The holiday shopping season is one of the “most wonderful times of the year” for retailers, and for good reason. The National Retail Federation reports that in 2019, holiday sales reached an all time high of $730.2 billion, a 4.1% increase from 2018.
However, the holiday season for 2020, like many things to occur this year, looks to be a bit different than those we’ve known before. With the resolution of the COVID-19 pandemic still undetermined and health and government authorities continuing to advise the public to socially distance as much as possible, today’s retailers are forced to rethink their traditional holiday shopping strategies. For example, more consumers are opting to buy online instead of visiting a store, but still want that special, only-at-holiday-time flair that defines every retail experience this time of year.
For this reason, digital marketing and virtual experiences will be critical in driving sales for the year. As we enter the early holiday season, here are three tips to keep in mind to bolster your digital marketing activities:
In an effort to encourage customers to shop online in order to avoid crowded stores or long lines, major retailers like Target, Best Buy, and Macy’s have all said they expect a longer holiday shopping season with spaced out sales and specials this year. In fact, Home Depot announced it will be extending its Black Friday specials for two months, rather than just a one-day affair.
Suffice to say that in 2020, it’s not too early to begin your holiday shopping promotions. A recent survey by Retail Brew even indicated that nearly 20% of retailers plan to start holiday discounts before Halloween.
This year, consumers aren’t willing to walk into overcrowded stores or wait in mile-long lines to take advantage of holiday shopping deals. To both preserve the health and wellness of your customers and match their preferences for this year’s shopping season, be sure to start your sales promotions early across both in-store and online shopping channels.
In light of the pandemic, many consumers have turned to e-commerce to conduct their shopping needs, and this trend is expected to continue as the holiday shopping season begins. Salesforce predicts that “30% of global retail sales will be made through digital channels this upcoming holiday season.” In 2019, online sales were valued at $167.8 billion of the $730.2 billion season total, or 22.9%.
With an influx of online shopping anticipated to occur this season, retailers need to make their customer security protocols a priority. One effort retailers can make to improve their security standpoint is to upgrade their network security solution, which is especially imperative if members of your marketing, customer service, or sales teams are working remotely.
With new cyber breaches constantly in the news, data security and privacy is top of mind for today’s consumers; they want to be sure that the retailers they shop with protect their personal information with the utmost security. Preparing your security stance ahead of time will ensure that your company doesn’t run into these concerns.
Since the pandemic began, large, in-person events became off limits for many brands and organizations. In response, virtual events have quickly increased in popularity, allowing marketers to build a community around their business, cheer people up, and drive customer engagement.
This same strategy can be utilized throughout the holiday season in order to drive traffic to social media channels, e-commerce pages, or simply compete for brand awareness during the year’s most popular shopping time.
During your virtual holiday event, you can introduce a new product, share a holiday initiative you’re working on, or host a Q&A related to your industry. Take advantage of the many live streaming options available today, whether it be on social media platforms like Facebook Live or standalone services like Dacast.
Although this year’s holiday season looks much different than in years past, you don’t need to sacrifice your customers’ holiday shopping experience. Take the above tips into consideration to rise above this year’s challenges and crush your seasonal goals.
As Halloween approaches, the end of October signals the beginning of the holiday season. For businesses, the holidays are a busy and demanding time. Customers are looking for the best deals, fastest shipping, and are expecting holiday cheer with customer service. Cyber Monday makes your business’s online presence even more important, but with so many companies competing for every customer, it can be hard to make your business stand out. The holiday season accounts for around 20% of retail sales every year. You do not want to miss out on holiday sales because your company went unnoticed online. Fortunately, there are simple ways of ensuring your business is noticed online this holiday season.
Anticipation allows for excitement to build as time goes on culminating in a happy surprise when the mystery is finally revealed. Excitement also leads people to talk about their excitement with other people, potentially spreading the anticipation. As more people anticipate a reveal, the higher the excitement grows. Anticipation fits into the holidays well as most people feel anticipation before gifts are opened. You can use that same anticipation for gifts by selling a mystery box.
Mystery boxes use the mechanic of anticipation and the unknown to build excitement. It is common for stores to sell mystery boxes or bags containing products unknown to the customer. Generally speaking, putting products behind a mystery box increases a customer’s curiosity. The thrill of not knowing what is inside makes a mystery box more attractive. These mystery boxes are usually inexpensive, making the barrier to purchase low. Anything can be put in these mystery boxes allowing you to clear out holiday stock that might not sell otherwise.
