Editor’s Note: This article is also featured in The Huffington Post, entitled 10 Holiday Marketing Trends Every Small Business Can Leverage.
eMarketer reports suggest that “holiday season sales for retail are expected to reach $863 billion in 2014 ($72.4 billion from e-commerce), up from $822 billion last year ($62.1 billion from e-commerce).” But are you positioned to capitalize on this forecast and similar trends?
Before you ask Santa to slip a Sable under the tree and take a swig of holiday cheer “I double-dog-dare ya!” to rethink, and possibly retool, your holiday marketing campaigns. Why? Because if you haven’t kept these holiday marketing trends in mind it might not be such a wonderful life once sales reports roll in. So, if you want customers singing and cha-chinging as they sing “All I Want For Christmas Is You!” keep these trends in mind:
November and December are ‘game time’ for small business.
According to the National Retail Federation, “20 to 40 percent of yearly sales for small and mid-sized retailers take place within the last two months of the year.” Holiday shoppers can make or break your annual sales target. With this in mind consider innovative promotions (e.g., BOGO, loyalty rewards, and incentives with purchase) to move more inventory. If you operate a seasonal business, consider pre-selling and packaging services for future redemption in the year ahead. If you offer services look to partner with a complimentary (not substitute) local company and co-market, respectively. Not only will you reach an entirely new audience, the business you partner with will do the same. Co-marketing, when done correctly, is a win-win.
If you haven’t started holiday initiatives you are already behind.
October 31st has come and gone. Studies reveal that “49 percent of marketers will launch a holiday marketing campaign before Halloween.” (Source: Experian) If you haven’t started thinking about how to ramp up holiday sales you are operating at a deficit.
Holiday shoppers have mobile on their mind and so should you.
“Mobile is expected to have an impact on 87 percent of all holiday purchases,” according to the Mobile Marketing Association. This reinforces the importance of having a mobile-ready website. “A whopping 101.7 million consumers in the U.S. will make purchases via their mobile devices this holiday season, a 37.3 percent growth from last year.” If your company website is not responsive to mobile environments (i.e., tablets and smartphones) you are missing out on valuable website traffic and subsequently sales. Engage with holiday shoppers while they are on the go or they’ll make a list, check it twice and you won’t be on it.
Twitter is now a more viable shopping buddy than your spouse.
Yes, you read this correctly. “In a recent survey of Twitter users, 45 percent of respondents said they would rather take Twitter shopping with them than their husband or wife!” Holiday shoppers are steadily becoming more reliant on social platforms than ever before. So, carefully consider how you share social content. Seek to inform, engage and inspire in lieu of an obvious hard sell.
For example, if you’re a menswear retailer share “110 character” tips on how to shop for the man in your life, while linking to a landing page of top menswear picks from your store. If you sell gourmet foods, start conversations around top holiday foods and share hi-res product shots of your goodies with smart and tasty captions. Don’t neglect social this season.
Social media is a holiday shoppers best friend.
“64.8 percent of shoppers [will] use social media to find the perfect gift.” (Crowdtap) Now’s the time to pull out all the stops on your Ultimate Gift Guide for ‘insert target audience here’ and Must-Haves for ‘insert target audience here’.
Once you’ve pulled together your trusty, and completely biased, gift list distribute it to your email subscribers and share it with targeted industry blogs, trade magazines, and news sites. Lastly, make sure your social accounts are regularly updated with relevant content. Aim to make your customers’ shopping experience easy-breezy and painless.
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