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3 Quick Ideas for Holiday Marketing Success in 2015

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by: Loren McDonald (@LorenMcDonald)
19 June 2015

As temperatures continue to break records across the United States, many marketers are turning their attention to a cooler time of year: Thanksgiving and Christmas. That’s right, Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2015 – not to mention Cranberry Red Thursday – are only about five months away, so it’s time to start looking at how you can optimize your holiday marketing plans.

IBM Commerce is sharing several new assets this month to help you with your 2015 holiday marketing, including an infographic, a holiday readiness report and an upcoming webinar, "Ring in record sales this holiday season: Key online shopping trends and best practices."

As you begin brainstorming new email and mobile marketing strategies to implement for the holidays, here are three quick ideas to keep in mind:

1) Fine-tune browse and cart abandonment programs to reflect increased mobile shopping.

Mobile is driving record results, with more than half of all online traffic and one quarter of all online sales expected to come from mobile devices by December 2015. Specifically, smartphones’ share of the online sales pie has more than doubled in the last year, from 5 percent in March 2014 to 11 percent in March 2015.

If you’re like me, typical smartphone browsing sessions might include such occasions as standing in line at a coffee shop, hurriedly walking through the airport or waiting for a glass of vino at a wine bar. In other words, your attention is fragmented and you’re prone to distraction. The numbers bear this out: Overall, average session length is down 10 percent and bounce rates are up 10 percent from March 2013.

Doubling down on your browse abandonment and cart abandonment strategies for the holidays, then, is a smart way to reconnect with customers, who will likely be even more hurried during the holidays, and bring these shoppers back. Depending on where they abandoned the process, you could link them right back to the website or mobile app where they started. Or, when it gets close to Christmas, you might use dynamic content to suggest a nearby physical store where they could complete their purchase, or suggest a gift card (see below).

2) Send pre- and post-Christmas Day gift card promotions via email and mobile push notifications.

Speaking of harried shoppers, gift cards are often a life-saver for worn-out customers looking to simplify the buying process. And since they require minimum product research, they’re also (in theory) easy to purchase on a smartphone. Add in the fact that gift cards are often a high-profit product for retailers, and it’s easy to see why you should give this area proper attention during your holiday marketing planning, implementing new tactics to drive additional gift card sales.

Consider, for example, scheduling an email to arrive a day or two before Christmas, reminding time-crunched shoppers about your gift-card options and policies. Take your efforts up a notch by going cross-channel and connecting with mobile app users by pushing a rich notification to their in-app inbox.

Do the same right after Christmas to give forgetful shoppers a chance to redeem themselves. A gift card could also be just the ticket for fatigued customers who have friends or family members with January birthdays and are looking for the least path of resistance when it comes to this shopping.

3) Build out a buyer's guide package or series.

If you’re like most retailers, you’ll be sending more emails this holiday season – and in some cases, a lot more. But if you want to stand out in the inbox, provide a better experience for your customers and, yep, drive more revenue, your message stream probably needs to say more than just “buy … buy … buy.”

Add some “white space” to your email program and help your customers navigate their way through the holiday rush by assembling a shopping guide with valuable information on seasonal store hours, locations, shipping deadlines, services and customer support. Depending on your brand personality, using a humorous or warm-hearted tone can help you further cut through the clutter.

Send this content via email (one-off or as part of a series), add it as a tab in your mobile app, and link to it from your home page.

For more holiday marketing tips, check out the IBM Commerce "Ring in record sales this holiday season: Key online shopping trends and best practices" webinar and “Eighth Annual Retail Holiday Readiness Report.”

Related Resources

1) White Paper: “15 Holiday Email Tips to Make Your Customers’ Shopping Experience Easier, Faster and More Fun

2) Blog: “7 Tips to Promote Gift Cards in Email

3) Tip Sheet: “10 Tips for Getting Started with Mobile App Push Notifications


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