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Inside the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Posted 4 months ago by Skimlinks

It is an iconic American department store and retail institution. And one of the ingredients in Nordstrom’s recipe for success is their annual Anniversary Sale. In fact, second to the holiday season, it is Nordstrom’s most important event of the year.

Thousands of products go on promotion, across dozens of categories, making it a perfect opportunity for publishers to create content and support reader purchase journeys. People love deals and the Anniversary Sale is full of them. This blog outlines what worked well for publishers last year and guidance on how to replicate that success this year:

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2019

Officially speaking this year’s sale runs July 19-August 4, but Nordstrom Reward Card Holders will gain access earlier.

Early Access opens on July 12. Nordstrom is also offering early access to people who apply for the Nordstrom Credit Card, with a $60 bonus for signup before July 10.

Early access is a key period for publishers to consider. Google Trends data shows interest typically peaks the day early access opens, not once the general sale begins.

Which is not to say the general sale isn’t important: There is an extremely large spike in our network (over 163% increase in clicks day-to-day in 2018), and traffic to Nordstrom is around 22% higher than rest-of-year. But it does mean publishers should factor Early Access in and have content ready to take advantage of the traffic surge.

General Sales will begin at 12:30pm Eastern on July 19.

Nordstrom Sale 2018:

As for last year’s sale? The numbers look good. The day early access opened, Nordstrom had it’s biggest online day in history, with traffic 10x normal levels (Nordstrom Q2 Results Earnings Transcript, August 2018).

Digital drove 40% of sales during the event.

Beauty emerged as the top product category again, but the sale really does cover a wealth of categories, so there should be something for everyone to write about. Shoes saw improvements and Kids continued to be a strong category.

Average publisher commissions in our network rose 92% and average earnings-per-click rose 60%. This is a huge ecommerce opportunity. Here are some learnings from top performing publishers last year that you can apply to succeed this year:

Learnings from Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2018

  1. Play to the peaks

There are two major peaks: When early access opens and when general sales begin. Clicks in our network rose 31% and 163% respectively on those dates in 2018. Traffic begins picking up from early July, so publishers should look to have content published in time to take advantage of both stages of the sale beginning.

2. A generalist approach is popular

Many of last year’s top ranking pages were focused on the sale as a whole, including Nordstrom Anniversary Sale as a keyword in headlines and URLs. Often these posts behaved like news content, with SEO-friendly language in headlines and URLs, with links to the sale homepage. Their success lies in the fact that they still claim commission for sales that result from journeys, even if the sale happens on another page within Nordstrom’s website. Several also used urgency related keywords like “can’t miss out” to encourage readers to take advantage of items on sale at once. On top of this from last year, they also picked out a select few top deals to inspire readers.

3. Or something more specific, like a vertical

Other high performance pages went more specific. Several of the top 25 articles ranked by publisher commission wrote about jeans. Others focused on shoes and others the umbrella vertical “fashion”. In a few cases articles actually reviewed a single item which clearly resonated with readers. Deal shoppers can have specific items in mind, so taking a vertical-led approach can help drive conversion.

4. Or play to bargain-hunters

Because it turns out deal focused content also performs well. If you think about how people search for sales, they’re typically looking for good deals too, and that lends itself to content that incorporates deal or price point focused keywords (e.g. “best deals”, “best bargains) into article headlines and SEO. Two of the top five articles ranked by publisher commission included deal in their headline and URL.

5. Plan ahead but be reactive too

Evergreen content has a role to play and publishers can plan in advance. But several publishers were also reactive and published content throughout the sale. In some cases publishers also split the sale into different periods – e.g. open of general sale, “best finds so far”, “last minute” – maximising coverage and opportunities to drive conversions.

Actions to take

The sale will kick off with Early Access on July 12, General Sale opens July 2019 and throughout the sale our Merchant Team will work round the clock to populate the latest (and greatest) offers in the Publisher Hub.

So login to your Skimlinks account, favourite Nordstrom as a Merchant and keep checking the offers tab for the latest promotions to include in your articles.

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