The iconic retailer, Sears, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and, as a result, plans to close 142 unprofitable stores – just as we’re on the verge of the busiest shopping time of the year. It is even more proof of why it’s so critical to continually innovate when it comes to retail strategy.
It’s difficult to know if or how Sears will be involved in seasonal planning, but others in the retail landscape are already in the swing of holiday prepping. If your company is still on the cusp of planning, there is still time to capitalize if you move quickly.
Each year, the days between Black Friday and New Year’s Eve become increasingly crazier to plan for as the ways consumers consume information change (and increase!) each year. So here are some tips to get your retail marketing plan jumping in time for the holiday season.
1) Begin by considering your customer journey
How do your customers find you? If you don’t know, find out. Fast.
- Use data to understand how your customers shop.
- Data is also the best way to target new customers. According to Data Marketing Association (DMA) reports, direct mail response rates from current customers increased by 37% since 2015. However, prospect rates have more than doubled by a 190% increase through the use of targeted direct mail. When companies are able to segment and harness real-time transactional data, they can in turn optimize lists to identify the best prospects to acquire. This tactic, combined with an integrated email marketing campaign (see below) will help deliver that consistent omnichannel experience.
2) Jump on the mobile bandwagon
Cyber Monday is creeping up on the Black Friday frenzy. Last year Cyber Monday pulled in a record breaking $6.59 billion, with $2 billion in sales coming just from smartphones, making a mobile strategy a must.
- Whether your store has a mobile app or mobile site in place, make sure the shopping experience is seamless.
- Shoppers expect your full product line, competitive prices, and easy (or free) shipping options.
- Buying online, with in-store pickup will also garner more holiday sales. Consumers love it, and for retailers it almost always opens the door for incremental purchases. Mobile also offers great geo-targeting options for marketers as well (P.S. we can help with this!)
3) SEO ASAP
How do you like that acronym? Since organic search takes time, start building pages with your holiday keywords as soon as you can, like “My Little Pony Magic Twilight Sparkle toy” or “Health & Fitness Smartwatch Fitbit Versa, with heart rate monitor, apps.” By optimizing your pages using SEO best practices (meta data, descriptions, and quality inbound links) you are increasing your chances for visibility and for your products to trend in the months prior to, and past, the holiday season.
4) Pick up your email pace
Holidays are the best time for email, even though inboxes fill up often with offers from brands consumers love (and others they don’t) and this is the time when open rates are high – fueled by shoppers looking for a deal they can’t refuse. I literally will not buy a product during the holidays unless I have a coupon.
And these emails are another great time to use data. Create personalized messages that are tailored to the recipient using your customer data. Pair your email campaign with a tailored direct mail piece that works hand-in-hand.
5) Add Print to the mix
I’ve already mentioned the benefit of direct mail for acquiring new customers. Consider other methods to reach both existing and new shoppers. Use data where possible to tailor your messaging.
- Magazine cover wraps or inside advertising to keep your brand top of mind
- Use print to drive consumers to your best digital assets, whether that’s a personalized page for them, a coupon, or your ecommerce platform with easy-to-buy functionality
- A strong call-to-action in your creative will produce the best ROI
If you aren’t already on your way to executing a well-thought-out holiday shopping strategy, hopefully these tips will help you.
And just for fun, here’s a video of our very own Ms. Grizz Leigh Bear doing her own shopping using personalized coupons.