E-retailers blanket the web with early holiday deals

November 24, 2015 01:01 PM

It’s only Tuesday, but Black Friday deals are everywhere on the web this week, as a slew of online retailers unveil deep discounts to garner early holiday market share online.

Today, department store Kohl’s Corp. announced what it calls its “cyber week spectacular,” or eight days of online discounts. Starting Saturday and running through Tuesday, Kohl’s is offering 20% off all items in stores and online with a promotional code. Deals will continue to run on through Saturday, Dec. 5, on electronics, toys and other popular gift items, and the merchant will run a new flash sale deal each day on its mobile and desktop sites.

Some merchants have been running Black Friday-related deals for several days now, and they are reaping the rewards. Web-only apparel retailer UsTrendy, for example, says it made a calculated effort to unveil its discounts extra early this year, because it missed out on some sales in past years when its discounts came too late.

Since it rolled out its Pre-Black Friday Sale this week, UsTrendy’s conversion rate has jumped 40% and sales have increased 48% compared with this time last year, CEO Sam Sisakhti says.

“This started a few years ago that retailers were promoting Black Friday earlier and earlier,” he says. “Last year, we started our sales two days before Black Friday but we were still a little too late because we didn’t do as well as the year before when we didn’t have many discounts at all. This year, we launched discounts a week before Black Friday to our subscribers, and sitewide discounts on the Monday before Thanksgiving. We think word of mouth is spreading because direct traffic is way up, and conversion is up 40%.”

Holiday-related emails promoting deep discounts hit email inboxes throughout this past weekend from other major e-retailers, and several large merchants are blanketing their home pages with giant images touting early Black Friday deals.

A Sunday morning email from Groupon Goods, for example, carried the subject line, “Black Friday Preview Ends at MIDNIGHT!”

Another message from U.K. apparel brand Boden arrived this morning touting 30% off all products that read, “Too cool for Black Friday? Get a head start.”

Musician’s Friend Inc. is running a sale that ends the day before Thanksgiving with discounts touting early access to Black Friday doorbusters. Similar messages touting “Black Friday starts now,” came from Bed Bath & Beyond Inc., Eddie Bauer LLC and other merchants.

While UsTrendy may be losing some margin on its early holiday promotions, Sisakhti says running such discounts pays off because the retailer is experiencing such a large volume increase. “We never run a sale where our margins are squeezed too much that we don’t make money,” he says. “We might have to do one and a half transactions to make as much money as we would have without the sale, but we still end up ahead in the end. Plus, we get new customers that we’re able to retarget and continue to market to. So we ultimately think about the lifetime value of that customer.”

With $5.5 million in 2014 online sales, UsTrendy is No. 930 in the Internet Retailer Second 500 Guide. Kohl’s is No. 22 in the Top 500 Guide. Groupon is No. 30; Musician’s Friend is No. 67. Bed Bath & Beyond is No. 80; and Eddie Bauer is No. 103.




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