Getting ready for the holiday season at Collage.com

Graham Davis's picture
Instructor
11/22/2016
Social Media

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November has always been a crazy month in my professional life. For years, I worked on campaigns and in the political world, where obviously November election days were critical.

Now, I find myself equally busy in November – as the marketing director for Collage.com, a custom photo gifts ecommerce company. We're coming up on our busiest time of the year: Black Friday and Cyber Week, and our team has been working for months on getting everything ready.

What goes into this from a digital marketing standpoint?

We look at products our customers would be interested in getting great deals on, like our bestselling fleece photo blankets or our 12-month photo calendars. These are always products people like to give or receive as gifts around the holidays, so we plan out special promotions that include them.

As we discussed in this class, email marketing is still a major way brands reach out to their customer base – even though most people don't consider email to be "social media" in the same way Twitter or Facebook is. We have hundreds of thousands of previous customers or people who signed up for discounts on our email list, and we've mapped out a series of emails between Thanksgiving and the end of Cyber Week that relate to our customers' interests. We've then scheduled those same promotions to go up on social media throughout this critical sales period.

Throughout the whole holiday season (and all year round), we pay close attention to which products are selling the most. Not only is this important for purposes of our inventory, it's also useful to constantly refine and improve our marketing efforts. If a product isn't selling that we expect to, we can look at ways to make it more attractive to customers. If a product surprises us and sells really well, we might expose it more to other customers, or look for other ways to keep its success going. We use tools for this like we covered in this class, like Google Analytics – along with a variety of other data analysis resources, from SQL databases to millions of pivot tables in spreadsheets. 

Do you shop online for Black Friday and Cyber Monday? What do you look for when you shop online? What do you like and dislike about online shopping experiences? I can't wait to see what you think! 

Comments & Feedback

Student

I do like to shop online for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. When I shop online I am mainly looking to find a good deal. I like to shop online as it is easy, convenient, and I do not have to deal with all the chaos and disorder that can sometimes follow in person shopping around this time. One thing I don't like about online shopping is that for buying clothes they are so different from store to store that you really need to try them on which you can't do online or you think it looks one way but then you get it and its a slightly different color or shape. You fully know what you are getting when you are there in person.

Student

No I dont think I have ever shopped on black friday, that very well might change next year! I dont make an effort to do any shopping on cyber monday either, but would be more inclined to do so.When I shop online I am usually already looking for something and usually not just browsing. I really like filters, sometimes could be more specific or websites lack good ones.

Student

I get emails from my favorite retailers so I know what kinds of deals they're having. Depending on the deal I'll participate in Black Friday or Cyber Monday - or if I'm looking for a gift for someone else from places I don't get their emails, I'll actively seek out the product I'm looking for. In a lot of ways, I prefer online shopping to shopping in person. It's easier and faster to find what you're looking for. Additionally, you are able to read reviews of what other people thought of the product, which is really helpful in deciding whether or not to purchase the product. You can also compare different brands or even find things cheaper a lot faster that you would ever be able to do by shopping in person. That being said, it's sometimes difficult to return products online and the product photos may not reveal what the product really looks like, which can be frustrating. 

Student

I prefer to shop online for Black Friday day and do participate in Cyber Monday. When I online shop I either am looking for specific items (such as gifts for family and friends) or I tend t browse the site for items for myself. I try to mainly look in the discountend merchandise section on a site before exploring full priced items. In my opinion the main reason to shop on these holidays are for the discounted merchandise, so searching for full priced items is pointless. I like shopping online because of the convienece, however I dislike that there is no way to try on/out the items you're contemplating purchasing. Is there anywhere where we could find data or research on the savings made during these holidays?

Student

I do shop online for Black Friday and Cyber Monday because a lot of the times websites really do offer good sales during that time. I mostly look for clothing or some type of deal on gadgets that I am interested in. What I like about online shopping is that I don't have to deal with all of the nonsense of the mall. There are so many people everywhere you go, and they are so rude about everything I think it is ridiculous. What I dislike about online shopping is that the websites freeze a lot because of the amount of people that are on them, which becomes very irritating. 

