For retail businesses, there’s no more important time of the year than the holidays. In 2017, holiday ecommerce sales increased by 17.8 percent over 2016 sales, and with a booming US economy, all signs point to the 2018 season being even bigger.

Related Content:
Your 4-Month Holiday Retail Marketing
Prep Guide

To help you prepare your business for the upcoming shopping onslaught, consider these four top retail holiday marketing trends to take advantage of this year.

1. Optimize for Mobile

More and more shoppers continue to switch to mobile-only shopping. Per the Salesforce Shopping Index, mobile order share is estimated to hit 50 percent by the end of 2018. For retailers, this means that being mobile optimized is no longer optional, but rather a necessary part of doing business.

Streamline your checkout for mobile, turn off mandatory registration, and make sure the cart button is displayed prominently on your site.

Your mobile website should be as good or better than your desktop version if you want to capitalize on the large share of mobile customers. Keep in mind that some of the most common reasons shoppers abandon shopping carts are related to an overly complicated checkout process. Streamline your checkout for mobile, turn off mandatory registration, and make sure the cart button is displayed prominently on your site.

2. Use Free Shipping to Your Advantage

There’s no question that shoppers love free shipping—and over the last few years, they’ve come to expect it. But how do you offer free shipping without taking a profitability hit?

A few key ways you may consider are:

  • Offer free shipping on select items
  • Set minimum order thresholds
  • Offer free, but slower shipping
  • Look at the holiday season as a free shipping promotional period

Personalization has become one of the highest drivers of success for the modern marketer, and that applies during the holiday shopping season as well.

Also, don’t forget about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, as free shipping is must-have on key shopping days.

3. Segment and Personalize for Success

Personalization has become one of the highest drivers of success for the modern marketer, and that applies during the holiday shopping season as well. Put your marketing data to work for you by identifying your top customer segments, and mapping out relevant content and offers to reach those segments throughout the shopping season.

Use past research and purchase behaviors to connect customers to the products they’re looking for, and use email to promote sales, invite subscribers to holiday events, and showcase unique gift ideas.

Online holiday shopping seems to start earlier every year. By understanding your shoppers’ habits, you can bring your holiday message to early shoppers in the fall, while you can wait to send offers to last-minute shoppers closer to the holidays.

4. Get Social

More than two-thirds of US consumers say that social media influences their shopping behavior. That means your social media channels can definitely be valuable in helping you capitalize on the holiday shopping season.

Download our Holiday Marketing Strategy ebook

Beyond using social channels to drive awareness of your holiday promotions, be sure to ramp up your social listening. During the noisy and competitive holiday season, social listening provides a way to understand your customers and their buying behavior. Insights from social media will help you stay informed about your core audience and recognize when and why your audience is shifting, and when there may be an opportunity to engage new customers.

For more ways to craft a top-notch holiday shopping strategy, plus channel-by-channel tips and tricks from our experts, check out our 2018 Holiday Retail Prep Guide now.

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