Amid Gloom, eBags Has a Happy Dec. 1

From an e-commerce standpoint, it’s hardly surprising that we can “officially” use the R-word (recession) now. Cyber Monday’s sales pace was considerably slower than it was last year, according to a bevy of reports, which, of course, is unprecedented.

From an e-commerce standpoint, it’s hardly surprising that we can “officially” use the R-word (recession) now. Cyber Monday’s sales pace was considerably slower than it was last year, according to a bevy of reports, which, of course, is unprecedented.

But for at least one e-tailer — eBags.com — there’s some good news to be found. Cyber Monday 2008 sales were up 6 percent over last year for the Greenwood Village, Colo.-based online seller of bags and accessories, according to Co-founder and Senior Vice President of Marketing Peter Cobb. In addition, traffic was up 23 percent, a company record. The early evening, in particular, was highlighted by three straight record sales hours.

Cobb attributes eBags.com’s success to several Cyber Monday marketing initiatives:

  • negotiated steep discounts with many of its product vendors; as a result, had more than 1,000 products with special deals beginning on Black Friday, dubbed “Web Busters”;
  • temporarily converted its homepage into a Web Busters page showing 15 deals and contained links to 1,000 other Web Buster offers;
  • offered 20 percent off all merchandise on the site on Cyber Monday;
    if customers used PayPal, they received an additional $10 cash back;
  • allowed visitors to view 125 product videos on its site and also promoted a humorous video eBags.com produced explaining Web Busters;
  • sent 1.1 million e-mails to its opt-in members prior to Black Friday promoting the Web Busters sales, Web Busters video and other special offers; and
  • secured homepage placement on CyberMonday.com, a Web site that features special Cyber Monday deals each year; in fact, a big eBags.com promotion was the exclusive deal on CyberMonday.com from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. MST. Eighty-five percent of the CyberMonday.com site traffic was new to eBags.com, Cobb says.

“With all the negative press about the economy and the fact that Cyber Monday is five days later this season, it pushed us to think creatively about offers that would appeal to shoppers,” Cobb notes. “We have more planned to keep the positive momentum going through the holidays.”