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Black Friday, Cyber Monday, & the “Christmas Creep”: How Real Brands Cash In over the Holidays

Posted by
Andrew Akman
Product Marketing Manager
Monday, November 21, 2016 - 15:49

The holiday shopping rush pushes earlier every year. Black Friday now leaks into Thanksgiving, when some retailers open their doors even before customers are satiated with turkey and pie. And Cyber Monday deals are no longer limited to a single day, as e-retailers look to lock down sales. How can brands distinguish themselves and thrive during the months-long frenzy?

Brands at the forefront of digital innovation think outside of the box to transform CX day in, day out. They also understand the importance of creating truly exceptional experiences during the busy periods, when all eyes are on them and the customer is quicker than ever to broadcast frustrations via social media. Here’s how four big-name brands stepped it up last year.

1. Amazon held the first-ever “Smartphone Black Friday.” Two thousand fifteen was a watershed year for mobile. With that in mind, Amazon emphasized the mobile journey over the holidays — and it paid off. Its team streamlined the end-to-end experience and kept the brand in front of consumers by setting up smartphone alerts according to deal availability and offering app-exclusive specials. Remarkably, Amazon purchases accounted for more than a third of all e-commerce sales on November 27, 2015, leading some to dub it the world’s first “Smartphone Black Friday.”

2. T-Mobile built hype with relevant brands. Though it’s all about T-Mobile Tuesdays, the telcom didn’t overlook Cyber Monday in 2015. The Un-carrier made a compelling offer for one day only: Buy an iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus, get a free memory upgrade. Apple itself sat out Black Friday and Cyber Monday, leading brands — like T-Mobile — to capitalize on product sales. Another draw? T-Mobile can implement this strategy year after year. With the recent hype surrounding the iPhone 7’s release, T-Mobile’s 2016 holiday season is looking very exciting.

>> Related read: Prepare for the Most Connected Holiday Ever

3. Uber helped users give back. This time of year may be typically considered a retail holiday, but Uber wasn’t about to be left out. On top of its “5 Days of Giving,” Uber encouraged passengers to elect “Uber (RED)” on #GivingTuesday — which last year fell on World AIDS Day. With every ride, passengers had the option to donate $5 to AIDS relief via SMS, matched by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This wasn’t Uber’s only philanthropic effort — and for good reason: It’s a well-documented fact that customers like to choose brands that give back. And Uber’s well-timed campaign launched during the most charitable season of the year.

4. JCPenney engaged customers in digital conversations. Increased traffic on your site means more customers who need assistance. JCPenney makes it easy for them to access it. They help customers via live chat on their digital channels, so shoppers can reach out without having to dial a 1-800 number and waste precious time on hold. By reducing some of the seasonal hassle and offering quick and convenient service, their CSAT score rose to 77% — signifying customers were “highly satisfied.”

>> Related Read: Holiday Retail Readiness 2015 [Free Download]

Experience rules the shopping cart. In-store purchases are on the decline, and all signs point to e-commerce — particularly via mobile — poised to dominate. As we gear up for this year’s holiday rush, brands need to create noteworthy customer experiences that guide customers through their entire digital journeys.

T-Mobile, JCPenney, and other forward-thinking brands offer an improved customer experience by invoking a thoughtful and robust engagement strategy with messaging. Last year, LivePerson hosted more than seven million conversations (more than a two-fold increase over 2014) from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, when $11 billion USD changed hands in online sales. Mobile usage more than doubled the previous year’s figures, too, and these numbers will only continue to climb in the years to come.

While time is running out for the 2016 holiday season, offering great customer service should be a year-long endeavor. Take the first step and deploy a world-class platform that increases customer engagement, CSAT, and sales. Chat with a member of our team to get started.

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