Your physical store gives you great opportunities to build brand loyalty around the holidays. Use your website and digital marketing channels to entice new buyers with online offers to be redeemed in-store. Work hard on establishing an excellent SEO foundation to help local buyers find you by having a consistent schema markup. Even if you're not driving people to an online store, mobile is key! Ensure that your local marketing strategy beats the competition by reaching your customers where they are looking for your products. Your millennial buyers are on all types of social media, but if you sell to boomers as well, a traditional TV, magazine, or radio ad could also be a great way to drive new traffic to your locations!
BRICK AND MORTAR buyers want to touch and feel the products before they buy.
You want your house to be decorated during the holidays, so why not your website, too? Ensure that your site is spruced up with a great user experience, with clear conversion paths that are customized by audience segment. Don't forget the offers! Free shipping, free returns, and great prices will keep your audience coming back. Loyalty programs, special deals for subscribers, and other exclusive offers will capture the first-party data you'll need to rock your analytics so that you know where to find your customers. Retargeting ads for your site's prior non-converting visitors will help keep your brand top of mind when they're ready to click “Buy.”
ONLINE buyers want good deals, free shipping, and easy returns. Consistent experience is key!
You have the best of both worlds this holiday season! Use your local store as a showroom for your products, with a great hands-on customer experience. Ensure that your website is equipped with the tracking and attribution you'll need to support your more complex commerce landscape. Create a subscription program to capture first-party audience data, along with multiple conversion paths to fit every customer's needs. In-store visitors might browse or buy (or browse, then check if you have the best price in town), so offer exclusive in-store and online deals to keep your customers’ eyes where you want them—on your brand.
BRICK AND MORTAR buyers want to touch and feel the products before they buy. ONLINE buyers want good deals, free shipping, and easy returns.
Consistent experience is key!
From video gaming systems and flat-screen TVs to mobile phones and beyond, gifts in the consumer electronics space are huge hits during the holiday season. Sales numbers rise from year to year, and consumer electronics sell fast, too. (One example: Nintendo's Grand Theft Auto V topped $1 billion in US sales in its first three days on the market). Capitalizing on popular new entries in this space to capture the “early-adopter” crowd, as well as using remarketing for customers who do lots of research before making a purchasing decision, will be some of the keys to holiday marketing success in 2016.
Consumers indulge in beauty-related products in droves throughout the holiday season. Here's the real takeaway: they do so almost as much for themselves as for the people on their gift-giving list. For personal purchases, think about the high quality of service and ease of returns. Considering gifts? Around 93% of consumers report having purchased a beauty-related item as a gift. (Source: The Benchmarking Company). Whether you're a first-party or a third-party retailer of such beauty products, think about gift cards! In an industry with low margins, capitalize on this market by using flash sales, bundling gifts with incentives, and capturing first-party information through fun loyalty programs.
Targeting glamorous and aspirational buyers? Fashion items (including clothes, shoes, and accessories) and jewelry should use highly visual channels to capture attention and speak to the careful nuance to which your target demographic subscribes (think programmatic ad buying). Clothing is consistently the most often given gift during the holidays (48% of gift buyers indicated clothing on their gift list in 2015). Jewelry's market share is rising, too. Don't forget gift cards in this sector; the more personal the gifts are, the more likely the receivers will want to choose these for themselves. This makes a gift card a great option. Don't forget about making the return experience a positive one.
Home goods—that’s everything from furniture and appliances to books—any object used at home. Home goods cover holiday decorating, big-ticket products, such as furniture, and smaller items, including party gifts for hosts. Among major sectors, this is the one to ramp up early. Holiday planning should start by August, and September isn't too early to launch holiday-related buying incentives. It's all part of taking advantage of the post-summer home goods buying trend.
Regarding the travel sector, remember this mantra: Millennials matter. Big time. PriceWaterhouseCoopers (2016) reports that this demographic (75 million people, representing a $63-billion market in the US) spends more of its holiday budget on travel and entertainment—the "experience" gifts—than other demographics. That's because millennials own less stuff (they're the major drivers for the sharing economy, after all) and prefer unique and memorable experiences. Reaching them in this hyper-competitive sector requires a savvy market position and social media saturation.
Limited by last year’s budget? No problem. Sticking to last year’s best practices? No way! Uplevel your online strategy this holiday season by capitalizing on effective testing. Validate your audience by using last year’s stats. Deliver targeted ads and dynamic remarketing tactics to those folks (your highest-value customers). Consider using shopping feeds, and don’t be afraid of social media. Use it to enlarge your brand’s footprint in front of your audience (this will be a win for both your revenue and SEO strategy). Test as widely as you can afford in order to set a benchmark—that’s the data you’ll use to fine-tune your strategy for end-of-season pushes and next year’s holiday season, too.
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Great news—you're flush! Envision this as an opportunity to widen the funnel from top to bottom. Which tactics worked best last year? Focus on those winning strategies while increasing the number of high-value users you target via lookalike audiences. Base targets on user location interests and behaviors. Layer on additional testing to hone the audiences that are converting for you. Don't forget to add some new channels! Programmatic ad buying and social media ads are highly targeted ways to fine-tune your holiday approach. The more specific and strategic your data, the more you’ll be able to create a bidding strategy that will bring your ads in front of a broader, more valuable audience this holiday season.
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