The holidays are upon us, and you know what that means…well, what does that mean, exactly, in 2020? Will holiday shopping be robust, as pandemic-fatigued shoppers buy loads of gifts to help make socially distant holidays feel more festive? Or will people pull back and spend less amid uncertainty about the future of the economy? Will anyone go out to malls or brick-and-mortar shops? Will it be online shopping, all the way?
One thing that is certain is that if your holiday marketing strategy is better planned, it will be better-executed, and that, ultimately, means it will be better performing, and deliver better results.
Early forecasts from retail analysts are pointing toward a return to traditional gifts and away from experiences, which had been growing in popularity in previous years. They are also indicating that shoppers will be highly price-sensitive and will be doing both in-store browsing and buying as well as online shopping. A move toward an earlier start to holiday promotions, likely beginning in early to mid-October, and a calendar with ongoing limited-edition or other time-sensitive promotions will be likely, to entice both early and late shopping.
So how to best capitalize on a holiday season that is both uncertain and critical? Here are five tips to get you working toward many happy returns (on investment).
Holiday Marketing Tip 1: Plan for Online and In-Person Purchases
From an operations perspective, businesses should make sure that they can serve customers no matter how they want to buy. If they want to browse in the store, make their choices and check out normally, businesses should have their cleaning and social distancing protocols in order. If they want to browse online, but pick up curbside or in-store, make that an option too. And, put all of your inventory online for those shoppers who want to do all their shopping from their laptop or phone. To maximize sales, as well as the return on your holiday promotions, you want to cast the widest net possible and serve as many customers as possible. This means making sure you have digital tools in place — from customer-support chatbots to functioning website links and correct website promotional codes. And it means in-store signage, employee training on the promotions, and in-person customer service staffs, who can adhere to strict safety standards while offering top-notch service too.
Holiday Marketing Tip 2: Pinpoint What Type of Sales and Promotions Your Business Will Offer
Today’s consumer lives in a tech savvy world where discounts and promos exist everywhere in a variety of forms. It is crucial to get creative with your holiday sales marketing strategy. Already, some retailers have announced pop-up shops in parking lots to allow for easier social distancing. What other kinds of special, COVID-compliant events or promotions could you do? Do you want to offer one large sale that will entice bargain shoppers? Or perhaps a variety of bi-weekly promotions that highlight the value of your products or services, or bundle them, rather than a discount? Will you reward your loyal customers with gifts with purchase? Or offer deals for email marketing subscribers or social media followers?
Holiday Marketing Tip 3: Incorporate a Content Marketing Approach Into Your Brand’s Holiday Strategy
While straightforward clearances and discount pitches can be quite effective, don’t forget that today’s enlightened consumer appreciates receiving content from your brand that is truly useful and relevant in their day-to-day life. Offer customers a personalized gift guide featuring your company’s best-selling products. Promote videos of your products helping customers with issues they may encounter around the holidays. Writing stories about your company, the way a magazine or news website might, is one of the most effective ways to capture customers’ attention and engage them.
Holiday Marketing Tip 4: Tap Into Holiday Nostalgia With Extra Creativity
For many, the holiday season is considered the most magical time of year. This year will be different for sure, and the nostalgia won’t be just for childhood, but for the pre-COVID times as well. Positive messaging that is hopeful and solution-focused is likely to bring comfort at a time when your customers are longing for ease, simplicity and normalcy. Get creative with ideas to make the holidays more comforting for your customers. That means convenience, yes, but also think about ways that your company can take really good care of customers this year. It is a great opportunity to think outside the box and flex your creative muscle. Rewrite the standard copy and redesign the standby homepage or email template. Regardless of your industry, odds are that most of your customers will appreciate a marketing campaign that is extra creative and truly special.
Holiday Marketing Tip 5: Say Thank You
Every customer is more valuable than ever this year. Interesting and creative ways to say “thank you for your business” will land on receptive ears this year. Personalization goes a long way in marketing, so customizing the message, or adding personal touches from your team will make any communication more effective. There is no better time than the holidays to show your appreciation and build brand loyalty in the process.