On Black Friday And Cyber Monday, Ecommerce Aims To Prove Its Worth

TGimageWith turkeys almost in the oven, retailers and ecommerce companies are hoping the investments they’ve made all year long in audience segmentation, mobile tech and cross-channel measurement will pay off in the make-or-break holiday season.

Ecommerce in particular is looking to benefit from the maturation of ongoing retail and ecommerce trends – such as offline data onboarding, the retail adoption of digital point solutions and improvements in the mobile web. While these aren’t new, said Matt Asay, Adobe’s VP and head of mobile, they are beginning to impact spending decisions in ways they hadn’t previously.

Those impacts are felt most acutely by the ad and mar tech ecosystem. “Rates always jump on days when there are high conversions, but people are preparing for it to be at a new level this year,” said Jonathan Opdyke, CEO and co-founder of the ecommerce performance marketer HookLogic.

Notably, investment banking firm Jefferies issued its US expectations around ecommerce for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. While it was underwhelmed in general, citing a growth of only 4% in overall retail sales, there was a silver lining.

Adoption of new smartphones that are better for product sales (i.e., have a larger screen), the rising share of millennial shoppers, digital coupon use and location-based promotions all buoyed mobile shopping.

Campaign planning

With intent, conversion and inventory rates expected to rise sharply, there are changes to the dynamics in how brands plan their campaigns. For example, YellowHammer SVP Sam Appelbaum said inventory prices on and following Thanksgiving make customer acquisition campaigns prohibitively expensive.

“Brands are better suited running their prospecting campaigns in the months leading up to the major shopping days, and then focus the media spend on those days to activate against customers that already in the brand funnel,” he said.

Opdyke said with Thanksgiving falling so late in the month this year, HookLogic had to press clients to reallocate budgets from December into November – the concern being that a brand could hit their November spend ceiling on a day like Cyber Monday, which requires a considerable outlay.

But for many stakeholders, from category leaders like Walmart and Amazon to small ecommerce markets or toy manufacturers, “There’s a two- or three-week period that could determine whether you have a great year or a terrible year,” said Opdyke.

“Brands see the value digital solutions can bring to shopping,” said Asay. “And there’s a feeling that if they build those platforms, that’s where consumers want to meet them. That’s the hope, at least.”


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