The busiest time of year for retailers, both brick and click, is November to December. The holiday season is here, consumers are gearing up to spend their hard-earned money; retailers are slashing prices and increasing stock to meet the rush head-on. For marketers, holiday season marketing ideas that stand out are gold.
Consumer buying trends have emerged this year that could both make and break retailers who aren’t quite keeping up with industry trends and best practices.
While trends like these constantly evolve and next year could bring more change, a few key behaviours are making a mark. Like the rise of E-commerce – more consumers prefer shopping online, namely for its convenience, but also due to the availability of multiple payment options like BNPL (buy now pay later) platforms, which have increased in popularity over the past few years. By 2026, E-commerce sales will rocket to $8.1 trillion USD.
Another trend is the major shift to mobile shopping. Consumers are increasingly using their smartphones and tablets to shop online. Smartphones now account for 87.2% of mobile commerce sales. Consumers are also relying on their phones to recommend products. The personalization of the shopping experience is here to stay, especially since 60% of consumers say they’ll become repeat customers after a personalized shopping experience.
Finally, there is a growing demand for sustainable products and services as consumers become more concerned about the environmental impact of their purchases. According to a joint study from McKinsey and NielsenIQ, products that make ESG-related claims experienced an average cumulative growth of 28% over the past five years, compared to 20% for products that make no such claims.
Given these trends, retailers must consider how they can attract more consumers during the busy holiday shopping season with marketing strategies inspired by new consumer inclinations. Where better to find inspiration than from the consumers themselves? Here are a few strategy ideas from consumer reviews that retailers can use to boost their sales.
First, be clear in messaging about shipping times.
Having a disaster- and dummy-proof shipping strategy is not always easy. Ensure that your brand and marketing messaging communicate expectations. Don’t ignore customers after the purchase. That’s asking for a bad review. According to a study by parcelLab, “only 7% of retailers surveyed communicated with their customers during shipping.” That’s a huge amount of consumers left in the dark after their shopping experience.
Preempt consumer questioning by providing the information they need post-purchase, whether by email or in-app messaging. Keep the messaging short, sweet, and concise while maintaining brand relevance. No consumer should have to hunt for the information they need. In fact, 74% of consumers want to see shipping costs upfront when making purchasing decisions, and 68% would like free returns and estimated arrival times. Today’s consumers favor transparency, so indicate shipping times and options, processing times, return and cancellation policies, plus any unexpected shipping delays.
Regarding marketing, get creative with how shipping offerings are relayed. Mention free shipping and easy returns in as much of your pre-shopping event marketing assets as possible. It pays off; a Dash study found that 45% of online purchases could be attributed to the offer of free shipping.
Get loud about your green priorities and environmentally friendly packaging.
As the global community becomes increasingly environmentally conscious, consumers also want the retailers they buy from to be. Creating green-led messaging supporting your goals for improving the planet is vital in the lead-up to the holidays. A 2022 Nielsen study found that 66% of global consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products, and this sentiment stretches to packaging.
A dotcom distribution study in 2022 also indicated that eco-friendly packaging prompted 69% of respondents to shop with a brand again – outperforming other value-adds such as free samples and gift-like packaging.
Data like this shows that much like transparency around shipping is useful, messaging about green packaging could mean a guaranteed sale.
If possible. Build an app.
Social commerce is on the up due to the universal consumer preference for mobile interactions. This is likely because social commerce platforms like apps make it easier for consumers to discover and purchase products and become members of any loyalty programs the retailer offers. App consumers are also more loyal; they spend 37% more than non-app customers with the same retailer, buy 33% more frequently, and buy 34% more items.
With no-code development everywhere, it’s not difficult to create an app for shoppers to peruse and purchase goods from. But if you are an online retailer without an app, you should consider it. In-app marketing is another great channel for pushing products, discounts, and branding.
Push notifications via an app can be used before, during and after the holidays to continue building relationships and loyalty with new and existing consumers. Highlight deals, remind them about abandoned carts and market new products that need a little love.
Consider a unique damage control strategy.
You can crash-proof your website with this solid tip and make sure that messaging and assets are ready to present if the worst happens.
Build a good 404 page (an error page designed to appear when a website won’t load) to maintain consumer engagement. What makes a good 404 page? The best practice is to keep your 404 page simple, indicate branding, and include links and a search bar.
But also get creative and be brand-specific. Left-logic, a developer company, has a genius 404 doodle page to keep customers on their website while the website problem is solved.
Create a buzz with targeted messages.
Focus on consumer behavior, which is amply available via review channels. Use sentiment analysis to determine which products are the most talked about, which need a boost, and which aren’t working.
Use feedback channels and their insights to gain marketing clarity; if you know what they want ahead of time, it’s easier to customize marketing to your consumer segments.
Holiday marketing should follow the trends created by consumer behaviour.
E-commerce sales are predicted to rise drastically in the coming years, and retailers must keep up with digital trends to remain competitive in their marketing.
Mobile shopping is becoming increasingly popular, and consumers prefer personalized shopping experiences, meaning it’s a great channel for product promotion.
Consumers demand sustainable products and services, and retailers should prioritize environmental concerns in their packaging and marketing messaging.
Retailers should prioritize clear communication about shipping times and options to avoid negative reviews.
Creating an app can be a great way to boost sales and consumer loyalty.
Interested in more ways to build consumer trust during this busy season? Read about it here.