It’s Nov. 1—let the holiday promotions begin!
With Halloween candy wrappers now peppering sidewalks, e-retailers today began launching their holiday season assaults, including sales, gift guides and sneak peeks at deals to come later in the month.
North America’s largest e-retailer, Amazon.com Inc., reopened its Black Friday Deals Store page for its U.S. and Canadian sites. Today the page is populated with the same products and offers as the standard “today’s deals” page but at the address amazon.com/blackfriday. Amazon says it will add new product offers—offers made by Amazon for products it sells directly and offers by its marketplace sellers—as frequently as every five minutes during the season. Amazon’s Black Friday page is a static placeholder page outside of the holiday shopping period.
In a recent ChannelAdvisor Corp. survey, 55% of online retailers surveyed that sell on Amazon say they expect Amazon’s marketplace to generate the most sales for their businesses compared with other online channels during the 2016 holiday season.
Amazon, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, also bowed category-specific gift guides for electronics, home goods and handmade goods, the latter merchandised from the Handmade at Amazon shop that launched a year ago.
Web-only consumer electronics e-retailer Newegg Inc.’s “Black November”-themed promotion also returned today, offering early access to an assortment of deals. It is the eighth year the e-retailer has used the Black November catchphrase to spur consumers to shop its deals.
Newegg (No. 17 in the Top 500), says it will rotate deals throughout the month, and some weeks will focus on particular product categories. For instance, the week of Nov. 8-14 Newegg will be specially discounting gaming products and accessories. Further, Newegg will offer deep discounts on “dozens” of products on the two Fridays (Nov. 11 and 18) leading up to Black Friday. The array and frequency of deals “gives our customers the flexibility to shop great deals when and where it’s most convenient,” says Merle McIntosh, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Newegg.
Meanwhile an email from Target Corp., which already announced it is shipping all orders free through Jan. 1, showed how it will try to drive consumers into Target stores this season. An email and mobile push notification sent today to its Cartwheel mobile coupon app users says it will offer 50% off a top toy each day from Nov. 1-Dec. 24—in-store only for consumers using the app. Today’s discounted toy, for example, is a Barbie for President pack of two dolls (president and vice president). The online price is $24.99 and consumers can use a coupon code to get 20% off. With Cartwheel in store, consumers get 50% off. Target is No. 22 in the Top 500.
Sam’s Club, too, used its mobile platforms to alert consumers to in-store promotions. The warehouse club division of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., No. 4 in the Top 500, sent a push notification that said “Get 1st look at our holiday savings!” to app users. Tapping the alert connected users to a preview of a one-day sale taking place Nov. 12—only in stores.
On the flip side, Babies R Us, part of No. 35-ranked Toys R Us Inc., debuted a sale for web shoppers before those same offers are available in-store. The retailer today sent an email with the subject line: “Lucky You! Early Access to Our HoHoHoliday Sale!” The online-only sale runs through Thursday; the promotion will be valid in stores after then.
Other holiday-themed email subject lines sent today by Top 1000 e-retailers include:
- Overstock.com Inc. (No. 29): “It’s happening! The holiday sales are LIVE!”
- Bath & Body Works (a division of L Brands Inc., No. 28): “Christmas starts NOW!”
- Fat Brain Toys (No. 497): “A sneak peek at the best new toys for the holidays”
- Poppin (No. 519): “The holiday gift shop is here!”
- Kate Spade (No. 140): “the gift guide is here!”
- Wayfair LLC (No. 24): “The perfect gift? Our holiday guide is here!”
- eBags Inc. (No. 167): “Kickoff the holiday season with 25% off sitewide”
- Gap Inc. (No. 20): “Gifts! Gifts! Gifts! The holidays are here…”
It’s likely that these e-retailers will get more eyeballs on their emails now than later in the holiday shopping season. Data from GoDaddy Operating Co. LLC shows that holiday marketing emails sent immediately after Halloween last year had a higher open rate than any other week from November through New Year’s Eve.
31% of U.S. consumers say they’ve already started their holiday shopping, up five percentage points from a year ago, according to Adobe’s 2016 Digital Insights Shopping Predictions survey of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers.