It’s officially the holiday season with Amazon and Target launching their early fall sales in October. If it’s feeling too early, remember most of the holiday shopping occurs October-November before the 12 days of the Christmas countdown.
If you haven’t done anything yet to prep for the holiday season, don’t feel behind. Over the last couple of years, there has been an emphasis on digital marketing funnels so your funnel should be already optimized to handle the influx of potential buyers.
If this is your first holiday season, don’t feel overwhelmed. Think of the holiday season as a great time to kick start the brand awareness around your brand and to learn how you can continue to optimize throughout the year so that by the next season you’re ready to go.
This year is also a little bit different with more people returning to IRL (In Real Life) socialization and the ongoing battle of inflation and recession warnings. Here are some major trends to consider watching this season.
Rising Costs Are Shifting Consumer’s Mindset
Economic concerns and the recession is shifting the way consumers are tackling the holiday season this year specifically:
- Budgets overall are shrinking, more people are spending $200 under their budget compared to last year and 34% of consumers plan to reduce the number of gifts brought due to higher prices*
- They are being more cautious. There was only a 5% increase in spending during the back-to-school season which is usually a telltale sign of buyer confidence during the holiday season
- Deals are a top priority this season. 51% of consumers plan to pay more attention to sales and discounts this year*
- Early bird gets the worm. 31% of consumers plan to shop earlier to avoid higher prices*
*Integral Ad Science
Now if this feels a little bit overwhelming for a small business that can’t afford the deep cuts that the larger brands can. There are some loopholes:
- People are willing to spend more on others than on themselves especially as they’re socializing more this holiday season. 78% will be buying for their friends according to Inmar Intelligence, 2022 Holiday Guide, meaning that you can be introduced to your end customer through a great referral resource, their friends.
- People are still willing to pay more for Faster Shipping & Guaranteed Delivery, Sustainable Products, and support Small Businesses.*
*Justuno, 2022 Holiday Consumer Behavior
Digital vs In Real Life Shopping
In 2020, everything became digital as it was hard for consumers to access the items on their shopping list due to COVID restrictions or lack of stock in their nearby retail stores. This year with the ease of COVID restrictions and the invitation for travel, consumers are leaning to do more of their shopping online and in person depending on the product.
During the last couple of years, the biggest push was for live shopping and social commerce. However, what large companies like Meta have found is that people aren’t that interested in live shopping or social commerce just yet.
As more people are comfortable with being out socializing with others, they will start migrating back to shopping in real life depending on the item. However, many people still like shopping on their phones and online for the accessibility factor to hot items.
While they’re shopping online and in person, they still expect the same customer service to be online as it is in person so be sure to have your messaging tools accessible and ready to answer any questions a consumer may have otherwise they will go to someone else.
Advertising Shifts Away From Conversion
When you think of advertising you think of converting consumers into customers. But in the most competitive season of the year where the pay-to-play rate starts at $10,000, it’s about getting on their list before the big day.
During Black Friday and Cyber Monday, most people are going to be purchasing based on their previous shopping habits so you actually want to have already caught their attention early on so that when the day comes you’re focused on reminding them to come back through the door versus trying to convert a first time customer.
That being said: It’s still not too late to get on their radar.
More consumers are in the researching stage as the early sales in October trigger them to start browsing before they truly add to the cart in the Black Friday/Cyber Monday marathon. So they’ll be more receptive to ads and it’ll be a favorable time to get on their list. Get them on your email list during this time not only to let you be remembered when they’re in the shopping marathon but for future opportunities the rest of the year
No matter whether your intention is to get on their list or get in their cart. The main way to get on their radar is User Generated Content, the visual representation of word of Mouth. If you have referral partners/influencers that you’ve worked with over the year, now is the time to double down and get on their holiday guides. They’re already working on launching the holiday guides the moment it hits November 1st for that Christmas lover who’ll decorate their home for the holidays the moment Halloween is over.
Takeaways and Next steps to consider
If you want to be able to make a blip this holiday season, it’s about getting on the two places they care about: Social Media and Emails. But access to that attention has to be earned so here are some tactics that you can incorporate today.
It’s about getting on their holiday shopping list
With the rise in inflation, people are doing their research ahead of time so that when hot items go on sale they’re going straight into purchasing. They want to plan ahead on what needs to be purchased because they know that supply chains affected the limited quantity available.
From September, the main goal of your marketing would be to get on their list as this marks the time frame when consumers are more open-minded to new ideas. Many consumers agree that advertising is how they find new items because they know how competitive hot items are and that’s a great chance for you to get on their list when they want to try something new.
Reminding them about you during Black Friday/Cyber Monday
Just cause you’re on their list doesn’t mean they’ll purchase you. If they have a limited budget you want to be the first store they go to and that’s about getting them on your email list so they get a notification. Timing-wise, people will begin shopping on Thanksgiving day during the food coma lull so be sure to be in their inbox in time for the big day. Don’t forget there are also other reminder lists like Instagram stickers, text message reminders, and more!
Don’t forget that you can still get them after December 25th
A lot of people are looking to hold out on the after-Christmas sale when it comes to purchasing for themselves. Before Christmas, you’re aiming to be on their gift list but after Christmas, it’s all about the treat-yo self mentality. So consider creating content to be a part of the “self-care” lists or the new year’s sales list. You can also boost your loyalty program afterward such as if they spend a specific amount during Christmas for their friends, you can have them come back after Christmas with loyalty points.
Good luck and may the holiday odds be forever in your favor!