Independent E-tailers Upbeat on Cyber Monday

Independent footwear e-tailers were banking on pumped-up promotions and extended time frames to make Cyber Monday count this year.

“This year we went extra crazy with the sale,” said Ty McBride, brand director and creative director of Portland, Ore.-based Solestruck.com, which offered a 50 percent-off promo that ran for 72 hours and kept its customer service division busy for 24-hour shifts. “We buy much wider than we do deep, with fewer pairs of more styles, [so] during the sale this lets us blow out of shoes at a very fast rate. It keeps the sale exciting.”

Customers responded to the festive mood and social media prompts, McBride noted. “In terms of pairs, this has been our largest sales event ever. We saw a lot of Jeffrey Campbell move, and we also saw many more guys shopping our sale than ever,” he said.

The retailer also cited smoother and faster website functionality as a boon for business.

That’s essential for staying competitive on Cyber Monday, according to Oliver Chen an analyst at Citi Research. The company predicted on Monday that e-commerce sales as a whole would be up at least 20 percent for the day.

Daniel Kahalani, owner of Brooklyn, N.Y.-based DNA Footwear, said at midday that his online sales were up more than 50 percent from the same time last year. He extended his site’s 30 percent discount from Friday through Monday, and the website outpaced the retailer’s brick-and-mortar stores. “Our online business exploded this weekend,” Kahalani said. “A couple of years ago, Cyber Monday was only one day, but people are [running their sales longer] this year.”

Ashburyskies.com opted to stick with a Monday-only promotion and offered 30 percent off items that were already on sale, including styles from Dolce Vita, Jeffrey Campbell, Messeca and Haus of Price. “We [were] in a good inventory position, so we only focused on the sale [for one day],” said Mary Sue Papale, co-founder of the San Fancisco-based shopping site. She added that the strategy seemed to be working: The retailer’s sales goal was met by 10 a.m. And it is expected to end 2012 with a triple-digit increase.

“Cyber Monday is a big day for us,” added Papale. “Our customer is not the type of girl who is going to stand in line [at a] mall to save $20. She will, however, grab a latte and shop on her iPad when she has some downtime.”

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