Promote mystery boxes by posting on social media or on your business website. Making these boxes holiday season exclusives also plays into the “fear of missing out” making customers more likely to purchase.
The holidays are traditionally about family and coming together to celebrate the season. Using these themes of family and community in holiday advertisements is a good idea as it builds relatability. Emotion-based ads generally don’t focus on specific products, but rather engages customers and builds brand trust. The holidays are a time of year people commonly associate with positive emotions, so making a feel-good brand ad fits right in.
The holidays are a time of giving, sharing, and caring. What better way to get into the spirit of the holidays than include your customers in your marketing campaign. Consider creating a campaign that incorporates pictures or written content from customers. A famous example of this idea is the Elf Yourself holiday campaign from Office Depot. (Office Max originated the campaign, but has since merged with Office Depot.) Customers upload pictures of themselves or friends and Office Depot puts those pictures on dancing elves. The campaign sells the created videos for personal downloads, but it also gets customers talking and engages them with the Office Depot brand. The Elf Yourself campaign launched in 2006 and has become an Internet holiday sensation that continues to this day with its own app.
Holiday decorations are a key element of the season and your business social media and website can be decorated as well. Consider using holiday themed branding and visual elements online. Do not change site navigation or structure, simply add holiday flair to logos, banners, and the overall color palette. Holiday decorations on your website will put your customers in the holiday spirit and potentially increase their likelihood to spend.
It is important to remember that most people use their phones to browse the web, meaning any holiday changes need to be optimized for mobile. You do not want any technical barrier between your website and a customer, so take the time to optimize for mobile to get the most out of your digital holiday decorations. You can use Google’s tool Test My Site to see if your mobile site is up to snuff.
Communication is key in any relationship and that is true for the business and customer relationship. If your shop is closing for the holidays or changing normal operation hours you need to communicate that change to customers. Use social media or your business’s website to inform customers about any changes during the holiday season. Whether hours of operation are changing or shipping is being delayed, it is important that you talk to your customers. Communication should be even more important during the holidays when emotions are running high and there are a limited amount of days before the holidays are over.
The holidays are an important time of the year for everyone, including businesses. Increasing your online presence during the holidays will boost sales ensuring a profitable season.
The holiday season is a time for family and festivity, but also signifies big opportunities for retailers. The National Retail Federation reported that in 2016, $658.3 billion was spent in November and December, signifying that with successful marketing, companies can thrive during this period. So how can you take advantage of this season to onboard new clientele and build your business? Let’s take a look at some key tips to keep in mind for your business this holiday season.
Being prepared and spreading the word early about your holiday promotions is essential to a successful retail holiday period. If you start in November, for example, the season is over before you know it and not only do you not take advantage of people’s shopping habits but you don’t get the chance to optimize your marketing campaigns and maximize on sales. In fact, according to the NRF’s survey of the 2016 holiday season, more than half of consumers started either researching or purchasing in October or earlier. Imagine all the customer base you would miss out on if your promotions and inventory weren’t in order? In fact, Paige Gerber, the Head of Marketing at e-commerce company, Vantage, mentioned that in 2016, Black Friday and Cyber Monday shifted from just two days of sales to a whole long weekend, with bigger discounts, longer sales periods and with retailers acquiring up to 59 percent more customers. This proves that holidays such as Cyber Monday are an ideal environment for firms to expand their customer base, especially if you start early and have a couple of months to attract new business.
Not only do retailers have to ensure brand awareness in-store and online, but nowadays a simple sales discount is not always enough when it comes to adding value. Being interactive, by organizing an event or getting involved with the community, is a great way for customers to get to know your brand and build a stronger relationship. It’s also important to have deals that directly benefit your customers during the holiday season — for candy and food stores, this seems straightforward, but if your business is not directly related to the holidays then try partnering up with appropriate businesses to offer a competitive advantage. You could even get as creative as McDonald’s did when they introduced a character across all their marketing efforts during the holidays. They created the store of Juliette, who was a doll that came to life — by featuring across all efforts, the character brought synergy to the campaign and perfectly aligned with the holiday festivities.
Especially during the holiday season, customers have their pick at hundreds of different retailers, experiences and promotions, making the market incredibly competitive, and easy for customers to remember everything. Initiate strong relationships with your clientele during this period by constantly communicating with them and ensuring you’re on their mind. Try sending regular text messages or emails with new promotions, follow up with people who have left items in their online cart and use geographical targeting to attract consumers in the area. Through a constant flow of content, your audience will remain aware of your brand and the chances of conversion therefore increase.
