What Retailers Must Keep in Mind This Holiday Season
It’s no surprise this year’s holiday season might look different, arriving during a time of historically high inflation mixed with ongoing recession fears. But despite pandemic-related challenges and supply chain disruptions creating concerns during last year’s holiday spending, it was a record-breaking season for consumers. Still, due to so much economic uncertainty, 63 percent of marketers are bracing for a decrease in consumer spending this year, making it essential for brands to evaluate their marketing strategies in the event there’s a dip.
This means taking into consideration evolving consumer experiences and expectations while leveraging technology resources available to stand out in the (extra) crowded market during this time of year. That said, to ensure successful marketing campaigns, brands and their marketing teams must keep the following top of mind this holiday season:
When planning for holiday marketing campaigns, marketers must analyze both internal and external data to understand future demand. From looking at last year’s holiday spend to this year’s inflation — with the help of technology — this data gathered can be incorporated into algorithms to help streamline the prediction process. This provides marketers with a better understanding of their market and allows them to measure impact throughout the year and use that insight to prepare for an increase in traffic.
In a digitally saturated market, consumers will take well to personalization, especially when it’s delivered across all touchpoints within the consumer journey. As consumers today move back and forth seamlessly between real-world and online channels, reaching and analyzing the “hybrid shopper” must be a top priority. In addition to looking at online conversion rates, marketers must also pay attention to customers who received a physical ad in the mail or saw an ad in-store and converted. As a result, they can get better insight into what holiday marketing campaigns are driving consumers to act, and then optimize future strategies accordingly.
By understanding what channels are leading to conversions, marketers can target audiences where they spend the most time. This tactic is important for year-round marketing efforts, but it's essential for holiday marketing when consumers are more likely to shop and are receiving even more ads than usual. Depending on consumer behavior patterns, this might mean leaning into new technologies and channels to effectively reach target audiences. Engaging consumers where they spend the most time is crucial, but also requires research. This includes figuring out when they're most likely to shop. Is holiday shopping done early or are they looking for last-minute deals?
It also means evaluating the channels consumers most often shop through and the types of ads that are most meaningful to them. For example, thredUP launched a reactivation campaign using personalized direct mail to determine how to best communicate with email un-subscribers. The retailer immediately found what content and through what channel increased its return on investment.
From getting email campaigns out early to setting trigger-based direct mail, investing in marketing campaigns that are timed right can be the difference between success and failure. Marketers can achieve this by determining how to best integrate their marketing technology stack to ensure digital and physical interactions are unified to maximize the engagement with consumers during the times that matter most. Consumers will be expecting holiday deals and promotions, and brands can’t afford to lose out on business due to a lack of insight on when and what channels are best to target consumers.
As brands and their marketing teams gear up for the holiday season, they must look to adjust their marketing strategies to match the current market environment. Brands that take a targeted approach and prioritize the consumer experience by reaching consumers where they are at, in the channels they prefer, and at the right time, are the ones that will come out on top this holiday season — whether there’s a large influx in consumer spending or if demand falls short.
Ritu Kapoor is the chief marketing officer of Lob, a direct mail automation platform.