Columbia, MD, June 6, 2023

Putting the Consumer at the Center of the Holidays: New Guide Reveals Top Retail Requirements for a Successful Holiday Season

Merkle, dentsu’s leading technology-enabled, data-driven customer experience management (CXM) company, today announced its 2023 Holiday Playbook providing insight into current trends across the retail industry and how brands can stand out from the competition this coming holiday season to deliver superior customer experiences.

The holidays historically kick off with a Black Friday rush to stores, but today, the timeline has blurred. Inflation concerns and major sales events from large retailers have jump-started the holiday shopping season and stretched it out four to five months. This year’s Holiday Playbook distills trends and insights from the past year to provide concrete recommendations on how to build an effective plan for this extended holiday season, and how to stand out in an increasingly diverse and digitally sophisticated field. While most holiday shopping now takes place online, consumers proclaim that digital resources add value to the total shopping experience, even in store. The importance of digital connectivity across touchpoints will only increase as marketplace platforms continue to grow in number and scale.

“It’s not news that understanding the unique and shifting needs of your customers is at the heart of any successful holiday strategy. What’s catching retailers off guard is the pace at which those needs are shifting, and the agility with which their competitors are answering,” said Janine Flaccavento, EVP and general manager for retail, consumer goods, and quick-service restaurants at Merkle. “Retailers need to constantly examine their audience’s unique mindset, and tailor a connected experience accordingly — from in-store merchandising to app functionality to promotional calendars to loyalty programs and so on. Data, insights, and trends from throughout the year need to inform every holiday strategy, and the Holiday Playbook is here to help retailers deliver a customized approach to shoppers.”

The 2023 Holiday Playbook highlights key trends for retailers and what they can expect this holiday season, including:

  • A changing retail calendar: Black Friday is no longer the sole tentpole of the holiday shopping season, and brands must adapt to the new timeline.
  • The endless aisle: Retailers should enhance the in-store shopping experience with digital tools and resources, to provide shoppers with the assortment and convenience they demand.
  • Commodities versus experiences: To serve customers effectively, brands need to embrace and authentically express their core identity and values across the customer journey.
  • Doing more with less: Retailers, product brands, and shoppers are all looking to stretch their dollar – thankfully, there are plenty of ways for everyone to do so this year.

Flaccavento adds, “No matter what your holiday strategies entail, the customer should always be at the center of your plan. Consumers are savvier than ever about the value exchange between themselves and the brands they love. This year's holiday playbook provides practical advice for retailers to craft a strategy that's deeply informed by data and insights, and powered by smart digital solutions to deliver a completely connected holiday shopping experience.”

To view the full 2023 Holiday Playbook, please visit here.