Editor's Note: School Bells Giving Way to Sleigh Bells
Retail emails mentioning "Christmas" or "holiday" have also started appearing earlier than ever this year. According to the Retail Email Blog, Hallmark promoted a Christmas card contest in March, The Sportsman's Guide mentioned holiday ornaments in an email in May, and Norm Thompson promoted ornaments and other holiday items in emails in May and June.
There's no mystery as to why retailers are constantly stretching out the holiday shopping season: The longer the season, the more shoppers are likely to spend. In addition, if retailers start their advertising campaigns earlier in the season, they're able to spread their messages to consumers with less ad clutter to compete with.
Consumer Trends to Keep Top of Mind This Holiday Season
So, what should cross-channel retailers do to make this holiday season a profitable one? According to IBM Enterprise Marketing Management's fifth annual Online Retail Holiday Readiness Report, published in June, they should focus on the following:
- Mobile shopping and browsing. There will likely be a big increase in mobile shopping this holiday season. Make sure your site(s) and ads are optimized for mobile devices.
- Pervasive personalization. The more closely you match offers, products and content to individual consumers this holiday season, the greater the reward will be for you and your customers.
- Display ad and email retargeting. Using display ads and emails to re-engage visitors who browsed an item or added an item to their shopping cart but didn't make a purchase is growing rapidly among retailers. The strategy has proven to drive sales and elevate brand awareness. Make it a part of your marketing mix this season.
- Email rendering and deliverability. For your holiday promotional emails to be effective, they need to reach inboxes and render across a broad range of desktop and web email clients, mobile devices, browsers, and internet service providers.
- Unified cross-channel marketing. Smart retailers are moving toward a unified cross-channel marketing approach that presents a consistent, personalized experience across all offline and online touchpoints.