This year, holiday sales are expected to exceed $1 trillion for the first time. This means retailers have an opportunity to win big, but to do so, they must employ a mix of targeted marketing campaigns that drive shoppers to both their physical and digital locations.
While the growth of e-commerce is frequently blamed for the challenges faced by traditional retailers, in-store shopping still dominates during the holidays and year-round. Physical stores command more than 80 percent of holiday spend even though their share of overall sales is decreasing as consumers choose to purchase more gifts online, according to Cardlytics’ 2018 Holiday Spend Report.
Connect With Consumers All Season Long
It's critical for brand marketers to stay relevant and top-of-mind throughout the entire holiday season, as procrastinators with strong purchase power will want to tackle their gift lists in December. The Cardlytics report shows that spend ramps up in the weeks before Christmas in all channels (in-store and online), so it’s not too late to win over last-minute shoppers regardless of where they prefer to buy.
With all of the hype around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, marketers often make the mistake of ramping up activity in preparation then quickly slowing down. This strategy can cost them dearly. By analyzing $1.5 trillion in purchase data, we see that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are actually declining in significance among shoppers. Instead, the majority of consumers buy gifts steadily throughout the season, well into December.
Brick-and-mortar retailers can capture procrastinators’ attention by promoting exclusive in-store deals during this period to help drive purchase decision and in-store spend.
Cater to Convenience
In an age of instant gratification, consumers expect both benefits and savings, which can create challenges for retailers. Messaging that promotes online and in-store convenience can help brands meet the expectations of even the most demanding last-minute shoppers.
Digital retailers can make the holidays less stressful for procrastinators and attract more customers by strengthening their online and mobile channels with benefits like price matching, easy-to-use gift guides, and free express shipping. Physical stores can help customers see the convenience of in-store purchases by playing up the value of instant fulfillment, a hands-on experience, verifiable quality, and easy gift returns.
Focus on the Big Picture
’Tis the season to acquire new customers. People are much more likely to try a new brand for the first time during the holidays, particularly those who wait until the last minute and must look beyond their favorite stores to check the last few items off their lists.
Adventurous holiday shoppers are critical for retailers, as customers acquired in Q4 account for a significant portion of their total customers throughout the entire year. The Cardlytics report finds that procrastinators spend an average of $500 with new brands, out of a nearly $1,730 in total holiday spending, demonstrating the magnitude of this opportunity.
Retailers should target their marketing broadly to drive purchases from new customers, particularly in the final weeks of the year.
This year’s strong economy gives in-store and digital retailers all an opportunity to win a piece of the holiday spending pie this season, while laying the foundation for a lucrative 2019. The retailers that succeed in capturing the most holiday spend will be those that offer convenience and reliability, making the season merry and bright for all.
Dani Cushion is the chief marketing officer at Cardlytics, a purchase intelligence platform.
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Dani Cushion is the chief marketing officer at Cardlytics, a fraud-free, native advertising platform.
With a focus on driving significant company growth, she has built out a best-in-class global marketing and communications team, and helped the company go public with the first tech IPO of 2018. Previously, she was SVP marketing and communications at Millennial Media, where she saw the company through its IPO and numerous acquisitions. She began her career in sports marketing at Major League Soccer, ISL, Millsport, and SiriusXM, and currently sits on the Board of Directors for not-for-profit organization Women in Technology. Dani graduated from Lehigh University with a Marketing major, and minors in Philosophy and Economics. She started every game for the women’s soccer team while there, and captained the squad her junior and senior years. Dani lives in Atlanta with her husband, three children, and a bunch of crazy pets.