Whether you’re a retail business or not, now is the time to nail down your holiday marketing strategy. But, before you launch your campaigns or pitch your ideas to your CMO, you should be wary of a few false assumptions many marketers make about the holiday buying season.
As you start to build out and execute on your holiday marketing ideas and strategies, you’ll want to avoid making these assumptions with your holiday marketing.
1. People have already decided what they are buying — and where to buy it.
According to Google’s Marketing Guide to Holiday Shopping, people are not nearly as decisive as you might think about their holiday buying decisions. Not only are almost 70% of people undecided or considering multiple gift items as they start their holiday shopping, but they’re not even sure where they are buying those gifts from.
While brand loyalty is important, shoppers are getting smarter about looking for the best deals online and in-store. In fact, more than 50% of holiday shoppers said they were open to purchasing from retailers they had never bought anything from before.
So what does that mean for your business? It means your organic search strategy and holiday promotion tactics need to be on point. Potential customers are looking for the best deals, and willing to approach new brands, which means it’s more important than ever that your products appear when they are searching.
Keep in mind, 76% of mobile shoppers have changed their mind about which retailer or brand to buy from after searching on Google. That means regardless of how aware consumers are of your products, there’s a huge opportunity for you to be the brand that potential customers find and purchase from online.
2. People don’t use their phones for holiday shopping.
E-commerce on mobile is ever-expanding, but it’s important to note that people use their phones to move through every stage of the buyer’s journey. According to Deloitte’s holiday survey from last year, nearly 8 out of 10 people anticipated using their smartphones for holiday shopping. They further broke down how consumers use smartphones to shop for the holidays, saying:
- 61% of people will use smartphones to get store locations
- 57% of people will use smartphones to compare prices
- 50% of people will use smartphones to get product information
- 51% of people will use smartphones to to read reviews on the go
Pro-tip? Get your mobile experience in check. Your customers will expect a seamless mobile experience when navigating your website. Google’s Mobile-First indexing is looming, so the holidays are just another excuse to mobile-optimize your pages.
Pay attention to every aspect of important SERPs, from local packs to Google shopping. After all, if you know what’s on the SERP for crucial holiday- and product-related keywords, you’ll be that much more equipped to earn top rankings.
Something else to keep in mind about your mobile shopping experience? More than 40% of smartphone shoppers want retailers to automatically surface relevant information such as special deals, the location of items in a store, and related information. As customers’ expectations rise, this holiday season (or the year following) might be the time for you to experiment with new strategies, like app development.
3. Customers reach an online purchase decision quickly, without much research.
Because smartphones are widely used today, consumers have more access to information, products, and your competition than ever before. For this reason, it won’t come as much of a surprise that consumers are exploring more sites and reading more information before making a decision. In Deloitte’s holiday survey, they found that 86% of consumers report conducting online research before shopping in physical stores.
So, don’t rely solely on a holiday marketing strategy that sells your product; you’ll also need to create content or holiday promotions that provide holiday shoppers with valuable information to help them make purchase decisions.
The National Retail Federation’s Retail Holiday Planning Playbook for 2017 gave some additional surprising figures: two-thirds of holiday shoppers in 2016 said they typically research products that are less than $50, while 85 percent research a product that is between $50 and $100.
While customers do online research more often for big ticket items, it’s important that you help them make their purchase decisions no matter what price point your products fall in. Look for gaps in your marketing content and explore how you can answer questions that help them evaluate products and discover that yours is the right one for them to buy.
4. People avoid shopping on big sale days (Black Friday, I’m looking at you).
As the retail market evolves in the digital age, retailers worry that shoppers will sit out the traditionally heavy shopping days like Black Friday. Rest easy, retailers. Those shopping days are very much alive, and are crucial to your overall holiday promotion strategy. According to Google, on mobile alone, conversion rates are 30% higher on Black Friday and 50% higher on Cyber Monday when compared to November 1.
The ticket to capitalizing on those Black Friday conversions? Figure out innovative ways to incorporate mobile devices into your shopping experience. Promote online-only sales to push your consumers to your site on their mobile devices. You could also leverage your push notifications to promote app activity and in-app purchases.
5. Online shopping means consumers won’t shop last minute.
The NRF found that the average shopper had only completed 53% of their shopping list with two weeks left in the Christmas shopping season. Furthermore, nearly 45% were still weighing what they were going to buy. As you brainstorm around holiday marketing ideas, you’ll want to position yourself and your products as a great last-minute option for shoppers.
One last way to boost your holiday marketing success? Providing promotional pricing, fast and guaranteed shipping, and flexible return policies will engender brand loyalty from your customers so that, even after the holidays have past, they’ll come back to you.
So as the holidays loom and you begin to plan for your holiday marketing campaigns, be wary of these assumptions. You know what they always say? When you assume you make a… well, you know what they always say.