It’s the most wonderful time of the year…at least, that’s what retailers are hoping this season. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday upon us, (some would argue weeks ahead of schedule) so, too, is the season for social shopping. Surveys show that both social and mobile shopping will be on the rise season as consumers search for deals, “showroom” potential purchases, and compare prices on-the-go. So what can marketers do to capitalize on these savvy spenders?
Focus on the reason for the season – Consumers are undoubtedly overwhelmed with marketing and product messages this time of year, and brands will have to try harder to find a balance between engaging with customers and driving sales. Studies have shown that holiday-themed promotions don’t perform as well as non-holiday promotions – indicating brands should focus on what the season means to consumers, rather than using the holidays to push a product.
Help them find the perfect gift – Creating wish-lists is nothing new, but smart retailers will make it easy for consumers to share their coveted items with friends and family. More than 70 percent of marketers surveyed say they are going to invest in Pinterest this holiday season, up from just 30 percent in 2011. Pinterest users spend hours upon hours organizing and sharing the items they want, and marketers need to figure out how to show consumers they have what they’re looking for…much like Zappos has done with their new app, PinPointing.
…But go beyond the gift – Yes, it’s the season for giving, but it’s also the season for family gatherings, holiday parties and more. Brands and retailers can get consumers in the spirit – and potentially more likely to buy – by showing how their products fit into their cooking, entertaining, and decorating aspirations.
Don’t overlook the in-store experience – Getting there is only half the battle. A Yesmail study cites that consumers are most likely to engage with a brand when researching a product or after receiving an email promotion – and less likely to engage right before or after purchase. If social interactions can lead them in-store, a personalized experience and compelling loyalty incentives can go a long way in driving customers to make the purchase.
Consider the digital storefront – For brands or retailers without brick-and-mortar destinations, Amazon has just launched its new Amazon Pages – just in time for holiday shopping. Business and individuals can register their own brand/name, create their own URL (www.amazon.com/brandname) and will have access to templates to design their own storefront, complete with photography options, social sharing buttons and a “merchandising widget.” But whether brands sell via Amazon or not, during the peak season for online shopping, online sites and experiences will be more important than ever.
So, without further ado, here’s to a successful season for all…happy shopping!