The holiday season is great time for retailers to expand their business and onboard new clientele. With shopping on everyone’s mind, try and use these tips to take full advantage of the season and deliver results.
During the holidays, there’s always a disproportionate amount of spending that occurs between retailers and consumers. Merchants slash prices with the expectation that holiday promotion will motivate people to spend more money. Businesses invest a lot of time and money trying to promote the sales they are having. But is that enough? Whether you it’s black friday marketing or just holiday marketing in general, below are some important tips.
Businesses that fail to cash in on the holiday season are missing a gigantic revenue opportunity. Brands that only invest a tiny portion of their budget on seasonal ads falter while their competitors with larger budgets usually win the wallets of customers.
During the holiday season, companies have an opportunity to capture tons of new customers. Typically, ad impressions increase by 50%, direct traffic blossoms approximately 150% and conversion rates can increase a whopping 60%. Unfortunately, few marketing budgets have the ability to accommodate such rapid growth in this marketing opportunity. Brands need to start preparing for the holidays early, so they can celebrate their success sooner.
The most important thing you can to do is establish a sound marketing plan. While developing your campaign strategy, you need to focus on both your target audience and mainstream holiday shoppers. Christmas marketing isn’t the only effort that you could be targeting.
People tend to get caught up in the holiday frenzy, so you need to maximize engagement by creating a social media plan that draws people in. Holiday-themed offers on social media platforms give you just enough exposure to stay relevant in people’s minds. Make sure you have great visuals and graphics, because social media is such a visually oriented platform.
Here’s a great example from Free People discussed by HubSpot:
Rethink your ad copy to make the most of your previous campaigns. Toss in a few holiday-themed keywords to pique interest.
If you want to get a head start on the holidays, you should start promoting ads several weeks in advance. This gives you ample opportunity to test out your latest creatives without blowing your budget. By promoting yourself early, you’re able to prime shoppers to choose you as the go-to shopping destination.
When you celebrate the holiday season early, you have a chance to have fun with customers, dramatically increase revenue and outshine your competition. Think as if you’re a holiday shopper? What type of advertising would appeal to you?
Both current customers and potentially new ones want to see your human side. They want to connect with their favorite brands. That means you need to make them part of the equation long before the holiday season sets in.
Emma is a freelance writer currently living in Boston, MA. For graphics and design, Emma writes for Arc and Co. To see more from Emma, say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2
As the holiday season approaches, the wheels inside the heads of marketers no doubt begin to swirl. How can you, as a business owner, capitalize on this period when many eager people live with their wallets open but may get turned off by excess sales calls and emails? Not every marketing approach is suited for this time of year, but there are certainly a few sure to entice customers while giving your sales a boost. Read on for some tips.
“Act now!” This is a tried-and-true marketing tactic that can encourage people to buy — and quickly! The gist is that you make a really attractive offer (like a 40 percent discount or free expedited shipping), but only make it available for a short time. This type of perceived scarcity can be all a potential prospect needs to buy your product. Make it even more effective by narrowing the sale to, say, a 48-hour window, and offer this type of incentive sparingly throughout the holiday season. In fact, don’t run more than three of these types of promotions or you’ll run the risk of not being seen as reputable.
As we near closer to 2017, people will continue to experience more and more stress. Planning for holiday festivities, travel and gift giving translates into a lot of added pressure for consumers already strapped for time. Do your part by making transactions as easy as possible. If you have a brick-and-mortar store, consider taking the steps now to accept Apple Pay. What if you only have an online presence? Look into partnering with Stripe, which also offers customers a one-click purchasing option. Bottom line: Don’t let cumbersome transactions stand in the way of a potential purchases.
It’s no secret content marketing can be effective in business. However, the trick is to adopt a strategy that creates value for customers and prospects alike. As we approach the holiday season, consumers are looking for anything to make their lives easier. So, what can you do to cultivate energy around your products or services and create raging fans in the process?
Take a page out of other successful companies’ books by creating a guide to give direction to shoppers. For example, Tire Buyer created a buyers’ guidethat provides shopping tips for those looking to get the most out of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals with the least amount of hassle. So, what’s the main takeaway here? Tirebuyer is proving how timely content can be useful and relevant to consumers, as they and other similar-minded companies can tie all sorts of great advice into holiday themes. Remember, get creative and make sure to offer substance.
