There is something special about planning my holiday shopping adventure, sipping on a hot peppermint mocha latte lite with my shopping list and store coupons in hand. Although I tend to buy little gifts throughout the year, I enjoy the hustle and bustle of the season and do the majority of my shopping during the holiday season.
Holiday Shopping Season—Start Early
I’m not alone, either, as November and December continue to account for the majority of the year’s biggest holiday shopping days. Yet the earlier retail marketers start their holiday marketing campaigns, the more likely they are to get their brand in front of their target audience and noticed during the holiday season. The National Retail Federation (NRF) recommends retailers have their holiday campaigns up and running by October. And 15.4% of well-informed retail marketers agree, since the holiday season can account for as much as 30% of a retailer’s annual sales.
Shoppers are noticing and taking advantage of these early holiday campaigns, with 15% of consumers starting their holiday shopping in September and 40% beginning their holiday shopping before Halloween.
In 2016, holiday retail sales totaled $658.3 billion, with each shopper spending an average of $786.00. The average holiday shopper also spent $107.50 on themselves (glad I am not alone in this category!).
Retail and Credit Cards
Not surprisingly, the retail and credit card verticals experience a higher increase in fourth quarter mail volumes when compared to the third quarter, according to Comperemedia. Q4 retail mail volume from 2014-2016 averaged 406 million mail pieces; a 17% average increase when compared to the Q3 average. Credit card mail volume in Q4 of 2014-2016 averaged 1.571 billion mail pieces; a 10% average increase when compared to Q3.
Consumers who took on debt during the 2016 holiday season kicked off the New Year with an average of $1,003.00 worth of new debt. That is a year-over-year increase of 1.7% from $986 in 2015. Of this new debt, 77% was placed on store cards or credit cards according to MagnifyMoney’s second annual holiday debt survey.
Holiday Marketing Recommendations
Whenever you get started with your holiday marketing plans, there are a few days that reliably provide the best retail shopping opportunities every year: Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Here they are along with our recommendations for making the most of them in 2017:
Black Friday is November 24. I look forward to reading the paper on Thanksgiving so I can see all of the Black Friday specials. Some stores even begin their Black Friday deals on Thanksgiving, but I am usually in a tryptophan daze. So what Black Friday deals attract my attention? Newspaper inserts from big retailers such as Target, Best Buy, and Walmart help me price shop and look for the best deals for the big-ticket items on my holiday list.
Other retailers like Dick’s Sporting Goods, Target, and Justice send direct mail campaigns that include in-store coupons. Sending coupons to your loyal customers can influence their purchasing decisions and get them into your brick-and-mortar locations where they can take advantage of more holiday special promotions. Win-win!
Here are some statistics from 2016’s Black Friday from Adobe Digital Insights:
- Consumers spent $3.34 billion on Black Friday
- $1.2 billion was spent via mobile devices
Small Business Saturday is November 25. Are you a small business or specialty boutique? Small Business Saturday is dedicated to you! This is a perfect time to promote and increase foot traffic to your business. Create or use a Facebook page to advertise special in-store promotions for Small Business Saturday.
Another way for small businesses to boost in-store traffic is to have a loyalty program. It is easy to start. Just ask customers to provide their name, address, and email address so they can be included in special promotions. Send an email blast to loyal customers reminding them to visit your store on Small Business Saturday. Send a direct mail campaign with a personalized letter and special savings coupon, and request customers bring in the coupon to redeem their savings.
Since you should expect an increase in your in-store traffic on Small Business Saturday, have someone dedicated to gathering leads for future promotions. Set up a table and ask customers to provide their name and contact information so they can be entered into a special drawing for a gift card to your store. Offer a free gift or coupon to use on their purchase “today only” just for entering.
Shoppers, support your local economy, visit and purchase from a small business. You may just find the perfect gift!
Here are some statistics from 2016’s Small Business Saturday from Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights:
- More than 6,700 small businesses and organizations participated in neighborhood campaigns
- An estimated 112 million consumers reported shopping at small businesses on Small Business Saturday
- U.S. consumers who shopped in-store reported spending an estimated $15.4 billion at independent retailers and restaurants
Cyber Monday is November 27. Cyber Monday has been a huge success for retailers. Did you know that 50% of holiday gifts are purchased online? When preparing for my Cyber Monday shopping, I look at the retailers’ special Cyber Monday promotions and plan what I will purchase. While retailers focus on store displays, inventory, and staffing in preparation for the holiday season, they also need to optimize their digital marketing strategies. Retailers should ensure their websites and mobile apps are ready to handle the increased traffic during the holiday season, from high-quality images of products and detailed product descriptions, to payment and shipping options.
A new online trend is holiday gift registries. Nearly two-thirds of holiday shoppers said they would like to use retailer wish lists to help organize their gift purchases according to NRF’s survey. Retailers that already have wedding or baby registries should consider adding holiday registries, allowing consumers to regularly add, remove, and share their lists.
Here are some highlights from 2016’s Cyber Monday from Adobe Digital Insights:
- Cyber Monday 2016 was the biggest day in the history of U.S. ecommerce
- Consumers spent $3.45 billion online
- Retailers made noticeably big improvements to their shopping apps and websites in 2016
IWCO Direct’s direct marketing experts can help get retailers into the holiday marketing spirit. Contact us today!
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