Google collects data, a lot of data. They collect usage data every time you use their search engine or any of their services and the Android phone. This data is available through a few different online sources; the one we use the most is Google Insights for Search. Many of the ideas we come up with are based off actionable data we see from Google Insights. We have 32 pages of Google Insights for Search charts in our final Holiday 2011 Run-Up eBook.
In 2009 and 2010 Google extended the standard Insights service and published several reports referred to as "Think Insights." We've combed through their Post-Holiday Learnings for 2011 to find the usable golden nuggets jewelers should know about.
Let's start with the key Takeaways from the Holiday 2010 data:
1. Because of the economy, consumers shopped promotional periods more than ever
2. Jewelers should use the phrases "Free Shipping Day," "Black Friday," "Thanksgiving coupons," and "Cyber Monday" in their online promotions
3. Most online visits on Black Friday were from consumers planning their shopping strategies
Google Search showed an overall increase in usage for the entire 2010 season. Here's the percentage increase in traffic to retail websites from 5 days of specific interest:
* Thanksgiving Day: 9% increase in 2010 over 2009
* Black Friday: 13% increase in 2010 over 2009
* Cyber Monday: 16% increase in 2010 over 2009
* Christmas Day: 3% increase in 2010 over 2009
* Day After Christmas: 3% increase in 2010 over 2009
Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday are attributed to consumers planning their shopping strategies, which indicates your website needs to be ready at least a few weeks before.
Free Shipping Day has become a phenomenon in December over the last few years. Many statistic agencies measured the growth of it last year. Even if you always provide free shipping to customers, this date is special because you have to guarantee that the customer will receive their purchase before Christmas. In some cases, for participating retail jewelers, you might need to spend money on the FedEx Overnight instead of the normal free FedEx 3-day.
The "Free Shipping Day" online offer saw a 61% increase in sales in 2010 over 2009. 53% of those surveyed by Google said they took advantage of free shipping offers in 2010.
Free shipping day this year is Friday December 16, 2011. You can sign-up to FreeShippingDay.org to officially participate at http://www.freeshippingday.com/merchant-sign-up/
Take a good look at that page; even if you don't have e-commerce, you might be able to get the extra publicity.
Post-Holiday shopping is another important metric Google Think Insights presented. Although we know that many independent retail jewelers will plan their own winter vacation from Christmas to the first week of January, we suggest that those vacations be held off until after the post holiday buying rush. It might be tradition for jewelers to be closed, but so are many other businesses and according to Google's data 45% of consumers went shopping during the post Christmas week. It seems like a wise business decision to postpone your own holiday vacation. It's our suggestion that you could increase sales through online promotions and attract customers while your competitor down the street is closed that week.
According to our own data and that of Google Think Insights, it's our assessment that you might be more profitable that week than when you normally would reopen during the 1st or 2nd week of January.
Google reported that deals and sales helped as post-holiday shopping motivators. In fact, 42% of the shoppers surveyed last year said they were waiting for last minute and post-holiday sales.
If your retail store or website are open on December 26 and 27, you should create offers that target people making purchases for themselves. Ads should focus on saying "give a gift to yourself" or "we have the gift you really wanted" as well as including phrases like "After Christmas Sale."
If you're typically not open but decide to take this plunge on December 26 and 27, don't simply unlock your doors and hope for the best. You will need to drive the foot traffic to you. Consumers have a lot of things to accomplish the day after Christmas, like returning the gifts they hated, buying discounted Christmas decorations, and even starting their gift buying for next year.
We suggest sending another email blast on Christmas Eve, or early December 26th that says you are open and what will be on sale. You should also use Facebook Wall posts and Status Updates to send out your notice. Don't forget newspapers. Yeah, we said newspapers... consumers will still tear through them looking for the after Christmas sales.
Have you looked at the calendar yet this year? The 4 major holidays of Hanukkah, Yule, Christmas and Kwanzaa are in a row over 6 days. Christmas is on a Sunday. After Christmas sales will completely dominate the Sunday circulars. Although ad space might be at a premium, you will have a real good opportunity to get noticed.
So what kind of sale should you have? Perhaps it's the inventory clearance sale (i.e. another method to sell off the old dogs) or perhaps you can have the 40% off everything in the showcases for 2 days only. Naturally you keep the items not on sale locked safely in your vault.
Far be it from us to prevent you from making a sale, so if someone came in looking for a non-sale item you could simply retrieve it from its post-Christmas slumber.
Hopefully this is good food for thought.
Our Google Insights data will continue tomorrow.