The biggest shopping blitz of the year will soon be upon us. While shoppers prepare gift lists, retailers should be prepping their stores. As competition grows tighter every year, prepping can seem more and more complicated—what, exactly, will land with your customers?
You don’t have to break the bank or reinvent the wheel to develop an effective holiday retail marketing plan. Keep an eye on what your customers want, make smart moves online and get interesting with your promotions, and you’ll turn heads.
Working with a POS will make your seasonal prep easier by cutting down on the time it takes to organize and manage your store—and with advanced analytics, you can go into the season armed with concrete, actionable data.
Seasonal sales that get them in store
Discounts and sales are standard fare for holiday retail marketing. To stand out, get creative with your seasonal promotions. Don’t forget to let your customers know about your efforts, possibly with an email or SMS campaign.
1. Create and sell gift bundles
Nearly 90% of visitors will leave a store empty-handed if they can’t find what they’re looking for. Encourage more holiday sales by doing some of the legwork for your customers.
If you’re working with a point of sale (POS) system with advanced reporting capabilities, look for a commonly bought together report. Run it to find the jumping-off point for your gift bundles. Then, think about your different customer segments and start theming your gift bundles. Possible gift categories include gifts for coworkers, gifts for fitness fans, gifts for newlyweds—the specifics will depend on what you sell.
Consider placing lower-priced gift bundles near the till as stocking-stuffer impulse buys.
2. Think locally for special extras
Small and medium-sized local businesses have a leg up on the big guys in personability. Draw shoppers in by offering them exclusive products and experiences they can’t get anywhere else.
You could offer special local delivery for a fee. Set up an appointment schedule, and offer the service at checkout; make it special by having a staff member dress festively during the deliveries, and limit appointment windows for an air of exclusivity.
If you know of local designers, artists, chefs, or beyond—your inventory will dictate who to reach out to—invite them to sell in your store for the month. Promote the initiative so shoppers know you’re carrying gifts they can’t get anywhere else.
3. Capitalize on quick sales and speedy service
Flash holiday sales can help you clear out inventory. Daily discounts and weekly promotions will bring shoppers back in-store during the holiday season. Limited-time sales will appeal to the 84% of shoppers who make impulse purchases, so be sure to promote your changing deals well to entice them in-store.
Shoppers are only willing to wait just under 15 minutes for services—that may sound like a long time, but keep in mind that a successful holiday shopping season is busy. That time will fly by. If your flash sales are a hit, manage the traffic by untethering your till from the front counter with a mobile POS. Arm employees with iPads and have them check customers out while they’re waiting in line or on the floor as they shop.
Hold interesting holiday events
Customers are particularly receptive to well-done events—87% of consumers claim to purchase a brand’s products after visiting an in-store event. With just a little effort and some insight on your customers, these particular retail marketing efforts may even generate you a wealth of user-generated content you can use as social proof you’re worth a visit.
4. Sell where they are
Set up a holiday pop-up shop in a high-traffic location. Pop-up shops create an air of exclusivity and tap into the fear of missing out; you can further push that feeling by stocking items you don’t normally carry.
A pop-up shop allows you to experiment with your retail experience without making big changes to your store. If something sells particularly well or catches a number of eyes, bring it back in-store after the holidays.
Lean on brand awareness when you’re planning your pop-up shop. Shoppers who enjoy their experience are likely to seek you out after the pop-up closes if they remember you. Register them in your loyalty program to increase the chances they’ll come back to collect their rewards.
5. Hold a seasonal contest
Hold and promote a holiday contest for retail marketing that drums up excitement around your store. The exact details should vary depending on your customer base and vertical. A trendy apparel shop could hold a photo contest on social media—include a branded hashtag so entrants promote your store for you. Consider a series of themed contests to keep the user-generated content coming. User-generated content is priceless for effective retail marketing as it plays on the power of word-of-mouth.
Alternatively, promote a tiered giveaway for your shoppers. Start with an easy-to-reach tier and increase the spend required exponentially. You could switch up the tiers a few times throughout the season to keep shoppers coming back for interesting gifts.
6. Celebrate niche novelty holidays
Niche novelty holidays are a fun and unique way to catch the eyes of potential shoppers. There are quite a few between Black Friday and New Year’s. The 30th of November is National Mason Jar Day and the 9th of December is Christmas Card day, while the 7th is Faux Fur Friday, to name a few.
Pick out a day relevant to what you sell and promote a sale on directly thematic products. Make sure to post about the day on social media in advance, and consider crafting an email to alert your customers.
Have fun with your chosen novelty holiday—the more interesting your day is, the more likely people are to stop by.
Promote your eCommerce efforts
Omnichannel retail and frictionless online marketplaces give your customers more ways to interact with you. Holiday shopping is busy—let them know they can shop where it’s convenient for them.
7. Get seen online
Don’t just put on a Black Friday sale—promote your store’s site for Cyber Monday (and beyond). Cyber Monday is steadily growing in popularity every year—a record $7.9 billion was spent in 2018—so taking advantage of this selling opportunity is worth your while.
Make your site as easy to navigate as possible for your online shoppers. For easy navigation, create special gift categories for the festive season. If it’s financially feasible for your business, consider offering free shipping (and prominently advertising that you do on your homepage).
You can also use your site to get more local shoppers in store. A POS like Lightspeed can integrate with applications such as Pointy and NearSt to help display your products more prominently to potential customers near to you. With 81% of smartphone users researching products on their phone, giving your products more chances to be seen means potentially capturing local shoppers wherever they are.
8. Boosts posts on social media
Promoted ads and targeted campaigns on social media help your products get discovered by the right shoppers. If your POS has advanced analytics, run category reports to see what is selling best so you promote your superstar products. Make the sale as frictionless as possible for potential customers by taking advantage of Facebook and Instagram’s built-in marketplaces.
Alternatively—or in addition to your other efforts—you could boost holiday themed posts that encourage engagement through more indirect promotions. Consider boosting posts with holiday tips related to what you sell. Themes such as a 12 days of gifts campaign give you a chance to promote products while being creative with how you present them.
9. Work with an influencer
Influencer marketing draws on the power of word of mouth and social authority. 40% of millennials trust the word of their favorite influencer more than their own friend. Retailers see substantial returns on influencer marketing, with the top businesses making $20 per $1 spent on the promotion.
You don’t have to work with the biggest names on the platform to get a good ROI here. Micro-influencers local to you carry authority as well; you’ll find the most success if they primarily promote products related to what you offer.
Take advantage of the spirit of the festive season and consider having your influencer promote the gift bundles you built with your POS. If you’re new to social media marketing, request that the influencer promotes your brand with a mix of focus on both your products and your wider unique selling points.
On average, the holidays account for 30% of a retailer’s annual profits. How are you going to sell your bells off this season?
This post was prepared by our friends at Lightspeed.