Student

I do shop online for Black Friday, but usually not Cyber Monday. Generally I end up shopping for clothes or gifts for other people. I don't really have any dislikes about online shopping experiences aside from the occasional shipping crisis, but I love being able to not have to fight the crowds during black friday.

Student

I like to shop online because it is much more convient than going in-store, but I don't do it often. I am a little skeptical of online shopping just because some things don't always look the way they do online. Most of my Black Friday shopping is done in-store since I usually have other people that want to go as well. I have never participated in Cyber Monday, but I've heard the deals are much better. I mostly look at clothes while online shopping or possible gifts on Amazon for friends. My question is how do stores keep their sites from crashing on such a big shopping holiday?

Student

I shop online for Black Friday and Cyber Monday more than go to the actual stores because it's so much less hectic on the internet. I want to find what I want and get out so the internet is a great place for this. This year, I specifically waited until Black Friday to buy Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare because I knew it would be on sale. I like the convenience of being able to find items fast online, but the downside to this is that everything is on sale and I find myself looking at everything on sale which increases the time I spend on the site. Although, that could just be me getting distracted and not an actual problem of the site! 

Student

A lot of the people I know usually shop online for Black Friday and Cyber Monday just because it's more convenient. You don't have to wait in line, look through piles of clothes or products to find the one you want or fight with anyone. I usually look for the bestselling that is on sale but then I usually end up buying the item that isn't on sale. Everything is laid out so you can see each product but it could take a long time because there're so many pages. Since I'm a tiny girl, my sizes are always out of stock when it comes to online shopping. 

Student

If I choose to shop online for Black Friday, it would only cater to techonology or accessories rather than clothing. However this generally occurs later in the day after I phsyically go out early in the morning to whatever mall that is in my area, and take advantage of Black Friday deals on clothing. Sometimes I take advantage of buying clothes online on Cyber Monday, however I see it as a huge gamble. Buying the right size can be risky, as I personally hate dealing with the hassle of going out and having to physically return the clothing if it doesn't fit. I recently dealt with a horrendous online shopping experience when I was trying to buy a winter parka on Macy's website. The coat came, and to my surprise it fit too large, and when I made the return they did not have the exact size I needed in store, so I ordered it online while being in-store. When the coat came a second time in a smaller size, it was way too small on me, so I decided to get a different style, in which I had to personally return it and once again, order it online. The coat came again and it did not fit well, so I once again returned it in person and asked for an in-store credit, to which my mom bought off me. I took advantage of this year's Black Friday and used the money towards a new coat at a different store, in which I personally tried on different sizes to find the right fit.  

Student

In recent years I have done a bit more online shopping but not much. The reason I am hesitant to do online shopping is you never know exactly what you are getting, as opposed to a store that you can try on the closes or feel the fabric of the item, online you don't know how it will fit and even if you will like it. In a store you can immediatly purchase the product and be able to wear it right away. Why I dislike online shopping is you have to wait a few days or weeks for it to be delivered and then if you don't like it you have to return it and are still left empty handed. Sometimes I can see why people in large cities like New York or San Franciso like to have things delivered becuase it is more convenient for them. I just am still very skeptical about online shopping and trust going to the store for clothing more. 

Student

I like shooping online because it is really convenient. I don't need to go anywhere just waiting for package arrive. I like shopping dress, comestic, purses also some work out devices. Sometimes I do not like buying clothes online because when you not fit fot the size, you have to return it back and wait again for another size. In Black Friday, I purchase Chanel make up stuffs and my favorite brand Kate Spade dress becasue they have a nice 70% off deal. But sometimes I also like hang out with my friends to shop in the store.

