There are four Mondays between Thanksgiving and Christmas that are the peak volume days during the holiday online shopping season, according to a report issued by Performics, a marketing division of DoubleClick. Cyber Monday 2 and Cyber Monday 3 consistently generate the highest volumes, according to the report. Therefore, December 5 and 12 are likely to be the largest online sales-volume days for the 2005 holiday season. In general U.S. online retail sales this holiday season will hit $18 billion, a 25 percent increase over last year, according to Forrester Research. "These trends provide marketers with the foresight to anticipate peaks in sales volume and prepare accordingly," says Chris Henger, vice president of marketing and product development at Performics.
Which days Thanksgiving and Christmas fall on can impact these trends from year to year, according to Henger. For example, in 2005, many e-commerce sites can still offer guaranteed shipping on Cyber Monday 4, December 19, because adequate time remains prior to the Christmas holiday. This, in turn, could result in higher levels of e-commerce sales on Cyber Monday 4 than in previous years. "Online retailers can make more specific predictions by considering their product mix, and this year, retailers should recognize the impact of Cyber Monday 4 due to the extra time before Christmas, which falls on a Sunday this year," Henger says.
Henger cites four marketing tips for online retailers to keep in mind this holiday season:
First, consider product assortment. The nature of the products sold will have an impact on the sales peaks of individual marketers. Personalized, monogrammed, or other customized items are more likely to peak earlier.
Second, understand the promotional strategy and shipping offers. Early in the shopping season and through Cyber Monday 3, marketers can achieve substantial results with free shipping.
Third, prepare operationally for the peaks. Although marketers tend to ramp up prior to the holiday season, data such as this can provide more specific predictions that can help day-to-day planning efforts for call center staffing, inventory, SCM, site traffic, and other considerations.
Fourth, slow down on Saturdays. Each week during the holiday season the data shows a dramatic spike on Monday, followed by a gradual decrease throughout the week, ending with the softest sales on Saturday. Sunday begins a slow climb that spikes on Monday.
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