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It is next to impossible to overstate the importance of the holiday shopping season to the success or failure of consumer businesses. The annual, year-end selling season has become the last opportunity for many businesses to salvage some positive results in an unprecedented year of negative challenges and unforeseen market calamities. The COVID-19 pandemic has altered consumer behavior in a way few economists and business leaders could have ever predicted. It’s impact has altered well-established holiday marketing campaigns across the entire spectrum of commerce. What was once a fairly neat and tidy holiday marketing season with clear campaign kick-off dates and orderly promotion cycles has become an unpredicted mess for marketers in 2020. It is as if the orderly process of calling and executing game plays has been replaced with a panicked process of calling each play just prior to the campaign’s snap.
While Deloitte predicts holiday spending to meet or exceed $1,147 billion between November 2020 and the new year, the rules of playing the selling season game have clearly changed. E-commerce sales have steadily been rising over the past several years, but the pandemic lockdowns have accelerated the pace of Etail growth. According to Deloitte’s annual holiday retail forecast, it is predicted that E-commerce sales will grow by as much as 35% this holiday season.
For those sellers who failed to realize the importance of a well-designed and implementable digital marketing strategy for the holiday season earlier in the year, it may be a little too late to outplay well-prepared competitors, but some respectable field position can be preserved for those who display agility and interject some efficiencies into existing marketing campaigns. With brick-and-mortar vendors being pushed into increasing online sale efforts due to the pandemic, the number of competitors has increased, many of whom may be better prepared and have greater resources to deploy. Lars Larsson, CEO at Varnish Software affirmed, “If retailers want to capitalize on 2020’s seasonal spike, they need to review their systems now and ensure their website can deliver the same speeds and quality of experience customers have come to expect, even at peak levels of traffic.”
“The retailers that use real-time data to understand individual consumer preferences, make changes the data shows are needed, and effectively leverage multiple channels will be much more successful in securing consumer spend this holiday season,” says John Nash, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer at Redpoint Global. Optimize digital images to provide advantages on search engines. Identify websites’ weak points to improve relevant and personalized content. Initiate effective chatbots to improve the quality of consumer conversations. Christi Olson, Head of Evangelism at Bing says, “The chatbots of the future don’t just respond to questions. They talk. They think. They draw insights from knowledge graphs. They forge emotional relationships with customers”.
Now is a good time to focus on a personalized and consistent messaging campaign across all social media channels. Targeted, personalized content has been shown to create higher conversion rates with customers. Highlight sellable items that complete your customers’ gift-giving lists. Clean-up email data to ensure that digital spending is as efficient as possible.
With increased competition in the digital marketing arena, costs related to digital advertising are on the rise. While the results of Amazon’s early initiation of Prime Day in mid-October were impressive, many third-party sellers reported that the increased sales numbers came at an increased cost of advertising and promotion, leading some sellers to complain that the increased gross numbers came at a detriment to net profits. Haste often does make waste.
While many sense that marketing efforts are behind the curve this holiday shopping season, much of the last-minute improvements to digital marketing infrastructure may be applied to future, better-prepared marketing campaigns. For additional insights on making last-minute improvements to your holiday marketing campaigns, call Junction Creative Solutions (Junction) today at 678-686-1125.