Applying Learnings From Back-to-School Season to Attract In-Store Holiday Shoppers
Back-to-school season has come to a close as parents successfully planned for the first return to school in nearly two years. Marketers who found success undoubtedly had a plan in place to take advantage of the surge, helping them pull share of wallet. With the pandemic-driven boon to e-commerce and our more recent hope for a return to more “normal” life, there are a lot of learnings that brands can take from the back-to-school season when planning their holiday strategies. Going into the holiday season, it’s important that brands plan an omnichannel approach to reach consumers both online and offline.
A recent Rakuten Advertising study found that an overwhelming majority of parents (89 percent) planned on doing at least some of their back-to-school shopping in-store. Marketers who found back-to-school success adopted strategies that will help attract those in-person shoppers by leveraging the digital e-commerce infrastructure that has been strengthened throughout the pandemic.
As we enter the frenzy that is the holiday shopping season, it’s important for marketers to adopt innovative thinking and make strategic investments to make the most of this unprecedented shopping season. Holiday shopping trends are likely to mirror those of back-to-school. Looking at those trends will help holiday marketers apply similar strategies, albeit on a larger scale.
Deals, Deals and More Deals
Seventy-five percent of consumers were likely to seek out deals when doing their back-to-school shopping, whether online or in-store. Just like back-to-school, holiday shoppers are going to be looking for the best deals around. Black Friday and Cyber Monday aside, holiday marketers will need to leverage deals and reward-driven incentives in order to pull the eyes of shoppers. As holiday marketers look to drive more foot traffic this year, retailers should look to discounts and promotions as a way to incentivize people to visit.
Aside from exclusive in-store offers, retailers can leverage the digital channels that they've relied upon throughout the pandemic to deliver those incentives. In-store digital coupons, cash-back offerings, card-linked offers, etc., will all appeal to different shoppers. By diversifying the deals and promotions that are made available, retailers will be able to offer consumers a wide range of incentives.
Get in the Mind of the Consumer
Retailers need to be thinking like the consumer in order to drive in-store traffic. This means that they need to carefully consider all of the ways that a consumer might want to interact in-store as a way of driving, and converting, foot traffic.
Retailers should be using omnichannel promotions to allow customers to shop the way that they want. For example, they need to invest in making buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) processes as seamless as possible. They should have an online marketplace that reflects their in-store stock, enabling people to easily see if the products they plan on buying are available. Things like processing online returns and exchanges in-store go a long way for getting the consumer in the door.
Spread the Word
Once in place, marketers need to promote these consumer-friendly in-store experiences so that shoppers are aware that they exist. To attract people who might be on the fence about shopping in-store, marketers need to focus on the benefits of in-store shopping that you simply cannot get online.
When shopping in person, people are able to try on clothes and see how they fit. They can feel and look at the material of the items and understand their quality. When shopping online, consumers are taking a measured risk that the items will look and feel as appealing in person as they might online. Holiday marketers should be reminding people of these unique in-person experiences as a way to win more in-store traffic.
By combining both the power of rewards-driven incentives with the emotion and experience of in-store shopping, marketers will be able to capitalize on the holiday season and win share of wallet from their competitors.
Erin Warren is the general manager of Rakuten In Store Network, a pay-for-performance platform that allows merchants to drive consumer traffic to in-store locations through card-linked offers.
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