Memorial Day is just a page away on the calendar. Get ready to deliver on the summer sales they’ll be looking for.
Smart marketers don’t wait until the end of May to post their Memorial Day sales, though. They know that shoppers start looking for that seasonal merchandise a good month in advance and prepare accordingly.
Anticipating the search
According to Google Trends, last year searches for Memorial Day content started to climb at the beginning of May and hit the peak level on May 24-30.
The search for “memorial day 2020 sales” peaked earlier than the search for “memorial day” between May 17-23. That indicates that retailers should be ready with their sales promotions and featured products at least two weeks before the holiday. Sooner is better.
The biggest online shopping categories for Memorial Day
Sales bring out shoppers for just about everything, though the advent of summer makes them look for certain categories in particular. As the Google Trends points cited above show, many are looking for sales at home improvement stores because they stock many of the things they look for this time of year.
Memorial Day purchases often include barbeques, air conditioners, yard and gardening equipment, plant and seeds, outdoor furniture, decking material, and the like. But after they buy the big-ticket items, shoppers will also consider a whole host of things that go with outdoor living — from swimsuits to sunscreen, dishes to dog toys –which means that just about any type of eCommerce can get in on the action.
Even while Memorial Day celebrations were curtailed and outdoor attractions like beaches closed by the pandemic last year, people still bought in the standard categories and even spent more on things needed to bring the joys of a summer home, literally. When they couldn’t go out to have fun, they bought what they needed to have it in their own yards and living rooms.
NetElixir found that eCommerce sales over Memorial Day weekend in 2020 increased in four key categories:
- Website conversions increased by 8%.
- The number of transactions increased by 4%.
- The percentage of mobile orders increased by 13%.
The gains in apparel are modest when compared to the other three categories. But even when people feel they have no place to dress up for, they still treat themselves or their family members to some new clothes for the season.
2. Pet supplies
- Website conversions increased 23%.
- Transactions grew by over 100%.
- The AOV saw a slight increase of 3%.
- The percentage of mobile orders rose 51%.
This makes sense in light of the increased interest in adopting pets that resulted from lockdowns. As we saw in How to tap into the $100 billion pet industry market online orders in the pet sector boomed over the past year, and these results show that a significant chunk of them are using their mobile device for orders.
3. Tools and hardware
- Website conversions grew 58%.
- Transactions increased 135%.
- The AOV increased by 6%.
- The percentage of mobile orders rose 53%.
This is very dramatic growth for a sector that is not automatically linked to eCommerce. And further, mobile is an important means of communication with these customers given that more than half of them are ordering this way.
4. Home furnishings
- Website conversions rose 49%.
- Transactions rose over 130%.
- The AOV increased by 13%.
- The percentage of mobile orders rose 39%.
The category of home furnishings is significant because big-ticket items like furniture used to be reserved for in-store purchases. Consumers’ willingness to order outdoor furniture online last year marked a paradigm shift that could mean long-term gains for eCommerce.
An article in Modern Retail found that DTC furniture brands had particularly large gains YOY in 2020 that accelerated in anticipation of outdoor furnishings. For example, Article, enjoyed a 460% increase in outdoor furniture sales last spring. Duncan Blair, Article’s VP of Marketing said he expected the boost will return this year. “We’re expecting outdoor to continue to be really strong through April and May,” he told Modern Retail.
“After that, we’re excited by the tens or hundreds of thousands of new customers that have gotten used to buying big-ticket items online,” Blair continued, explaining, “there’s a whole cohort of customers that perhaps wouldn’t have bought online but have now tried us.”
Memorial Day Marketing for your eCommerce
Armed with the information about and when shoppers start their searches online, as well as your customer insight that comes through Remarkety, you can prepare your own Memorial Day marketing strategy. Plan ahead to use email and SMS/MMS to let your customers know that you will be offering them deals they expect to see for the holiday. Follow these steps:
1. Encourage your customers to subscribe to your email and/or SMS list.
Let them know on your site and through social media ads that there will be exclusive offers for subscribers or that they will be the first ones given access to certain product offerings or sales. You can also offer a specific coupon code as a reward for subscribing. See How To Combine SMS And Email Marketing for more tips.
