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How Retailers Should Take on the 2019 Holiday Season

The holiday shopping season is a fun but chaotic time for shoppers. This year, the season between Thanksgiving and Christmas is condensed by six days, due to a later Thanksgiving. So, this means less time for consumers to shop.

Here are a few tips retail marketers should keep in mind for Holiday 2019:

1. Be Relevant to Break Through the Clutter

Marketers are fighting for the attention of the holiday shopper both in ad space and inbox. To be heard, you must have relevant offers and featured products. A one-size-fits-all approach won’t work since customers don’t just want personalization, rather they demand it.

Here’s how you can create relevance:

• Sync audiences and messages across all channels. Begin with a people-based strategy and address your known customers the same way in paid social and programmatic as you do in email.

• Treat consumers differently based on where they are in the purchase funnel. An awareness ad won’t be attractive to someone that’s been browsing your site every day. Retarget that person based on product interests across multiple channels. Here’s where dynamic retargeting is money (literally).

• If product interests aren’t explicitly selected within a preference center, infer them and lead with products recently viewed or offers previously redeemed. Efficiencies can be found by leveraging AI tools. As an example, Under Armour plans multi-channel journeys based on targeted interests and actions taken, such as cart abandonment. In turn, their message is consistent and unique to each recipient.

Under Armor Example

Lead in with the most significant savings and describe any discounts as either the amount off or the percent off — test what works best.

2. Bridge the Gap Between Online and In-Store

More shoppers are starting to take a multi-channel approach, shopping both online and in-store. According to NRF, more than half (54%) of shoppers went both online and in-store to browse and buy over Thanksgiving weekend last year, compared to just 37% in 2017. The gap between in-store and online shopping continues to narrow, as consumers toggle between channels. These multi-channel shoppers are most valuable — spending 40% more on average than online-only shoppers (average Thanksgiving weekend spend for multi-channel shoppers was $326 vs. $233 for online-only).

In order to drive in-store traffic, retailers need to give shoppers a reason to visit by creating unique buying experiences they cannot get online.

When does holiday shopping begin

3. Promote Your Holiday Sales Early

Did you know that 21% of shoppers start their holiday shopping in October and 42% start in November?

Shoppers tend to be proactive with their holiday shopping — suggesting they are open to holiday promotions and messaging well before Black Friday. According to NRF, 4 in 10 people start shopping by November 1.

In Merkle’s new Retail Holiday Guide, we’ve compiled even more of the top trends for the 2019 holiday season. Download your copy here.