The impending holiday season has a lot in store for marketers of all kinds. Trends that develop here could make or break the most important time of the year for many businesses, and will have long-term repercussions for the future of digital marketing.
Most businesses have already completed most of their holiday marketing strategy and execution, and are now just waiting for the right time to pull the trigger. Many organizations have already put those wheels in motion, laying a foundation for the uptick in marketing activity to come. Marketing leaders should keep an eye on these trends to avoid getting caught off guard and anticipate any potential opportunities and challenges.
Though it’s not even Halloween yet, 27% of consumers are already shopping for the holidays–and have been since last month.
A recent survey on holiday trends of 2015 conducted by digital marketing agency SessionM found that – in total – nearly 60% of consumers intend to start shopping before Black Friday.
Just how they do it is worth noting, too; especially to your mobile marketing staffing. While 78% of survey respondents said they plan to shop in-store, 58% will go online and 43% will use a mobile device.
The National Retail Federation projects an increase in U.S. holiday sales of 4% for 2015. Research company eMarketer puts the number even higher, forecasting a 6% increase to reach $885 billion– the biggest boost since 2011.
Business’s ability to anticipate marketing trends and adapt accordingly will largely determine how much of that growing pie they get. Digital marketing executives should take a look at the trends coming down the pipe and see what their brand can do to ensure that you reach their customers during what promises to be a lucrative couple of months.
Unprecedented Mobile Usage
As SessionM suggests, a growing number of consumers will be shopping with the help of their smartphones this year, just as they did in 2014. The difference is that desktop and tablet shopping is expected to remain relatively flat.
This means brands must give their all to improving the smartphone shopping experience. If your mobile ecommerce staffing and strategy aren’t up to par, consumers will quickly turn elsewhere to get the most of time-sensitive deals. Optimized ads and faster load times should be top of mind–and don’t forget those mobile triggers.
In the first quarter of this year, consumers generated 22 million QR and UPC barcode-related engagements, with the majority of scanning activity related to product information, video, e-commerce, app downloads, and CRM. Expect them to continue leveraging their mobile devices at an even greater rate during the holiday season, both within physical retail locations and without.
1-to-1 Customer Experiences
The extent to which consumers appreciate a personalized shopping experience varies from audience to audience.
But when Signal asked its customers how they plan to shop this year, 54% said a personalized experience would get their attention. What’s more, according to a study by Infosys, 86% of consumers say personalization has “at least some impact” on the buying decision, and 31% wish their shopping experience had more of it. Digital marketing personalization, especially in channels capable of providing immediate responses like email and social, will probably pay big dividends to the brands with the data infrastructure and marketing analytics staffing to make it work.
The Return of Email
Email isn’t the trendiest, most cutting edge digital marketing tactic. Yet despite the rise of many newer flashier channels it endures as one of the most valuable tools in the marketing executive kit.
Email was the third largest channel for producing online purchases last year, representing more than 17% of orders, according to a report on mobile e-commerce by Custora. So despite the temptation to move on to the “next big thing,” brands should expect to keep their email marketing staffing extremely busy for the next couple of months.
But don’t expect a haphazard email campaign to deliver results. Brooks believes the majority of email sales are generated by marketers who also “focus on upper funnel branding” prior to the holiday season to prime customers for upcoming messaging. “The technology exists to help bridge upper funnel and lower funnel efforts,” he adds, pointing to such tactics as capturing email data directly in a video.
We all love unwrapping presents. Whether a product is being bought online or in-store, consumers anticipate the moment when they unbox it for that first look. In fact, they love it so much that they’re recording the experience to share with others–and seeing outstanding responses.
This Unboxing Video of an iPhone Gold Edition Got over 3 Million Views
According to Google, the number of “unboxing” videos on YouTube increased by 57% from 2013 to last year. Last November, YouTube counted some 20 million search results for the term.
People love being part of that “big reveal” moment, even when the package being opened is entirely digital and has no real-world analog. Unboxing videos for digital content within popular apps and video games regularly earn millions of views (Don’t know what’s happening there? That’s okay, we don’t get it either).
Brands can seize this opportunity to get in front of consumers by creating unboxing videos of their own or creating circumstances that motivate their customers to create unboxing content to generate buzz. Comedic musician Weird Al Yankovic did it when he unboxed his Grammy, taking a chance to parody the video category while also calling attention to his win.
Samsung took a turn to promote its new Galaxy phones earlier this year. The brand released a series of unboxing videos that offer viewers a look at the products coupled with a fun surprise.
Together, the videos have generated hundreds of thousands of YouTube views.
More Consumers Shopping for Themselves
It’s natural to assume that holiday shopping is all about buying for others. After all, it’s the season for giving–or is it?
By reviewing historical data Bizrate Insights uncovered some interesting Thanksgiving weekend shopping behavior. Although 47% of consumers reported that they plan to shop for others, 52% are out to buy a gift for themselves–especially the Millennial and senior demographics.
Come December, they’re back to buying for others. Cyber Monday was the day that marked the switch in 2014, and Bizrate predicts marketing execs will see a similar pattern this year. To capitalize on this trend, Bizrate advises brands to offer special deals before and during Thanksgiving weekend with messaging and creative that support both giving to others and treating yourself.
In other words, know exactly how your customers will be shopping this holiday season, and you’ll be amply rewarded.
Article source: ClickZ
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