The holiday season is upon us and that means it's time to review the holiday shopping trends this year that might impact your marketing and your business. Consumers are shopping earlier, online sales are increasing, and mobile shopping is on the rise. As you know, holiday sales (and end of year sales in general) are important for many companies but how can you, as a business owner, utilize these trends to enhance your marketing strategies? Let’s take a look!
Consumers Will Be Shopping Earlier
In previous years, the holiday shopping season really began after Halloween but 2015 holiday shopping trends are suggesting otherwise. In fact, 25% of shoppers started purchasing Christmas gifts prior to the typical holiday shopping season.
In fact, last year it was reported that one in four consumers purchased a Christmas present well before Halloween. Couple those statistics with another shocker, 48% of consumers have completed the majority of their holiday shopping before Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving).
What does this mean for you and your marketing? Simply put, begin the planning process as early as you can. While we are now in the middle of the holiday season, it’s still not too late to get started! And be sure to keep these facts in mind when planning in future years as well.
Online Sales Are Growing
Each year has shown that shoppers are spending more and more time researching their purchases online. It’s suggested that retail sales in both November and December will grow 5.7% when compared to last year with ecommerce making up 9% of total retail sales this season.
As a business owner, you want to make sure you capitalize on the growing online market. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Utilize Digital Marketing - This can help you better target the audience you’re looking for and increase overall awareness about your products, services, and any holiday promotions.
Increase Your Online Presence - This means making sure that your website is fully optimized for mobile shoppers (even if you don’t actually sell online, information should still be easily accessible on how to buy) and that you have a strong social media presence. Utilize your website and social platforms during the holidays to give your consumers the information they need to know easily. This means making things like holiday sales, special hours, and contact information available, easily to your viewers.
Promote Online Only Sales - Online shopping is increasing so give the shoppers what they want. Promote specific online-only deals to increase the flow of traffic to your site.
Email and Marketing Automation
Expect email marketing to play a big role in drawing in new consumers this holiday shopping season. A recent survey conducted from MailChimp found that 100% of marketers surveyed plan to use email as part of their holiday marketing strategy! Even businesses who don’t regularly use email marketing are taking advantage of the benefits it yields in reaching new and potential customers.
Another holiday shopping trend being utilized is the use of marketing automation. Automation allows marketers to schedule a number of different tasks based on actions that the user takes. For example, when someone makes a purchase, sending a personalized follow-up email is a great way to create a positive impact on the customer experience, and potentially drive them to take another action, like following your business on social media. By utilizing email and marketing automation you have the ability to plan your marketing efforts in advance and segment your lists for greater reach — saving you time and ensuring things are running smoothly.
As a business owner, you know that keeping the customer happy is vital. Customers love to feel special and appreciated. That's why it's a good rule of thumb to reach out to them via email well before and after the shopping season has come and gone. This will not only help to ensure them that your business truly cares, but it can keep your brand top-of-mind to the consumer and remind them of the additional products and services you have to offer.
Mobile Shopping Is on the Rise
During peak holiday shopping days, like Black Friday, mobile shopping accounted for almost 28% of all ecommerce sales. But why is this? What is causing mobile shopping to grow and grow every year? Here are a few factors:
Smartphone screens are much larger, hence making the shopping experience better and easier.
Mobile payment options are getting better, making it easier to shop from your phone and on-the-go.
Consumers have all of the information they need at their fingertips and they want things now!
Shoppers are more savvy and wiser than ever before. They have all of this information at their fingertips, and they aren’t afraid to use it!
The rise in mobile shopping provides a great opportunity for businesses to ensure their site is mobile-friendly or responsive to capitalize on the increased traffic. This means ensuring that the online shopping experience is seamless by keeping it easy for your consumers to find what they need, quickly and easily. Site performance is key for creating a positive experience for online shopper, and there are number of tools available for businesses to test the performance and mobile-friendliness of their site.
Also, take a look at the competition. Is their online presence optimized for mobile? If not, this is a great opportunity for your business to take advantage of the additional traffic and more sales!
Brand Loyalty Has Plateaued
Buyers are more concerned with a great deal over sticking to a brand they know and love. Brand loyalty is up for grabs and consumers are open to change, often looking to new stores and brands for their holiday shopping purchases.
This means making sure that your brand and it’s holiday promotions are visible to consumers at the right place and the right time. As holiday shoppers start earlier in the season, so should your advertising.
Videos Draw Consumers In
Video marketing has become a powerful tool for advertisers. According to Marketing Land, online shoppers are 1.6 times more likely to buy a product after watching a video. Online video has also created a way for buyers to review products before they buy. It gives them a chance to see the product, learn the pros and cons, and hear what others think. Consumers are putting more stakes into peer reviews than actual information from experts.
The Gift Card Market Gains Steam
Gift cards have been the most requested of all holiday items on holiday shopping lists for the past eight years. Because of this, the gift card industry is anticipated to reach $140 billion by next year. Tap into this market by focusing advertising and promotions on gift cards before the end of the holiday shopping season.
The majority of consumers who purchase gift cards tend to do so a week or two before the holiday, after they've exhausted all gift avenues. Promote gift cards for your business as a great last minute holiday gift.
As a business owner, proper planning and preparation is key. Learning where to focus your marketing efforts this holiday shopping season can help create success and revenue. These 2015 holiday shopping predictions, are based on trends seen throughout the year. Focus your efforts on those that align best with your business goals and budgets to capitalize on the increase in traffic this holiday season.