How Soon is Too Soon to Start Your Holiday Sale?
Autumn officially begins this Monday, September 23. With the change of season comes a change in what consumers will be shopping for. Yes, seasonal marketing is upon us, and there are some rules and practices to be mindful of as we ask the question: When it comes time for marketers to prepare for the holiday sale, how soon is too soon?
It's beginning to look a lot like a holiday sale.
Have you ever walked into a card store in the summer and wondered why everything from holiday-themed cards to ornaments were on display so early? What may look like rushing the season is actually an example of strategic pre-planning. As Eva Press, a Sales Lead at Facebook points out, late summer and early autumn (meaning now) is the time period when savvy retailers carefully consider what happens until November, followed by December – all the way up until the final minutes of the holiday sale. The card store setting mentioned above is an example of traditional holiday preparation. In the online world, merchants must be especially on the button. Why? Ask the customer…
As online shopping becomes more cutting edge, so do customers’ expectations.
Ms. Press cites data from the Baymard Institute which points out that 84-percent of customers who shop online will not follow through with a purchase if the store’s site provides anything less than an optimal user-friendly experience. And they won’t be back. With this in mind, online retailers must, in Ms. Press’ words, “avoid friction” in the merchant-customer transaction by making the shopping experience as seamless as possible. Strategies for online retailers to consider in their seasonal marketing efforts include:
- Pressure testing their websites with short micro-moment events that will get the attention of existing and potential customers. This will help pinpoint, and fix, any rough patches in the transactions – and before the big rush for the holiday sale begins on Black Friday.
- Keep the holiday sale offers big, bright, and at the ready – all the way up until the end of the season. The online world has made shopping up until literally the last minute a reality that many customers take advantage of, and retailers must accommodate in kind.
- Let customers see and learn as much about any product they are looking at online as if they were examining it in a brick-and-mortar store. Add to that special options – such as allowing for free in-store pickup of their purchases.
- Supplement the social media experience by allowing customers to contact the store via private message with any questions regarding the holiday sale.
What do all of the points listed above have in common? The holiday sale is taking shape now – and it will continue till the end of December.
Anticipating for the holiday sale.
Anticipation. That may be the operative word from now until the end of the holiday season. Brands, businesses, and merchants anticipate what will make a hit with customers, who are in turn anticipating what is new and exciting to purchase. This anticipation grows day-by-day until the last moments of the holiday sale. Courtney Ciesielski, writing for Business2Community, states that brands, businesses, and retailers who keep up with seasonal marketing trends will prove to customers they are in step with what they need and want. And it is taking place now.
If you stop into a card store this weekend and notice holiday decorations and promotions, don’t wonder why. If anything, stop and study. You never know. What is on display may give you an idea of how to prepare for your own holiday sale. For further help in how you can benefit from seasonal marketing and maximize the awareness of your brand or business this holiday season, contact EGC – today. (Remember, the seasonal marketing change is now.)