Student

I don't shop on Black Friday anymore. I sometimes shop on Cyber Monday. Usually I look for discounts on electronics and clothes. I like that Cyber Monday is accessible and I can shop for anything I'm interested in rather than going to individual stores. I dislike that things get sold out quickly and sometimes the quality product I want is unattainable. 

Student

I shop both online and in stores for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. When I shop online, I look for good deals and sitewide savings. I like shopping online because I don't have to go anywhere or wait in lines but I don't like how I can't try on the products. 

Student

I always shop online, especially in Black Friday. I always looking for dress, cosmetic, and bags online in that day. In fact, I like shopping in the mall, Because I can see the real product and I can try it, however, there is not many brands I like near my location, thus,  I only can buy them online. I just feel online shopping is so so.  

Student

When I shop online during black friday and cyber monday, I usually already have an idea in my head of what i'm looking for. typically stores advertise their deals ahead of time to get you interested which is definitely a plus because it saves me time, but i also really hate how you're basically competing with dozens of other people for an item that's going to run out of stock in an hour. The sales that last multiple days are way better imo.

Student

I do not shop online for Black Friday, I do however shop in-store on Black Friday. During Cyber Monday I do tend to do a lot of shopping though. I often look for the best deals while shopping online. I like the idea that I do not have to deal with large crowds of rude people while shopping online but I dislike not being able to physically touch products or try them on. 

Student

I do shop online on Black Friday, but I don't end up purchasing until Cyber Monday. I work in retail so I can tell when there is a bad deal and a good deal. Some promotions are ones thaat usually go on any anyways and retailers make you think you're actually saving a bunch, but really you don't know any better. I am alsso a huge online shopping fan. I love that you can see the clothes in every color and size. It is also easier to compare prices across stores.

Student

I don’t usually shop online during Black Friday but I check out what deals sites have on Cyber Monday. I look for significant prices decreases while shopping such as deals that you can only find on cyber Monday. I enjoy online shopping because I can shop at my leisure in whatever environment I so choose. However what I really dislike about online shopping is possible shipping costs and not being able to try clothing on. It sometimes seems like more effort to look up reviews and info about the clothing products to ensure I select the right size and know the material.

Student

I usually don't participate in black friday sales, online or in-store. I'm watching snapchat stories of my friends today and many of them have been shopping at local malls and department stores. The corporate holiday is still alive and well but it is fair to say black friday is slowing shifting to online shopping. 

Student

I predominantly do most of my general shopping online. So for Black Friday and Cyber Monday I do even more online shopping. I usually look for coupon codes and sales through websites to see what is appealing for me. I absolutely despise when websites false advertise. For example in big letter on the top of the site it will say 25% OFF or FREE SHIPPING, but then is always a catch and you have to spend like $100 or $150 for the deal to apply. I like it when websites have everything easy to access and clearly shown on their website. There are so many times I spend too much time looking for a product that is available because the site did not make it easy to locate.

Student

I love shopping, maybe a little too much. However, I don't really shop a lot on Black Friday and Cyber Monday because I do not need anything at that time of the year. However I do think that shopping for good deals is kind of fun, but I much rather do that online that in person. When you shop online, you don't have to go through messy stores and loud people. You also get to  see different price points and products. 

Student

I personally do not shop on Black Friday because I do not have the motivation to fight over something to get a good deal. I do not really unerstand what is so important about finding something on sale, but sacrificing your sanity. I do a little bit of Cyber Monday shopping. I think I like it because you are allowed to compare prices instead of having to go too a bunch and end up not getting anything. I like that I can have the sale right at my finger tips when I am in bed. My dislikes is they are not as good as black Friday shopping sales on average. I think that both are great ideas for people, but some people it is not their atmosphere. I think that if I like it enough I am willing to pay for it in full price. 

