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5 Moments that Matter this Holiday Season

We know this holiday season will be unlike any other –purchase decisions will be driven by online actions, buy online and pickup in-store (BOPIS) will be critical, and your customer needs and wallet sizes may change over the course of the holiday season.

A successful holiday campaign is one acknowledging that we must tackle this year differently. Marketers should approach holiday planning with flexibility to allow real time shifts between holiday moments, aligning to your ever-evolving customer needs. Here are five key moments and COVID specific considerations to utilize as you finalize planning:

1. Drive window shopping in September:

70% of customers plan to start early. Prime Day could be part of the holiday shopper journey, and big brands (like Target and Walmart) announced they will start holiday campaigns early. Not starting in time could result in competitors capturing more of your customers’ wallet share, especially as consumers buy impulsively during Prime Day. Rotate gift giving messaging into your business as usual (BAU) campaigns in September to help customers think about what they could gift others or themselves this holiday season. Increase your wish list CTA visibility across your site to capture intent actions. Then, utilize this data for Prime Day targeting, retarget engagers in mid-October as brands heat up holiday messaging, and remind engagers of early season considerations during holiday week.

2. Adapt to election related impacts:

With polarizing key themes across candidates this election season, consumers have more stresses aligned to the election outcome, and marketers must be prepared for shopper behavior shifts for the holiday season. Expect a mix of your customers, regardless of who is elected, to ramp up shopping habits significantly if their candidate wins, while others pull back due to their candidate’s loss. This makes October a more critical time than ever to maximize holiday wallet share for those open to it. In addition, ensure your budgets remain flexible post-election as you utilize behavioral and psychographic data to determine its impact on your specific customers. Utilize these early learnings to identify and focus on those consumers who show signs of optimism and stability.

3. Approach Holiday Week with creativity:

On Thanksgiving Thursday, many big retailers will be closing their doors and focusing on online sales. However, many consumers have seen little of their family and friends this year, so expect them to be more present in the moment and less present on their mobile devices than in past years. Focus Thursday efforts on engaging interactions like wish list guides and interactive experiences that move consumers into shopper mindsets for the weekend. Friday will see a decrease in foot traffic due to health concerns, store volume guidelines, and retailer driven shifts. Successful brands will create unique ways to drive BOPIS related doorbusters and online deals this year. Extend these doorbusters through the weekend and allow Friday purchasers to pick up within a longer window to optimize your pickup line. Finally, with Cyber Monday sales expected to grow up to 40% YoY, expect this day to be the critical moment for your customers.

4. Make last minute gifting easier and safer:

According to Voxware, 62% of consumers plan to purchase stocking stuffers and last-minute gifts online. Maximize your digital check-out process by incorporating gifting ideas into the experience. Highlight relevant gift guides and stocking stuffers that align to the person likely being shopped for as they checkout. As 57% of consumers expect to ship directly to recipients this year, focus late shipping messaging on the ability to ship direct, and offer free wrapping for direct ship as a promotional strategy.

5. Minimize the impact of returns in January:

Online heavy shopping will result in increased returns. Ensure your house is in order by mid-October to drive the best digital-based journey for customers. Drive customers to share image-based reviews to help holiday shoppers, incorporate digital try-on or décor placement technology into prominent parts of digital shopping moments, and integrate your site wish lists into top third-party registries so customers can easily share the products they want. In December, start retargeting those who visited return policy pages with top trending items, and follow-up with post-returns on email or SMS to highlight higher reviewed options.

Regardless of how you plan, remember the key to success is to not get bogged down in the structures of past years, keep a pulse on how your customer needs shift over time, and stay nimble to adjust to customer and market changes in real-time.

Want to learn more? Check out our report, 5 Fundamentals for the Holidays here.

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