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November is here. Halloween is over, the leaves are starting to fall, and the weather is getting colder. The holidays are just around the corner and the hustle and bustle of the season is about to begin. November 1st marks the day when most people begin their holiday shopping. The stores are full of gifts, wrapping paper, and décor making everyone feel festive.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), this holiday season is predicted to be even greater than last year with retail sales set to increase 3.6% and online sales set to increase between 7% to 10%. With holiday shopping sales set to increase, do you have the marketing pieces ready to capture a piece of the pie?

Timing Your Holiday Campaigns

Every year the holiday season seems to come earlier and earlier with consumers starting to jump on board. While many do not start shopping until November, some have already completed their shopping come Halloween. Timing your marketing campaigns can lead to significant gains if done right but can also hurt if executed poorly. For example, MDG notes that Christmas themed campaigns sent 2 weeks prior to the holiday have better engagement rates, while campaigns sent earlier than that tend to report lower engagement rates.

There are three keys days in which to plan your marketing campaigns around; Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. A study conducted by Splender shows that Thanksgiving Day shopping has increased 11% in 2015 compared to 2014 making up 3.8% of all holiday sales followed by Black Friday which makes up 4.8%, and Cyber Monday which continues to be the best day for online shopping making up 6% of all holiday sales.

Key Shopping Trends

Last month, we covered the top Holiday Tips and Trends but wanted to briefly touch on a couple here as well. As many retailers already know, mobile is changing the way people buy with retail purchases on smartphones doubling year over year making a mobile optimized site key for capturing holiday shoppers.  The growth of online shopping is increasing and will continue to do so. Along with that, customers are determining which retailer to buy from based on the offers they have for free shipping or site to store. The NRF shows that 48% of consumers see free shipping as one of the most important factors while holiday shopping.

Consumers also want choice. The choice to buy online, go in store, or the choice to pick what they want. We continue to see the importance of offering gift cards with 63% of shoppers purchasing at least one gift card according to the NRF.

Key Holiday Marketing Campaigns

This season it will be incredibly important to combine in store retail efforts with online efforts making shopping an easy experience for your customer. Offer online deals with in store pickup as well as free returns or exchanges. Segmenting your customer list will be important as well. Make sure you are taking the time to speak to your high lifetime value customers differently than prospects. Creating a repeat purchase is far more budget friendly than trying to acquire new customers during this time. And if you only take away one item from this article, remember that email marketing remains the number one driver in holiday sales. While also very budget friendly, it drives the most engagement and ROI than other marketing channels. Make sure your email marketing strategy is creative, fun and ready to go!

Competition is fierce during the holiday months, make sure you are offering what you can to have consumer choose you over the competition. Need help building your marketing strategy or segmenting your customer base? Contact us to learn more!