactions from their Facebook store, with 7-10% larger shopping cart size compared to their dot.com site. Kembrel also used ShopIgniter for several CyberMonday/Black Friday promotions, and attained similar results. To see their store, you can go to: http://apps.facebook.com/kembrel/

Lastly, some food for thought:

The fact that 20 percent of Kembrel’s sales is coming from social eCommerce is note worthy. If you compare it to online sales (with online sale rising by over 12% so far this holiday season), the growth from social eCommerce, still very much in its infancy, is much more rapid. In addition, the other important note is that even though most sales still come from their dot come site, transactions from their Facebook store are 7-10% bigger so if by optimizing and growing Facebook sales, companies will in turn be grow their overall business.

Some additional thoughts:

*NEW BUSINESS AND MASS REACH: This 20% is new incremental business, but its also 55% of new, registered shoppers are being acquired through Facebook. A launch of any channel (online/catalog/etc) that accounted for 20% of business and such customer acquisition within 5-6 months is significant

*THIS HIGHLIGHTS HOW FACEBOOK ISN’T JUST A MALL. There are vendors delivering Facebook stores for large brands, but we haven’t seen results like this b/c they aren’t combined with a Social Promotions Engine to run couponing, private/limited sales, referral programs, etc. Facebook isn’t just a mall to insert a store, you have to insert yourself into the social conversation with social promotions fans will talk about, and close the loop with the ability to convert the sale in Facebook.

*UNPROVEN CHANNEL: It stands out further as Facebook as a sales channel has been largely unproven to date.

*SHOPPING DYNAMIC: The 7-10% larger transaction size points to a shopping dynamic in the social network. Shopping with friends recommendations and insights, implied consent and approval through a product/coupon share is making people more comfortable spending money, and more of it. This is the perfect example of turning fans into revenue generating evangelist.

Kelsey Bollinger, Web Marketing Specialist, SKLZ

SKLZ.com participated in Cyber Monday in a number of ways and we’re confident this participation was a factor in the success of our biggest online sales day ever.

Our strategy for Cyber Monday was to offer a competitive promotion in order to be in the consideration set for Cyber Monday shoppers and holiday deal-seekers. We offered free shipping for all purchases at SKLZ.com, no minimum order requirement. The ways we communicated our Cyber Monday offer:

-Email to entire subscriber base at 12:30 am on Monday
-Twitter mentions
-Facebook mentions
-Submission of our offer to Cyber Monday websites
-Informed affilates of promotion

Cyber Monday participation contributed to these overall results:
-Online gross sales year over year for Cyber Monday increased 37%
-4.95% conversion rate for the 24-hour period (up approx 1.5% from our average holiday season conversion rate, up .5% year over year for Cyber Monday)
-Traffic to site up 58% year over year on Cyber Monday, up 40% from the average November 2010 daily traffic
-Our largest single gross sales day from visitors referred by facebook
-Highest single gross sales day from visitors referred by our affiliate program

All in all, the day was a huge success.

Adam Golomb, Director E-Commerce, Smileycookie.com

For Cyber Monday this year we ran Free Shipping for any order over $25. Our sales and orders were double from last year. Our normal threshold for free shipping is $40 and our customers seemed really excited about this promotion.

Related Resources

How to Maximize One-Day Shopping Events With 3 Easy Steps & Copywriting Tips

Offer Test: Discount Tied to Minimum Order Size Boosts Sales 25%

Ecommerce Holiday Playbook

David Kirkpatrick

About David Kirkpatrick

David is a reporter for MarketingSherpa and has over twenty years of experience in business journalism, marketing and corporate communications. His published work includes newspaper, magazine and online journalism; website content; full-length ghosted nonfiction; marketing content; and short fiction. He served as producer for the business research horizontal at the original Office.com, regularly reporting on the world of marketing; covered a beat for D/FW TechBiz, a member of the American City Business Journals family; and he provided daily reporting for multiple LocalBusiness.com cities. David’s other media and corporate clients include: USA Today, Oxford Intelligence, GMAC, AOL, Business Development Outlook and C-Level Media, among many others.

Categories: Consumer Marketing, Online Marketing Tags: , , ,

  1. December 3rd, 2010 at 11:09 | #1

    Really interesting post. While US visits to the top 500 retail sites were up 16 percent, I’d be really curious to see if traffic was also up for the little online ecommerce sites as well.

  2. December 5th, 2010 at 23:07 | #2

    Some of the e-tailer reactions offer really great insight on how they have managed it. Good tips for smaller e-commerce businesses. They also show how social media has a real impact on business. And Peter, I would like to know as well, if all etailers across the board have enjoyed Cyber Monday as the ones in the post.

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