2. Segment your marketing communication.
Draw on the data that will inform them what type of communication will resonate with this particular customer in terms of age bracket, household, and budget. For example, it makes sense to highlight children’s clothing and toys to their parents and dog toys to dog owners. It’s far less effective to just aim for one-size-fits-all marketing messages.
3. Create campaigns with Remarkety’s easy-to-use templates that promote your deals and discounts starting from the beginning of May.
You can use themes that highlight the holiday itself with American flags and red, white, and blue combinations if you’re promoting food, dishes, or decor specific to the holiday. Or else you can focus on summer with scenes of the beach, pools, or hammocks and the like to promote seasonal clothing, cosmetics, playground equipment, yard accessories, etc.
Plan for more than one message. Your email campaign, for example, can encompass three or more emails. The first one would announce the upcoming promotion a few days ahead of time. Then you can have another one or two while the promotion is running, followed by a final email sent out to remind customers that the promotion is ending that day or within hours.
4. Offer helpful guidance
Customers appreciate helpful advice from brands, and offering it to them increases loyalty. Memorial Day is the perfect occasion for offering helpful tips for appreciating the meaning of and celebrating the holiday, particularly when the usual parades and other social activities may still be off the table due to the pandemic.
You can offer barbeque tips, refreshing summer recipes, patriotic decor ideas, and general summer safety guidelines. For example, you can talk about pool safety, especially for those who have children.
Sun safety is also always a good thing to point out, and it works very well for anyone who sells summer hats, sun umbrellas, sunscreen, rash guards, etc. For pet owners, this is a great time to point out things to be aware during the warmer season, like not leaving your dog in a car that can heat up very quickly when parked for just a few minutes.
5. Make your message stand out with the perfect words and pictures
As every single business in the United States puts out something for Memorial Day, you have to make sure you get your customers’ attention. For emails be sure to use subject lines that grab attention, and for texts get to the point quickly.
Possible subject lines include the following that sparks excitement by emphasizing urgency or how much one can save:
- Get Ready for Summer and Save Now!
- Memorial Day Weekend Savings – Save up to 75%
- EXTRA 20% OFF Memorial ‘ Day Sale
- Memorial Day Sale: 25% OFF Everything for Summer!
Even if your customers haven’t responded to the email campaign, you can follow up with SMS or MMS to remind them not to miss out on the last day of the sale with messages like these:
- Last Day to get FREE SHIPPING for Memorial Day!
- Final Hours to Save Big on Memorial Day
If you send MMS, you have the option of including a picture of your offering or one that represents your promotion to stand out among their messages and capture their attention.See How to get the most out of your eCommerce SMS and MMS marketing.
Illustrations of Memorial Day Promotions
Here’s an image that makes summer look so very inviting while also getting in the American flag that is appropriate for the holiday:
Here’s an offer for a very time-sensitive promotion:
Such flash sales are ideal for texts because of their immediacy. Your customers are much more likely to check their texts in time for the sale than their emails, but you can also send out an email in advance, letting them know there will be a flash sale.
For smaller items, you can offer a promotion like “buy one, get one” and set up the American flag colors, as you see in this ad:
If you’re sending out texts alone, you can still make an impact through your wording, as you see in the following example from Belk:
Notice that this one includes the legal requirement to opt-out of future texts with the reminder that the subscriber can unsubscribe by texting STOP to adhere to legal requirements and best practices. Remarkety makes it easy to stay in compliance and optimize results from your messaging.
The beginning of a new season is a time when people are primed to buy. When paired with a holiday like Memorial Day, it offers a significant life in sales for a whole range of products. The retailers who prepare now will reap the rewards of increasing sales for eCommerce.