7 Marketing Tips to Leverage the 2011 Holiday Buying Season
Whether it’s across the wide terrain of the Internet, the small screens of mobile devices or the storefronts of brick and mortar businesses, it’s beginning to look a lot like the holiday shopping season, everywhere you go.
You may be asking yourself what to expect in terms of how good of a holiday season businesses should expect this year.
We’ve checked with the National Retail Federation and their survey results to provide insights and tips for businesses this holiday season.
According to the National Retail Federation’s 2011 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, holiday shoppers say they plan to “shell out an average of $704.18 on holiday gifts and seasonal merchandise, down slightly from last year’s $718.98. NRF is still forecasting overall holiday retail sales to grow 2.8 percent during the months of November and December to $465.6 billion.”
What are people interested in buying this holiday season?
57.7 percent of shoppers say they’d like to receive a gift card this holiday season. Other items on consumers’ wish lists include clothing or clothing accessories (50.0%), consumer electronics or computer-related accessories (35.4%), jewelry (22.8%), and personal care items (19.3%).
Tip 1: If your business sells gift cards, offer special messaging campaigns to let shoppers know that you have the items found on consumers’ wish lists.
What will be important to shoppers this year?
Consumers have indicated that sales or price discounts will largely win out (41.6%), but customer service (6.0% vs. 5.3% last year) and quality of merchandise (14.6% vs. 12.7% in 2010) are continuing to become more vital components in consumers’ decision making processes, highlighting the growing importance of value when it comes to gift and everyday shopping.
Tip 2: Offer sales and price discounts. Create multi-touch email campaigns to attract interest; emphasize your commitment to customer service.
Will people be shopping online vs. offline?
Nearly half (46.7%) will buy online, up from 43.9 percent last year. Additionally, the average holiday shopper plans to do 36.0 percent of their shopping online – whether they’re comparing prices, researching products, or actually making a purchase.
Tip 3: Keep sure your website is up-to-date, refreshed on a regular basis, and optimized for mobile devices. Additionally, If you’re set-up to sell on Facebook, offer special deals for fans.
When will people be shopping?
While some people reportedly were going to get started in October, another 40.0 percent will begin shopping in November, 17.0 will hit the stores the first two weeks in December and 4.1 percent will procrastinate until the final two weeks of December.
Tip 4: Plan your campaigns around early, mid and late shoppers. Be ready and prepared throughout the holiday season. Remember you can still have at least 4 percent last minute shoppers.
How big will mobile be for shoppers?
The survey found 5.7 percent said they would comparative shop using their mobile device more often, nearly one-third (32.1%) will comparative shop online more often. (52.6%) of those who own a smartphone said they will use their device to research products, redeem coupons, use apps to assist in their purchase, and purchase holiday gifts and items. Specifically, nearly one-third (31.0%) say they will research products and/or compare prices, 14.1 percent will purchase products, 17.3 percent will redeem coupons and 15.6 percent will use apps to research or purchase items. One-quarter (25.1%) of smartphone owners will use their phone to look up a retailer’s information such as store hours and location.
Tip 5: Key into consumer’s locations. You can use your foursquare presence not only to offer discounts at check-in’s but to utilize the social component of location e.g. you can offer tips that tie into your location, providing relevant information about the location of your business that your customers may enjoy after they’re done shopping.
How will tablets factor into holiday shopping this year?
Tablet owners are even more likely to use their device to aid in their holiday shopping – seven in 10 (70.5%) tablet owners will research and shop using their device.
Tip 6: Knowing that more and more users will be accessing your site from a tablet, make sure your website is tablet friendly. MarketingProfs offers five ways: avoid flash; ditch drop-down menus; design for touch interaction; choose colors, textures and typography wisely; design formats to fit, and think flat and touchy.
How will young adults use mobile for holiday shopping?
When it comes to mobile shopping, young adults present the biggest opportunity for retailers. According to the survey, Americans aged 18-24 are the most likely to use their smartphones (72.2%) and tablets (86.4%) to shop for holiday items this year.
Tip 7: Tie your holiday marketing campaigns into your social networks e.g. Facebook page, consider a targeted Facebook ad, a holiday gift landing page, and if you’re already set-up to sell directly on Facebook, create special offers there.
Summary: Think about these consumer statistics, timeframes and marketing tips to help you leverage the 2011 holiday buying season. Tie your website, email newsletters, and social marketing together to create an integrated holiday marketing campaign, and make certain that your sites are all smartphone and tablet-ready.