If you thought Black Friday and Cyber Monday were your only opportunities to tempt customers into your store this holiday period, think again. Green Monday is a little known and often underutilized shopping holiday that holds promise for multi-location businesses.
Here’s everything local business owners need to know and everything they need to do to extract as much value out of Green Monday as possible.
What’s Green Monday and Where Did It Come From?
Green Monday, according to Emily Price at Lifewire, might be the biggest online shopping holiday you’ve never heard of. It occurs on the second Monday in December, roughly two weeks before Christmas Day.
Kimberly Amadeo – author of “Beyond the Great Recession” published back in 2007 – writes that the holiday was first christened by eBay. The online auction and e-commerce marketplace company noted with their purchase trends that the second Monday in December was its busiest day of the year. One reason was that it was the last day that customers could order online and guarantee that the gift would be delivered in time for Christmas. Ebay then embraced Green Monday as a shopping holiday and pushed many special offers (https://www.raise.com/coupons/ebay, for example) and marketing materials to encourage shoppers to shop on this day. Ebay called it Green Monday for two reasons: The first is that green is the color of money. But it’s also believed that the company wanted to reflect the fact that shopping online was considered more environmentally friendly at the time.
Now that shopping online is a popular way to shop, there is a strong argument for this. Few people are traveling to shops which instantly means it’s more environmentally friendly to order online. This may also be due to bulk buying as well – something that is easier done with a delivery service. Companies like those in hospitality, for example, can find catering supplies at wholesale prices which means they can get more for less if they order online. The same is with other industries such as construction or retail. This takes a large chunk of in store shoppers out of the equation. Furthermore, now that many companies use sustainable packaging for their orders (such as wholesale packaging), and less plastic bags are being used, Green Monday could be named for good reason.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday may have outstripped Green Monday over the last decade, says Jon Martindale at Digital Trends. But it’s still one of the biggest and most profitable shopping days for a large number of retailers. More and more local businesses are using the day to promote one last round of deals before the festive season ends.
Because of its place on the calendar, there’s an element of urgency about Green Monday. Even though the name hasn’t caught on with consumers, stores certainly see the second Monday in December as the last time to offer big savings on gifts, says Brent Shelton, public relations director at shopping loyalty program Rakuten. “Items like toys, such as those wooden playhouse designs, video games, and electronic gadgets can see their best prices of the season, so those that held off from spending during Thanksgiving weekend can get rewarded for their patience if they have intel on where to shop.”
Why Should Local Businesses Care About Green Monday?
Even though Green Monday has traditionally been an online shopping holiday, local retailers have a lot to gain by taking part.
Business Insider’s Dennis Green points out that Green Monday presents a big opportunity for smaller businesses. Because it’s not as popular as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, there are fewer advertised deals. Only huge retailers like Walmart and Target tend to have sections of their websites dedicated to it.
Less competition means it’s easier to stand out. Local businesses have a better chance of catching the attention of consumers with Green Monday deals than on either of the two preceding shopping holidays.
The importance of Green Monday to online retailers is fading because consumers simply aren’t as concerned about missing shipping deadlines as they used to be, writes Richard Meldner, cofounder of eSellerCafe. Now that Amazon and Walmart both offer two-day delivery at a minimum, there’s no need to panic. Green Monday’s deals don’t tend to be as good, either, Meldner continues. “Probably because most of them are offered by smaller merchants that can’t afford to discount as much or use loss leaders to generate traffic and revenue for more profitable items.” But that means if you can offer bigger discounts than your local competitors, you have a great chance at catching consumers’ eyes.
It doesn’t matter that it’s an online-focused shopping event, either. Retail Dive reporter Daphne Howland points to a study which found that 85 percent of holiday sales take place in brick and mortar stores, with more than 60 percent of retailers showcasing their in-store inventory on their websites.
Don’t Be Green on Monday
Having a successful sales day is as much about avoiding rookie mistakes as it is about nailing your marketing.
Start by checking your website. You might not pay a lot of attention to your online store during the rest of the year, but during the holiday season it needs to be running seamlessly. Reaction Commerce CEO Sara Hicks advises business owners to test their sites, increase their traffic capacity and establish backup plans to avoid a website catastrophes during sales days.
For starters, you need to understand how much traffic your website can handle. This will give you an idea of how many emails to send out at a time. If it can’t handle the kind of traffic you are expecting (or hoping for), you’ll need to increase your hosting capacity to account for surges. Don’t hope for the best, however. Make sure you know what to do if your site crashes and have a way to keep customers informed.
Checking you have the right inventory is also essential, says Andrew VanderLind, co-founder of Where I’m From Apparel. Remember, you’re selling online and in-store, so you need enough inventory to cover sales both online and off. This is the final sales day of the holiday season, so it’s understandable if stock is low in some cases. But make sure you aren’t promoting those items if that’s the case.
If you’re going to focus on selling online as well as in-store, you need to have a clear returns policy visibly on your website.
Not having one is a big turn off for potential customers, says the team at ecommerce platform, XSellco. Citing data from a comScore survey, they point out that 82 percent of consumers won’t complete a purchase if they can’t return goods either online or to the store. Unfortunately, it’s not a question of which to offer: You need to offer both online and in-store returns. Even if your store is easy to get to, customers now expect online returns when they buy something online. If your policy is that all returns must be made in-store, you could be driving customers to your competitors.
Finally, don’t repeat your mistakes. If something wasn’t perfect on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, get it right for Green Monday. That’s why the team at Cue Connect recommends you analyze all of the data you’ve collected so far in the holiday season to identify the products shoppers loved, the products that didn’t perform and the marketing strategies that were successful. If you’re collecting customer data then you need to make sure you’re GDPR compliance otherwise your business could face serious fines. You can take a look at the GDPR Article 32 requirements here. Once you’ve got the data, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, either. If something worked really well, don’t improve it: Run it again with a slightly different angle.
Don’t Stop at Green Monday
Many retailers will cut back on their deals after Green Monday. But that doesn’t mean you have, too. With a multi-location business, consumers can buy gifts from your stores right up to Christmas Eve. That means you need to keep targeting them even when Green Monday ends.
Advertising to them once isn’t enough. You may not capture purchases from every website visitor on Green Monday. That’s why you need to be retargeting them through remarketing ads over the rest of the holiday season, says Tina Mulqueen, CEO of Kindred Marketing.
Cart abandonment emails are another effective way to do this. Traditionally, they encourage users to return to a brand’s online store to complete a purchase. But they can also be used to bring customers into local stores, notes Digiday’s Michael Bodley. “Target is trying to solve cart abandonment by pushing customers who have left online shopping carts behind into stores with a special promo code.”
Locally-focused internet ads on the day and in the run-up to the holidays are a must for local retailers looking to draw customers into their stores, says Andy Taylor, director of research at digital marketing company Tinuiti. The closer we get to Christmas, the more local ad traffic increases, he notes. And because in-store purchases can happen at any time, you can keep winning customers even after shipping deadlines have passed.
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