The holiday season is around the corner, and if you haven’t started planning your holiday promotion schedule, it’s officially crunch time.
COVID has changed everything from the way we shop to the way advertising works. This year will be a tricky one:
- Ads will be more competitive this year because of COVID. There is a surge of new competitors entering the online market and 73% of the top online retailers will be running big sales this year.
- A new group of consumers will be entering the online shopping experience who is used to being able to touch and feel the product before buying.
- Out with selling experiences and in with gift-giving through the mail. As traveling restriction continues, many consumers are going back to the basics of gift-giving. We’re seeing a rise in gifting small gifts in the mail that still align with consumers’ values of reducing materialistic consumerism and their eco-footprint.
- Holiday shopping is starting earlier, Target is planning to roll out deals as early as October!
“Let’s face it: Historically, deal hunting and holiday shopping can mean crowded events, and this isn’t a year for crowds,” said Target. “That’s why our biggest holiday deals will be available earlier than ever, so you can shop safely and conveniently without worrying about missing out on deals that usually come later in the season.”
With the whole holiday shopping season getting a facelift, what are the keys to success?
- Brand identity means brand loyalty. People crave traditions that keep them grounded, so how is your business adapting to be the go-to brand people think of when it comes to building new traditions this year?
- An online presence that effectively reflects your brand will make or break the brand awareness efforts you are creating at the top of your sales funnel.
- Adjusting the way you create content. When you have a very tactile oriented group of consumers, emphasize videos to show the product will make it feel more tangible. Better yet, if you’re an Amazon merchant see if you can get the “View in your room” AR function for your products.
- Social proof will be the final piece that gets first-time buyers through the door. When consumers do not have a chance to touch and feel the product, it’s up to the trust built with their friends and influencers that will convince them to purchase your product for the first time.
So how do you design your Holiday Strategy?
The big question to ask yourself is “What is your intention for this year”?
The holiday promotional season may seem like the biggest marketing campaign of the year, but it actually only accounts for 13.4% of total revenue sales according to Statistica.
So why the huge amount of effort? It’s actually designed to be a huge boost in brand awareness to get you in front of new customers. This boost will set up you to continue building trust and consistent sales throughout the rest of the year.
So what should your intention be? Some key questions to ask yourself.
- What is the customer journey that we are testing? Setting up the customer journey with conversion metrics will let you know when and where a customer may drop off. The data that you will gain when your funnel is being put to the test this season will be great to set yourself up for success going into the new year.
- “To run promotions or not to run promotions?” Do you want to go as steep in price as you used to? Would it make sense for your bottom line since the time period of the sale has increased? COVID has strained potential revenue for many businesses, so be sure to check your bottom line to see if you can handle eating the cost of the sale. No matter what percentage you give off, it should not harm your financial forecast in the long run.
- What else can you offer beyond steep discounts? Is there anything new that you can implement this year that you’ve always been wanting to try? People are expecting a deal, but we want to elevate the promotional experience through unique offerings that do not cheapen the brand.
Other ways that you can add value to avoid the price war.
- Loyalty programs or subscriptions: When you’re not able to see a product in person, it’s harder to get new customers through the door so you want them to stay afterward. Giving special initiatives for people to sign up while they’re shopping during the holiday season is a great way to boost return customers. People like to be part of a reward, “41% of consumers say they like chances to win as a part of their loyalty rewards mix”, according to the Merkel Loyalty Barometer Report, 2020. Offering a chance to win a prize is a great way to grow a group of customers that you can remarket to throughout the year.
- Free shipping goes a long way. In the age of Amazon where we are trained to expect 2-day shipping, free shipping will make the wait worth it.
- Add free gifts with purchase or rebates to sweeten the deal.
- Upsell gift cards at check out to help boost word of mouth and get yourself in front of more potential customers.
Once your intentions are set. Make a punch list of what you need to get done with the following goals in mind:
- October through mid-November: Building trust and buzz with your audience. Start testing out what your audience is interested in with flash sales or roll out the new offerings.
- Black Friday & Cyber Monday marks the height of the shopping season where a large portion of consumer’s shopping is done in that one week window. So make sure your offerings are finalized and your marketing efforts are aligned for a full spectrum approach including social media marketing, email marketing, and ads.
- Final cut off of shipping dates: This year, many people will not gather and will ship to their family and friends instead so be mindful of your ordering cut-off dates so their gifts will get there in time for the holidays.
Remember, your plan may change after this initial set up as you test out your marketing. So give yourself the space to have a mindful pause to reflect and tweak as you go.
If you need more support for designing a custom holiday game plan, I offer complimentary initial consultations to see how I can best help you, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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