The countdown to Christmas is on — only a few days left to finish those Christmas lists and get presents wrapped and under the tree. But for retailers like 6pm.com, the countdown to Christmas started way back in March. Buyers were going to markets to find the shoes, clothing, jewelry, handbags and outerwear that they predicted would be on everyone’s Christmas lists nine months later. Beginning in July, the task fell to marketing and PR to make sure that by holiday time, customers would know that 6pm.com is the destination to Score on the Style and Score on the Price for the hottest holiday gifts.
Cutting through the Black Friday and Cyber Monday clutter is always a challenge. So, how does a brand like 6pm.com stand out in a saturated marketplace?
1. Black Friday Bootcamps: Brick and mortar retailers opened their doors even earlier this year, starting Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Thursday. 6pm.com got in the game even sooner with Black Friday Bootcamps — special sales every Friday in November that allowed shoppers to get a jump on their lists and avoid the chaos of shopping on Black Friday. Promoting the exclusive sales via social channels and giving sneak peeks to bloggers and deal reporters helped get the word out. 2. Getting in the Holiday Books: 6pm.com knew they needed to be in the November and December issues of magazines and published online in order to get shoppers to visit the online retailer for all their gifting needs.
- August is the deadline for holiday gift guides. Working with 6pm.com’s internal social media and photography teams, Beehive PR sent rounds of product photos to gift guide editors in July, ensuring 6pm.com was in the consideration set.
- To ensure placement in the November and December glossies, 6pm.com hand delivered look books and product samples during editor meetings at Meredith Publications, Time Inc. and more in August.
- Online publications also get into the holiday spirit, with roundups of the best sales on sites like BlackFriday.com and BradsDeals.com. Getting the 6pm.com sales listed in these prime shopping resources was a top priority and was completed with personal outreach to each online editor.
3. Access to the Experts: It’s hard to find that perfect gift for everyone on your list and to scout the best sales. 6pm.com came to the rescue, helping shoppers find and plan for the biggest sales of the season.
- A holiday Satellite Media Tour, featuring super couponing queen Jill Cataldo, provided a preview of some of 6pm.com’s top sales and best brands. Sale tips arrived just in time for the holidays, streaming into homes across the U.S.
- Senior style advisor Jay Alexander shared his gifting expertise in a Twitter Chat. This allowed 6pm.com’s followers to ask Jay their burning questions about what was on trend and in style for everyone on their list, from their 5-year-old niece to their 65-year-old dad.
In what has been one of the biggest online, holiday shopping seasons ever, getting out early, connecting directly with customers and standing out from the crowd has helped 6pm.com achieve record sales increases year-over-year:
- Black Friday Bootcamps led to a significant early sales boost and shoppers across all platforms shared their excitement for this new sale event.
- Sample requests came pouring in from New York editors following the August editor tours and 6pm.com products were featured in media outlets like BlackFriday.com, Yahoo and Seventeen Magazine from September through December.
- The SMT produced more than 40 segments that reached millions of potential shoppers between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
We, along with our clients at 6pm.com, will have about one week in January to celebrate the results of Holiday 2013. Then it’s back to market and, in under six months, we will begin planning marketing efforts for Holiday 2014. We wouldn’t have it any other way. In retail, you really have to love the holidays the whole year through.