Starbucks has brought back their beloved red cups, so it must be holiday season. Several surveys have suggested that this holiday season is one that is very important for internet marketers because of the increase in online shoppers, but also, mobile shoppers. People are embracing the ease of shopping at home, and making purchase decisions right on their smartphone and tablet. We've gathered some statistics for the holiday season, as well as some things that you need to pay attention to to make sure you're ready.


Hello, and welcome to The Daily Brown Bag. Today we want to talk about getting ready for this year’s holiday shopping season as an online marketer. I’m Chad Hill and I’m joined by Adam Stetzer.

Good morning, Chad, and welcome, everybody, to the Brown Bag! Yeah, the holidays are coming faster than everybody is ready for, but there are a few things to note. It’s going to be a shorter season this year because of how late Thanksgiving is. There’s going to be 25 days of the traditional holiday shopping season, which is six days shorter, and it’s the shortest season we’ve seen since 2002. This means, actually, that people will probably start doing some shopping before the traditional start on Black Friday. But, getting ready for this is a big deal for retailers and it’s also a big push for pretty much all of online marketing. Here are some statistics to help you understand why.

Forty percent of annual retail sales occur during the holiday shopping season, so that’s a whoppingly large amount of money for such a short amount of time. Last year on Small Business Saturday, American Express estimates its total spending at $5.5 billion with local businesses and restaurants which is also a very large number. A Google survey from July indicates that almost half of all consumers plan to purchase online this season, so we continue to see a fairly strong migration from traditional shopping to online shopping.

Adobe also has a study out and is making all sorts of predictions about the numbers we will see this year, and Chad, some of these are very interesting. They’re predicting highest ever online spending in whole dollar amounts. They’re saying this Cyber Monday we should see an increase of 15% in total dollars spent from last year which is expected to reach $2.27 billion in online sales. They’re also predicting that Black Friday will be up 17% and that on Thanksgiving itself, spending will be up 21%. Last but not least, I don’t want to leave out mobile because we’ve been covering statistics on the increasing growth of mobile for quite a while here in our Brown Bag series. Consumers will shop 40% more from their mobile devices than last year, and it’s predicted that Thanksgiving itself will be the biggest mobile shopping day. That data is also confirmed by an Experion survey. So, there’s lots of interesting data. What kind of tips can we give to our internet marketers and resellers in our community?

Those numbers keep going up every year. It’s harder and harder to be a local brick and mortar business, but we do have some tips. Whether you’re a small business locally or whether you’re a small online retailer, we’ve got about five things we want to talk about.

1. First of all, you need to adjust your pay-per-click campaigns. People are looking for ad copy that talks about the holiday season. If you’re running any promotions, make sure that any ads you’re running, whether paid search or display ads, mention the holiday season and, potentially, if you have landing pages on your website that talk about holiday gift guides and whatnot, you need to link ads to those pages, so start there.

2. The second one is to get email marketing campaigns ready, so pull together lists of your past customers or past prospects. Any specials that you’re running also need to be blasted out via email, and I know different companies have different approaches. They sometimes have a multi-part program that talks about different products going through the shopping season, so again, consider that.

3. The next thing is, as you said, Adam, be ready for mobile. One in three people will be doing some part of their holiday shopping via mobile device, so you don’t want to miss out on that opportunity.

4. Then, get your website ready as well. As I mentioned before, a lot of that is content. Make sure that you’ve got the right content, that you’ve put the holiday promotions on the website, but also that you’re ready for any increased volume. If you’re looking at your website and it’s running a little slow, make sure you’ve got enough capacity, because you will see an increase in traffic, most likely.

5. The final thing is to get ready on social media both for people asking questions from people looking for things like gift advice and for customer service inquiries.

There’s a lot of things to do, but now is the time to be planning.

Yeah, there are many themes that we’ve hit before, Chad. Customer service and social media and the trends there were discussed in several previous Brown Bags. Give those a watch if you’re interested. It’s going to be particularly important during the holiday shopping blitz. We’ve been talking about being ready for mobile and things you need to do to your website-- responsive design, things that need to be there, the increase of mobile usage-- as we’ve been covering the numbers that have been coming out of Google. So, again, there are a lot of great Brown Bags to watch there.

I think the commerce guys, of course, know the technicality of this buying and have been preparing for Black Friday and the holiday buying season since probably August. But, I think if you’re not an e-commerce it’s easy to think it doesn’t apply to you. But, this is a good opportunity to review these things Chad has talked about. Get your PPC campaign in shape, make sure your email marketing, drip campaigns, and nurtures are working, make sure your lists are well-segmented and that your list growth is good and that you don’t see a lot of spiking on subscribes, and think about new ways to get people onto those lists, because your website and your marketing strategy can always use that facelift, and now’s a good excuse to do it even if you’re not in e-commerce.

That’s our Brown Bag for today! We’d like to hear your thoughts. If you’ve got some great plans and things you want to share, we enjoy seeing your comments and we hope to see you back here tomorrow. Please subscribe to our YouTube channel.