This year’s holiday shopping season is ramping up to be even bigger than last year, with a quicker start to the gift-buying due to our relatively early Thanksgiving. U.S. sales are expected to rise by a healthy 4.8 percent.
“It will again be an intense selling period this November,” predicts retail analyst Walter Loeb in Forbes. “Promotions will start earlier than ever before, with stores advertising ‘Black Friday’ prices to entice shoppers ahead of the Thanksgiving weekend. More selling days before Christmas … will force retailers to plan extra sales promotions to create momentum.”
Loeb predicts online spending will be strong and Black Friday discounts will be substantial, ranging from 30 to 40 percent for national retailers.
All that could have major implications for retailers’ marketing budgets this season. As such, you might consider the following suggestions as you work to establish a plan for your promotional spending over the coming months.
- Review last season’s marketing and sales reports for reminders of what did and didn’t work.
- Utilize your data-gathering tools to research your customers and learn how, when and where they’ll likely be spending this year.
- Set specific goals and metrics that can help you determine how and where to invest the most money. You may wish to focus most on your paid advertising, website, collateral, social media or special events.
- Map out a calendar identifying prime times for promotions and ads so you don’t miss opportunities. Will you do anything special for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday, for example? To what extent should you step up promotions for last-minute shoppers?
- Build and market a gift guide highlighting key products you’re offering this year.
- When possible, plan to reach your customers through multiple channels, including Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Pinterest and/or Instagram.
- PPC ads can be especially effective during the holidays since they can be quickly and easily tweaked as you note seasonal buying trends. Optimize both SEO keywords and extensions.
- Don’t forget to market your storefronts, the best-earning channel for SMBs and the second-best for all retailers last year (after branded websites).
- To attract time-starved shoppers, invest in highly visual advertising that engages through emotion.
- Be competitive and creative with holiday promotions to compete with the nearly 79 percent of merchants that offer them.
- Optimize for mobile, and make the purchasing experience fast and convenient for customers across as many channels as possible.
Looking for an efficient way to drive more inbound leads over the holidays? Learn more about Dial800’s CallView360 platform, which manages, tracks and analyzes your inbound calls so you can adjust your ad campaigns to optimize sales. Call us to find out more at 1-800-700-1987.