With Black Friday rearing its head this week and Cyber Monday just around the corner, global retailers are primed and ready for action. Last year, Black Friday drove £1.1 billion online sales in one day, and sales this year are estimated to surpass those figures.

For retailers who have taken direct control of their partner and affiliate marketing programs, the prospect of executing a successful Black Friday strategy across a variety of partners and affiliates can be particularly daunting. But looking to granular performance data enables marketers identify their most successful promotions, media buys, and key partners, and should help guide their optimisation efforts in the coming days.  

We’ve taken a look at Performance Horizon’s data warehouse to identify key trends in retail sales and some learnings to share with you from Q4 last year.

The above graph depicts commerce trends from Q4 2015, including the quantity of sales transactions and the average basket value (ABV).

Unsurprisingly, Black Friday and Cyber Monday dominate by accounting for substantial sales in November. But what may be more interesting are a series of dates in late October when some of the highest-value sales of the entire quarter took place – perhaps people getting a head start on their holiday shopping.

Consider paying more attention to tablets and mobile

Although tablet sales have been on the decline, it’s interesting to note that with an above average conversion rate of 7.34%, tablet owners are now increasingly using their devices for online shopping.

Regardless of whether tablet sales dwindle or rise, it will be interesting to watch this particular conversion trend this year. Mobile sales, which had the lowest eCPC compared to both tablets and desktop, also saw an overall increase last year month over month.

Focus on existing, not new customers for a better return

In Q4 last year, the ABV of new customers was £95, while for returning customers it reached £332.

Loyalty schemes can be an extremely effective way to encourage existing customers to purchase more frequently.

Try varying commission rates to maximise revenues

Ultimately, you know your business better than anyone else. Once you’ve identified your top partners and products for the season, awarding more for superior performance or higher margins can drive greater revenues for both you and your partners.

Global retailer adidas has been nailing this — varying commission rates enabled the company to increase revenues in the partner and affiliate marketing program by a whopping 149% and reduce cost of sale by 35%.  

Check out the full infographic and more insights here.

Infographics source: Performance Horizon Data Warehouse, Q4 2015

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