Most people have shopped on a site, put something in their cart, then seen the same product in an email, a banner ad, and in their social media feed within 24 hours. This type of retargeting can be highly effective in creating conversions and is good practice. It can also raise eyebrows about data privacy, especially if your messaging is not worded carefully.
Marketing for the holiday shopping season happens earlier and earlier each year. But let's face it...the true rush for most shoppers is between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Since Thanksgiving can fall anywhere between November 22nd and 28th, the number of days and weekends to sell in that holiday crunch varies by year. This year the season is a short as it gets...but on the bright side is only one day shorter than last year.
Do you have these dates accounted for in your calendar?
* Black Friday(s) The big holiday shopping spree is traditionally THE Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. But other Fridays are proving to be mini sales rushes when marketed as additional Black Friday sales.
* Cyber Monday(s) This is the online counterpart to Black Friday. The Monday after the holiday weekend is the largest online shopping day, but other Mondays are also proving to be strong spikes in online retail.
* Small Business Saturday, November 29. This retail holiday is the Saturday after Thanksgiving. After Americans indulge in Turkey, and Football on Thursday and Big Box Retail on Black Friday, they are encouraged to shop locally and support small businesses this day.
* Free Shipping Day. This online phenomena is growing in popularity. At the date of this blog post, the exact date for 2014 was not released yet. It will be in December and if you want to participate, you should plan to apply in early October.
* Plan your shipping calendar. Figure out how late you will ship items and guarantee delivery. Your shipping carrier will give you their calendar. You may need to tack on a day or two pick, wrap and pack those items on your end.
Smart planning is key to a successful holiday season. You can get a jump on the season with this handy calendar.
Do you have your strategy planned for what to give your customers this holiday season?
Will you offer free shipping? Free returns? Buy one get one? Percentages? Are there some special products you are going to bundle or offer at a discount? Perhaps you have an item you want to promote on Black Friday or Cyber Monday?
The time to think about your best offers is not mid-October. Start now.
Think about what policies or offers (if any) you are going to provide for the entire holiday season. If free shipping is your thing and you know you’re going to run with it for 60 days, plan for it now. Be prepared to feature it in every promotion and every email template and show it prominently on your site. If a gift registry is on your radar - then start setting up the program now, so that your customers can build their wish lists in September and let their family and friends know where to shop for them before the holiday rush begins.
Next, decide your best short-term offers and think about where they fit in the calendar. Don't put a great product on sale October 1 and deplete your inventory levels if that is the product which will bring shoppers to your website or store on one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Plan your calendar so that you're in a position to offer the best values when customers are ready to shop til they drop. Yes, you will face more competition for offers those days. But shoppers are in prime buying mode and they are looking at your competition. You don’t want them to pass you by.
Preparing your holiday offering early also allows you to forecast for inventory and staffing. It’s also going to reduce the urge to jump and come up with an incentive on the fly when you see what you’re competition is pitching. Plan now. Know your value and your margins, so that you don't over-discount on impulse. Be confident and get your holiday gift to your customers prepared early, so you can sit back and enjoy their visits to your business in November and December.