Student

I very rarely shop on Black Friday. Personally the stores are too crowded and the sales on the big ticket items that you would probably want to buy on those days are great but require hours of combating long lines and sometimes rude people. I do however always partake in Cyber Monday and I enjoy it a lot. I generally don't shop for anything in particular on Cyber Monday I mostly just assess different items/products I need/want throughout the year and wait to by them around holiday sales time. What I really enjoy about online shopping is the ease and everything is always right at your finger tips, you don't have to search through aisles of shelves in stores to find what you want. The convenience of being able to shop whenever you want especially for those of uss with busy lives and can't go to the mall during normal business hours is important to online shopping's success. 

Student

I personally do not like online shopping since I prefer to check the real product. But If I do onlineshop, I tend to check reviews from previos buyers. Online shopping is nice that I do not have to go to the store and stuck with so many people and saves a lot of time. But sometimes, I get the product that is somewhat different than I expected based on online pictures. 

Student

I will sometimes shop online for Black Friday but usually always for Cyber Monday. When I am shopping online, I usually look for free shipping or something that is buy one get one free or half off. I look for something that is worth the online order. The one thing I dislike is not being able to see it in person especially clothing. That is what usually gives me hesitation when it comes to ordering online.

Student

I personally feel that there are lots of digital marketing strategies that can be employed for the Collage.com website which is basically a custom photo gifts ecommerce company. For instance, you can use a lot of Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing for your company during the busy month of November where you have days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This can be accomplished by creating blog posts, content offers with regard to the best deals of the products that you are selling during days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. You can also create an audience persona to sell products for a particular audience more effectively during the busy month of November as well as use email marketing to send emails more effectively for users with regard to the best deals of your products during the busy month of November. This can help your company gain a lot of customers and eventually lots of profits during the busy month of November if they use the right strategy for Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing. Another way by which your company can gain lots of customers and eventually lots of profits is by using mobile marketing wisely. This is because many users these days access the internet by using smart phones. Hence, it is very important to make your website mobile friendly or site responsive as the design of a website in a smart phone is different to the design of a website in a laptop or a desktop. This is due to the fact that cell phones have a smaller screen when compared to a laptop or a desktop. Hence, it will be hard for users to view all the contents of a website in a smartphone when compared to a laptop or a desktop. The final way by which I feel that your company can get a lot of customers and eventually more profits is by using search engine optimization wisely. This can help in increasing the traffic to the website by using various strategies like using the right keywords in your website for instance.

I personally have never shopped online during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. However, I have experience in shopping online. I generally shop for various products online like Laptops, Books etc. I am a big fan of online shopping because you can get more information about any product you want rather than may be going to a store and purchasing a product. I have not found any drawback with regard to online shopping. However, my question is due to the recent growth in online shopping, what are the ways by which the offline shopping industry can improve their sales so that they do not drift when compared to the online shopping industry which has experienced huge growth with regard to their sales in the past few years?

Student

I love Black Friday! This is the time I can get the greatest discount. I've been saving money a month ago for online shopping during Black Friday time. This year, I bought more than last year. Usually I bought watch, bags, and clothes online. I would put items in the wishlist or cart weeks ago and wait for the discount. I like online shopping as it has really nice promotion, 50% off or 40% off. But sometimes the sales isn't long. And I'm cautious about buying clothes online. I might get wrong sizes. This is one thing I dislike about online shopping. So I would try in stores first. 

Student

I prefer shopping online as I personally hate being stuck in crowded places. I'm not really a big fan of Black Fridays as I don't like to shop around much. Additionaly,  special occasions like Black Friday and Cyber Monday would definitely be somewhat helpful in saving money in terms of making personal purchases but the problem I have is I impulse buy and purchase unnecessary items. 

Student

I absolutely love Black Friday. I always keep my eyes out for deals in the newspaper on Thanksgiving. I love being able to find items for family or friends super cheap. Usually stores offer a free item with a purchase as well. As for Cyber Monday, I feel like a lot of my online shopping comes from emails pertaining to Cyber Monday. Depending on what deals are happening with certain companies, I almost always end up buying something. Plus, if there is free shipping, count me IN! 

Graham Davis's picture
Instructor
11/22/2016
Social Media