Benchmark Report

Ecommerce sales: how relationship building and planning impact BFCM

Existing customers drive BFCM sales

48% of 2018 BFCM sales came from customers first active between Q1 ’17 and Q3 ’18

Customer acquisition tends to take up the most time and energy when it comes to ecommerce marketing, especially around the holidays. Yet, our analysis proved that focusing on acquisition at the expense of tapping into your existing email subscribers is a costly mistake. Our top ecommerce businesses drove 48% of their BFCM sales in 2018 from people who first engaged with them between January 2017 and October of 2018. That’s right: nearly half of their sales came from people who already had a relationship with their brand.

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Moreover, when it comes to holiday shopping, consumers who only recently engaged with your brand by either making a purchase or engaging with marketing materials contribute less than those with longer relationships with your brand.

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The takeaway: if you are looking to drive sales during the holidays, then you should get your existing customers and prospects (subscribers to your email list who have not made a purchase) to buy from you much earlier in the year since the smallest percent of BFCM sales came from the most recent customers and prospects. Only 10% of overall BFCM sales came from customers that engaged with the brand within six months of BFCM. On the opposite end of the spectrum, nearly a quarter of all sales our leading brands generated came from shoppers who engaged with them a year or more prior to BFCM 2018. In other words, you need to invest in building and nurturing customer relationships well in advance of the holiday season.

Not all relationships are equal

There was a 17% higher average BFCM order value for those who first clicked an email between Q1 ’17 and Q3 ’18

When developing and evaluating a relationship with a customer or prospect it is important to not take a cookie-cutter approach. Doing this the right way requires constantly iterating and paying close attention to how your customers and prospects are interacting with your messaging because not every customer interaction with a brand is weighted equally.

We looked at two of the most common relationship engagement signals while preparing this benchmark report; opening and clicking on an email. We did this to understand whether the way that a consumer engaged with an email mattered.

It is evident that getting a consumer to open an email from your brand prior to making a purchase during BFCM drives sales during this time period. An eye-opening 89% of 2018 BFCM purchases were made by customers who opened an email beforehand. This amount was almost evenly split between those that first opened the email prior to October (44%) and those that first opened during Q4 (45%). Since this is prime shopping season, there’s a stronger connection between opening a message and making a purchase than any other time of the year.

*The data used to pull this report is two years worth of customer data (2017 and 2018) from some of the largest ecommerce brands in Klaviyo’s portfolio. For the purposes of this report, we established BFCM to be from November 22-26 2018.

We know that engagement matters, but exactly how much more important is it to get a click than an open? The results are somewhat surprising when it comes to holiday shopping: opens are more or less equal to clicks. Those that first clicked and made a purchase between Q1 2017 and Q3 2018 had a 17% higher average order value than those that had not opened or clicked an email prior to making a purchase (a 1% higher average order value than those that first opened an email prior to Q4 2018). However, far more important than the difference between opens and clicks is getting those interactions to happen well in advance of the holidays.

Simply by creating and serving relevant content throughout the year (hint: do this through segmentation), you will be directly impacting the value that your customers bring during BFCM.

*The data used to pull this report is two years worth of customer data (2017 and 2018) from some of the largest ecommerce brands in Klaviyo’s portfolio. For the purposes of this report, we established BFCM to be from November 22-26 2018.