I’m old enough to remember – as an adult! — Maryland’s infamous “blue laws,” which mandated that practically no retail establishments could be open for business on Sundays. It was a way for retail employees to have a day off with their families, even if other consumers wanted to do their shopping on the weekends.
The state saw itself as the protector of those workers against “exploitation” by retail establishments out to maximize their sales and profits.
There were exceptions to the law, of course – such as restaurants and grocery stores which were allowed to be open. But for the most part, strip malls and other retail zones were eerily quiet on Sundays.
Eventually, public pressure for the convenience of weekend shopping became too intense, and the state legislature finally abolished the antiquated restrictions in the 1980s.
It seems the same kind of dynamics are at play these days in the world of e-commerce — not by intent but by end-result. A just-released analysis by e-mail services provider Yesmail reveals that e-mails sent on Saturdays generate more than 60% better conversion rates than the average. On Sunday, it’s 40% higher-than-average sales.
Those findings come from an analysis of more than 7 billion e-mails deployed over Yesmail’s platform during the second quarter of 2016.
Clearly, shopping habits are similar whether it’s electronic or physical. But interestingly, it is e-mails sent on Thursdays that generate the highest engagement levels (open rates and clickthrough rates). It seems that consumers respond well to an initial e-mail sent on a Thursday, with a follow-up communication over the weekend to cement the sale.
Just as the physical retail stores were losing out on a good deal of business on Sundays, e-commerce firms may well be leaving money on the table today – simply because their employees’ work schedules — weekdays — don’t conform neatly to when so much of the shopping action is taking place with consumers.
Sending e-mail messages during the weekend, when work e-mails slow down, offers marketers the opportunity to stand out from a crowded inbox. But that isn’t happening as much as one might expect. Chad White, a research director at Litmus Software, notes this:
“Most B-to-C promotional e-mails are sent Monday through Friday because that’s when corporate offices are open. It’s certainly not because consumers aren’t in their inboxes over the weekend — because they are … which makes sense because consumers are less busy over the weekend and tend to do an outsized proportion of their shopping then.”
Just as the pattern has been for the past three or four decades, really.
That’s what makes the activities of some retailers in the online arena so curious. There are all sorts of ways for business enterprises to plan and schedule e-deployments at a prescribed date or time. The weekend calendar and when marketers are or are not working really shouldn’t any sort of impediment. Funny how something as simple as that fails to make it into the mix sometimes …