Many businesses are all about the sale, followed by upselling. Bought the cell phone? Great; how about a new phone case and car charger, too? This is fine for certain business models, but there’s a different approach that works even better this time of year. Instead of merely upselling, think in terms of “pairing.” This will take some extra time on the front end, but ultimately delivers more convenience to customers (and should offer more revenue, too).
Companies can achieve this strategy by cobbling together gift baskets of similar, complementary items and charging for the basket as a whole. Or, another idea might be to revamp your store layout (or digital layout) and place items near one another that are similar in theme or function. Either way, this idea allows you to connect the dots for customers about which products should be purchased together.
As you gear up for one of the busiest times of the year, remember to start planning out your marketing ideas now. The more thought you put into strategically incorporating the ideas above, the more return you’ll see in terms of sales. Cheers to a holiday bonus!
The Christmas shopping season is just around the corner, which means that now is the time to ramp up your marketing efforts. Here are seven things any business owner can do prior to Thanksgiving to make Christmas season marketing a breeze.
— Bigcommerce (@Bigcommerce) October 21, 2015
The weeks leading up to the Christmas holiday is when you should begin building excitement for the upcoming shopping season. This means you should intensify all your marketing efforts, whether online, in print, or via television or radio ads. The more people hear the name of your business, the more excited they will be to shop your establishment. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to announce sales or just remind people that there are only x number of shopping days until Christmas either.
To compete with big-box retailers for Black Friday sales, you’ll need to plan a promotional event for one or two weeks before then. Promise your customers price-matching guarantees on any merchandise they find on sale during Black Friday, and chances are they will visit your establishment first. You could also offer free or no-money-down layaways beginning as early as two weeks prior to Thanksgiving to encourage people who have a limited amount of cash to shop with you before going anywhere else.
One of the best ways to attract people to your business is by hosting a special holiday event. Schedule a tree lighting ceremony complete with carolers, complimentary hot chocolate, and a visit from Santa Claus. Partner with local equestrians to offer sleigh rides, or talk with a church group near you about hosting a live nativity outside your building. You could also offer free or low-cost gift wrapping to customers who spend a certain amount of money. In doing these things, you’ll likely attract a good number of people who would not ordinarily have visited you.
People are always looking for unique gifts, which is why you should make an extra effort to offer merchandise that is somewhat out of the ordinary. Be sure to let people know about this unique merchandise by mailing out sales flyers, announcing its arrival in email newsletters, and updating your blog with photographs. You should also make sure people know how this merchandise would be perfect for anyone on their list who is normally considered hard to buy for.
Loyalty perks in the way of rewards or special discounts for those who spend a certain amount of money is one way to encourage people to do all or most of their Christmas shopping at your store. You could offer loyalty perks only for a specified amount of time, or double the amount of points you award on certain days such as Small Business Saturday. Offering a rebate on certain merchandise is also a great way to ensure your customers buy particular items from you rather than your competition.
People who are in the holiday spirit are more likely to pick up a few stocking stuffers for those on their gift-giving lists, and may even take time to do some more in-depth shopping. In addition to setting up displays of holiday merchandise, you should also add a few decorations in order to create the ideal atmosphere for Christmas shopping. Add a wreath on your door, lights on your storefront, and bright-colored poinsettias near your cash register. Play some seasonal music softly in the background to add even more ambiance and keep people feeling festive.
People are busier than ever during the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas, which means they may want to shop at unusual hours. Make it easier for them to get to your store by offering extended hours during the months of November and December. You could stay open an hour or two later each evening, or plan to remain open continuously for 18 or even 24 hours. Advertise your extended hours via social media, in-store flyers, and on your website to make sure everyone is aware of them and can plan accordingly.
These seven things do not have to cost a great deal of money, yet can greatly impact your retail sales during the competitive Christmas shopping season. Make plans now to implement several of these ideas into your marketing strategy, and you will likely be surprised at how well they improve your bottom line.
The holidays are here, is your business ready? If you haven’t already started planning you are probably a bit too late but that doesn’t mean you can’t fire up some quick advertising and still chip away at the huge swarm of shoppers that are brewing right now.
The folks at AmeriCommerce put together this great infographic on some key dates and components of the holiday shopping season.
Ho Ho Ho! It’s that time of year. We are getting very close to the holiday season so if you haven’t started preparing your marketing efforts now, get to it!
Here is a nice little guide from our friends over at cloud.IQ.