We may have imported Black Friday and Cyber Monday from our US cousins and their Thanksgiving traditions, but don’t let that take the limelight from our own festive consumer bonanza. While UK shoppers spent just over £1bn on Black Friday this year, we spent almost £3bn during our Boxing Day sales last year.
So while the headlines may focus on the Black Friday we inherited from overseas, consumers here are still crunching the biggest numbers on our own, very British festive traditions. So how can you make the most of the Boxing Day sales during the holiday season?
Mobile emphasis on Boxing Day browsing
In 2013 IBM confirmed what we already knew when its study revealed “a majority of Boxing Day traffic to UK retail websites came from mobile devices”. No surprises there. But what was interesting is the fact that mobile conversions are dominated by tablets, while the browsing itself more often takes place on smartphones.
Meanwhile, customers physically walking through the doors is dropping throughout the Boxing Day sales, in contrast to a sharp rise in traffic for the same period.
How to make the most of Boxing Day traffic: Make Boxing Day a key feature in your digital marketing efforts during the build-up to Christmas. Create PPC campaigns, landing pages, social content and blog posts to maximise your reach. And, whether you’re an eCommerce brand or not, give retailers every option you can to take advantage of those hikes in traffic.
You don’t want to ignore offline sales
If you own physical stores then you may have been discouraged by the news from last Boxing Day that less customers walked through shop doors then previous years. But don’t let that dampen your Boxing Day ambitions, because the high-street is still generating a healthy influx of festive bargain hunters and the numbers are way too big to ignore.
There’s also the fact that many brands still have a lot of work to do with tying in the online and offline buying process – so there’s plenty of room to improve and get more feet walking through your door,
How to make the most of high-street footfall: Promote your in-store sales and events digitally as well and offer incentives for people to pay store visits – eCoupons, special in-store prices or discounts for picking online purchases up from stores, for example. Do everything you can to bridge the gap between online traffic and in-store visits to get the most from both channels.
User intent shifts from Christmas shopping to bargain hunting
Key to making the most of the Boxing Day sales is understanding the shift in user intent that happens very quickly after Christmas. John Lewis took full advantage of this last year by slashing prices on the products its customers respond strongest to:
“We know that customers quickly switch from Christmas shopping to bargain hunting and we’re thrilled to see a good start to this year’s clearance online.
We expect customers to continue to log on throughout today [Boxing Day] to take advantage of the thousands of offers we have available and then from tomorrow, browse in-store as our shops across the country reopen their doors.” – Mark Lewis, online director at John Lewis.
Not only is this tying on the online and offline conversions we talked about it the previous point, it also accounts for a surge in new tablets and smartphones being bought at discount prices in John Lewis stores during the Boxing Day sales.
How to make the most of user intent: First of all, understand the shift of user intent that takes place after Christmas. Shoppers switch into bargain hunt mode and they’re almost exclusively buying for themselves at this point. Next you need to understand what your prospects and customers expect from you at this time of year. What products do they want to save money on most and what kind of price cuts will it take to get them clicking buy or walking into your store?
So those are the key takeaways from last year’s Boxing Day sales headlines and stats. In many ways the same rules apply: user intent is key, mobile traffic dominates and maximising success largely relies on linking those online and offline micromoments. The important distinction is that you treat the Boxing Day sales as their own entity and market for them specifically – in addition to Black Friday, Christmas, New Year and the wider holiday season.