Holiday sales in 2011 are forecasted to be 3% higher than the previous year as American retailers sell nearly half a trillion dollars of merchandise. Over $60 billion of that will be sold online, up 13.5% from 2010.
The Future Is Guided by the Past
The first step towards a successful online holiday season is to review what worked well for your brand in the previous holidays:
The subject lines
The dates, days of the week and time of day they were sent
The particular offers of discounts, free shipping, coupons, etc.
The segmentation strategy
The dynamic content you included
Although you should not make this year's holiday campaign a carbon copy of the previous one, there are other factors to consider, such as whether you followed the lead of the majority of e-tailers and increased your frequency during November and December of last year. Even though you may have previous permission from your subscribers to vary your frequency during the holidays, there is no escaping the inevitable list churn that is triggered by any increase of email newsletter sends. If your experience from last year is that the loss of subscribers was minor enough to outweigh the increased sales, then you can let that trend guide you in this holiday season.
In the careful evaluation of the positive and negative factors of your previous holiday campaign you should consider the elements that created movement on the success scale in either direction, and it should not solely be an application of the conversion rate. It is important to analyze all of your approaches to determine the ones that increased spam complaints, or conversely scored more highly on viral qualities that allowed them to be forwarded and shared to a greater degree.
The growth of mobile device access has created a situation where operating an online business without a mobile friendly website version is roughly equivalent to not having a website at all. Integrating your cross-channel campaign is of even greater impact this year than last, so whatever efforts you previously expended on coordinating your email newsletters with your social media and mobile device campaigns should be increased this holiday season.