Consumer trends are changing fast, so to remain competitive, retailers need to embrace these rapid changes. In this blog we have distilled some essential holiday tips for sellers wanting to remain competitive during the holiday season.
It has been a long time since retail was a single channel experience, so why should your advertising be?
According to the America National Retail Federation (NFR) 43% of shoppers said they paid most attention to television, while digital mediums such as Facebook (29%), email advertisements (24%), retailer apps (17%) and Pinterest (17%) played a smaller role in gift inspiration. Unsurprisingly, digital mediums vary in importance across all demographics, showing the most influence on younger generations. Yet even among this market segment there is still segregation, with nearly 50% of ‘Millennials’ saying they were most influenced by Facebook, while ‘Generation Z’ favoured photo-sharing platform, Instagram.
Social media is a fantastic tool to breathe personality into your brand and help bring you closer to your customers. 54% of the NFR holiday shoppers surveyed said they utilised recommendations from retailers and 44% took gift ideas from family and friends.
So, if you can use social media to build rapport with your customers through product videos, prize giveaways, excellent customer service, point schemes and by encouraging the customer to feel that they have a say in your brand, you will be able to establish a loyal relationship. This will give you more influence when it comes to providing future product recommendations, helping to push customers over the purchasing line.
Research has become a critical step on the road to purchase, particularly for holiday shoppers looking to make their purse strings stretch as far as possible. Consumers are looking for the best price regardless of the type of product and will take the time to search both online and offline channels to find the best deal.
So, make sure you are keeping up with your customers, by doing your due diligence well before the holiday season (remembering more than half of shoppers start their holiday research before November). So, make sure you have your unique deals ready early, to guarantee a competitive edge.
All consumers demand full transparency during the shopping process. This means that retailers need to provide robust information on all their products and services (such as deliveries), across their website, marketplace channels and in store.
Genuine and honest content is as critical as buying guides and reviews. It can help shoppers feel confident that they are making the right purchase decision.
Holiday season related purchases result in a high traffic for review pages, since reviews and consumer opinion is seen as a critical component of the shopping process. Nearly all shoppers read the previous shoppers’ notes (98%) as they are considered trustworthy by 90% of readers.
So, a key holiday tip for sellers is to make sure you are super informative and accurate.
Consumer touch points have become more diverse, meaning you need to manage your brand across a variety of channels; from traditional brick-and-mortar stores to international online marketplace outlets. But while your channels may be different, the way you present your brand should remain consistent – particularly when trying to attract new customers.
Once you have confirmed your holiday messaging, and created a promotional campaign that Santa would be proud of, make sure you amplify it across all consumer touch points – from in-store to social! By reiterating the same message throughout all consumer interactions, the customer will become more susceptible to your message and more likely to remember your fantastic holiday offers.
Leading on from Tip 5, it is important that the message you present to your customers is right for them. There is no point creating a stunning digital campaign on the best toys of the holiday season and then sending your campaign to customers who do not have kids.
By segmenting your digital marketing lists by age, gender, location or even the types of products that have previously been purchased, you can start to create targeted campaigns, which will result in higher conversions. Think about how to market different messages to your different customers, based on who they are and their buying habits.
During the holiday season, many shoppers will look outside their ‘usual’ stores to find something different. To capture those shoppers, you need to present them with an offer they can’t walk away from.
According to the NRF, 50% of 2016 holiday shoppers were convinced to make a purchase based on a limited-time sale or promotion, and 48% made more impulse purchases in comparison to the previous year. So, by adding a time restriction to your deal, you are more likely to capture the impulse buyer.
Including a gift (or a promotion) with a purchase encouraged 25% of 2016 holiday shoppers to complete a purchase. This again goes back to the idea that holiday shoppers are looking to get the most out of their seasonal budget, and if the ‘free gift’ can be turned into an additional present for a loved one, why wouldn’t they want to complete the purchase?
This is probably one of the most important holiday tips for sellers. Not only will long-standing customers thank you for receiving their products on time, but it will ensure that new customers keep coming back.
Throughout the holiday season, consumers expect a variety of seamless shipping options including click-and-collect, one-hour delivery slots and free shipping. In fact, 64% of the NRF’s holiday shoppers were incentivised to complete a purchase based on a free shipping offer, and consumers were also seen to demand more generous returns policies.
Flexibility is key during this busy season! So, if you get your logistics right and couple that with excellent customer service throughout, those seasonal ‘holiday shoppers’ may become loyal, repeat customers, who were originally only enticed by your fantastic peak offers.
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