For many retailers, Cyber Monday 2018 was a record success; online sales surged 19% over last year, peaking at $7.9 billion. This massive spike seems to underscore buyers’ enthusiasm for the bargains that have become synonymous with holiday shopping. It’s the season of good cheer and better deals, or, at least, that’s the opinion of big-name retailers like GAP, J. Crew, and others notorious for pushing Cyber Monday discounts by the heap. These brands spare no expense, flooding inboxes and peppering web pages with ads that emphasize how consumers can’t afford not to holiday spend.
Despite the apparent fervor for holiday price-slashing, some brands—particularly those that sell direct-to-consumer—approach Cyber Monday from a different angle. Rather than limiting their low-price offerings to one day, these retailers harness the holiday shopper’s mentality to generate a customer base that buys year round. DTC travel and lifestyle brand Allway, for example, creates holiday ads that promote its products as “always on sale,” citing a unique manufacturing model that allows for “dramatically lower prices every day of the year.”
Other DTC sellers, like footwear vendor Allbirds, present Cyber Monday as a springboard to limited edition offers. Allbirds dropped a line of shoes with uniquely colored laces and soles this past Monday. New York City-based eyewear company Warby Parker also capitalized on the seasonal shopping fever to market four new frame styles as Cyber Monday specials. Another DTC retailer, Everlane—a San Francisco-based clothing company—used Black Friday marketing to draw the attention of holiday shoppers to its charitable efforts: namely, a $260,000 donation to help keep California beaches clean.
Such brands renounce Cyber Monday discounts, instead offering a rationale similar to Allbirds, which “doesn’t offer discounts as they have already committed to providing customers with the highest quality product for the best possible price,” according to company representatives. Such strategies, while seemingly costly during the season of discounts as standard, may actually support long-term growth. Conditioning consumers not to expect sales on core products could prevent brand dilution, especially for smaller DTC retailers who don’t necessarily need a large volume of sales to fuel growth, according to Sucharita Mulpuru, Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research.