Web retailers get dressed up for the holidays

November 20, 2012 04:19 PM

The Monday after Thanksgiving, often called Cyber Monday, will be the biggest online shopping day this year, with online retail sales reaching reach $2 billion, an 18% increase from the same day last year, according to a new sales forecast by AdobeSystems Inc. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, will post the second highest online sales, with around a 12% increase in online sales year over year to reach between $1 billion and $1.3 billion. Retailers that sell both through stores and online, such as Best Buy and Macy’s, will achieve the largest sales spikes compared to a normal day in 2012, 450%, versus a 200% increase for online-only retailers, Adobe says.

To gain as many sales as possible from the monumental online shopping day, many e-retailers are decking out their web sites with holiday specials. Among those heavily promoting holiday deals this week are Wayfair LLC, No. 50 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide; Macy’s Inc., No. 14, and Best Buy Co., No. 11.

Wayfair, which sells furniture and home goods, greets visitors with holiday offers in large, rotating hero images promoting wreaths and entryway décor, Christmas tree decorating tips and a holiday sale of items that the retailer says are discounted by as much as 60%. Other retailers featuring a rotisserie of Thanksgiving and holiday-themed hero shots on their home pages include Crate and Barrel, Williams-Sonoma Inc., Pier 1 Imports and Hayneedle Inc.

Wayfair, which has a history of successful social media campaigns, not only woos consumers with deals and images, but tries to move them into action with holiday challenges, such as the Wayfair Turkey Day Table Challenge on Pinterest. “Pin your favorite tabletop items from Wayfair to create your ideal Thanksgiving spread. Every entry earns $5 in Wayfair rewards! One lucky Pinner wins a $100 Wayfair gift card!” it reads. The challenge, also promoted on Facebook, ends Nov. 23.

Social media will drive twice as much traffic to e-commerce sites this year versus last, according to the Adobe forecast, which makes predictions based on six years of tracking more than 150 billion online visits to more than 500 retail web sites in the U.S. and Europe, says Adobe. Among social networks, Pinterest will show the biggest growth in traffic to retail sites, doubling from 7% of social referrals last year to 14% this year.

Crate and Barrel is No. 55 in the Top 500 Guide; Williams-Sonoma, No. 25; Hayneedle, No. 77.

Among apparel retailers, Macy’s is making a special effort to dress itself up for the holidays. A cornucopia of Thanksgiving offers fills the landing page, including percent-off and free shipping promotions for in-store and online shopping. The home page also displays a Black Friday sales preview, information about watching the Macy’s Day parade, deal shopping by category, a holiday gift guide and a video link to the retailer’s Black Friday commercial starring pop music star Justin Beiber.

Customers can create Black Friday shopping lists, preview them on smartphones, share them and buy the items early—online on Thanksgiving—Macy’s says. A video tutorial shows shoppers how to drag and drop items into their virtual lists.

The retailer devotes an entire page, called Believe at, to promoting its holiday events, including in-store meetings with Santa and tree lightings. One tab leads to a virtual writing desk where a visitor can create a letter to Santa. Macy’s tallies sent messages—already more than 150,000—at the bottom of the page. Believe features other interactive activities related to sending mail to Santa, information and online submission forms for letters and donations to the Make-A-Wish foundation, and the Macy’s gift guide. All of the Believe holiday content is available in a free app. Consumers may also sign up for SMS text alerts about Macy’s holiday updates and offers by texting ‘Believe’ to a number listed on the page.

For consumers craving electronic gadgets, Best Buy features a computer sale on the main page that includes prominent free shipping offers, highlighted by a Christmas ornament-like logo. Next to that is a link to Best Buy’s Black Friday preview that leads to a digital circular of upcoming sales and doorbusters. The home page also contains a ‘Countdown to our Thanksgiving Weekend Sale’ clock complete with a small calendar; clicking on the days or the ‘See the deals’ button reveals a handful of daily deals leading up to the event. Consumers may also sign up for daily deal e-mails.

Best Buy is busy on Facebook, too. Its fan page promotes the Black Friday preview and a special promotion called Best Buy Gifted, which enables consumers to engage one another in shopping.  It reads: “Nominate your most gifted friends in our six categories to enter them for a chance to win the technology they need to do more with their talents, and enter yourself for a chance to win a Best Buy gift card.”




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