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BizReport : Ecommerce : July 26, 2010

Look to Christmas past for clues to 2010 marketing success

By looking back over past holiday seasons, marketers can better understand consumer behavior across a variety of channels. A recent report from Epsilon examines trends that retailers should heed in the countdown to Christmas.

by Helen Leggatt

epsilon_logo.pngDo you know which week of the year was best for reaching consumers last year? Or which day of the week attracted the better email conversion rates? If not, then perhaps you ought to have a look back at last year's figures and get to know the behavior of your potential buyers a little better.

Being prepared is a key driver of sales success over the holiday period. Knowing when, what and how to send messages to consumers will aid campaign development. Being able to forecast levels of response will allow better planning for website performance, customer service and stock control.

To illustrate what can be unearthed by going back over previous data, here are some key findings from Epsilon's Holiday Trend Report which is based on their analysis of the 2009 holiday season:

- Big ticket items were purchased early on in the season

- Email open rates were highest earlier in the season

- Email open rates in 2009 averaged 14.4% vs. 12% in 2008

- In both 2008 and 2009, sales peaked later in the holiday season compared to prior years

- For Online and Call Center/Mail Order, sales increased in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and reached their peak in Week 49

- Retail reached its peak closer to Christmas Day, in Week 50

- The use of "$" in email subject lines drove higher open rates than the use of "%"

- Tuesdays and Fridays were the heaviest email volume days and the peak revenue per email days

- Email delivered on a Friday attracted the highest opens, clicks and conversions.

"Early planning is the key to a successful holiday season. By synchronizing efforts across channels, marketers can create a seamless experience for customers," said Kevin Mabley, SVP of Strategic Services at Epsilon. "It is not just what you say, but where you say it and when."

August is looming, before you know it Cyber Monday will be upon us. Don't leave the discovery of vital marketing intelligence until it a time when it's too late to be useful.

Tags: campaign development, Christmas, email marketing, holiday season, marketing campaign, multi-channel retailers, online retail

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