Preparation is Key to a Successful Peak Shopping Season (and Beyond)
In many ways, peak shopping season is like the Olympic Winter Games of the performance marketing world. An entire year’s worth of strategy and planning culminate into essentially 12 weeks of wheeling, dealing and, most importantly, converting browsers into buyers. And just like in the Olympics, you don’t get to compete, much less take home a medal, without a significant lift on your end. It’s the same in performance marketing, whether affiliate, search or any other channel. Months of paying the proverbial dues by way of preparation and dedication are at our feet right now. It’s time to get moving.
Consumers are savvy, there’s no debate about that. You know this is true because you’re one of them. Use this fact to help get yourself into your consumer’s mind-set and you’ll be unwrapping the greatest gift of all — Q4 sales growth.
A recent Pepperjam survey of 240 individuals uncovered four key trends that will impact retailers during the 2017 holiday shopping season. To stay ahead of competitors and be the brand shoppers choose, retailers must take action to ensure their marketing strategies are on par with consumer preferences.
Key Insight No. 1: Poor User Experience (UX) is a Holiday Deal Breaker
This probably comes as no surprise: a whopping 69 percent of consumers say (and rightfully so) that they have come to simply expect a smooth and easy buying experience.
What can you do to ensure a solid UX?
- Audit your current checkout process to ensure it's friction-less.
- Look at the entire promo experience, from recommended offer to offer used, and see if the offer is applied in cart or somewhere else.
Key Insight No. 2: Family’s First When it Comes to Bigger Ticket Gift Giving
Family members typically don’t mind spending the bigger bucks on their own flesh and blood, especially during the holidays.
What can you do to accommodate this fact?
- Be present where people are creating lists for family gift giving (think Pinterest), and make it easy for them to pin your products.
- Make discounts available earlier than you have in the past.
- Make promotions more sentimental than you ever have (family-first shoppers will appreciate this).
Key Insight No. 3: The Holidays May Be Over, But the Shopping Certainly Isn’t
Do you love a good post-holiday deal? You’re in good company as do so many other people.
How can you accommodate the ‘last minute and beyond’ shopper?
- Put a little budget aside to offer some special promotions just for late birds.
- Celebrate late shoppers by creating shopping guides tailored just for them.
- Nail down placements early to secure prime placement in this untapped post-season space.
Key Insight No. 4: Avoid the Mailbox and Instead Focus on Personalized Promotions in the Inbox
Paper catalogs have seen their day. With 49 percent of consumers saying they used an email that promoted a sale and 33 percent saying they used an online coupon that was emailed to them to make a purchase, now is the time for personalizing emails.
How can you take action?
- A quick and easy way to accomplish this is to include the person’s first name in the email’s subject line. Simple, yet effective.
- Use keyword insertion tools in search.
- Hypertarget and use audience-appropriate tone in social messaging.
- Consider personalized coupon codes for affiliate marketing.
Getting into the mind of and understanding your customer will ultimately make them happier, and happier customers make more purchases. Being proactive in your approach and planning is the difference between a customer checking out on your site or on a competitor’s.
Maura Smith is the senior vice president of affiliate network at Pepperjam, a performance marketing agency.
Related story: 2017 Holiday Season Predictions for Retailers