2017 will be a competitive year for peak season. More than ever, shoppers will demand easy, cross-channel experiences to make their holiday shopping as seamless as possible. To enable a seamless experience and generate revenue this holiday season, retailers must start preparing their technology and strategy now.
As we begin our peak planning sessions with our furniture retail clients, we bring you a few tips to start planning your 2017 holiday strategy, with tips from the start of the holiday shopping funnel to conversion.
Generate awareness today to keep your brand top of mind during the holidays
While it might seem very early to begin generating awareness for the holidays, 54% of shoppers began researching products and gift ideas in October last holiday, and in some cases even earlier. Your website is the perfect place to start engaging shoppers during their research phase. Implementing features that engage shoppers on your site can not only help shoppers plan out their purchases with your brand, but will also encourage them to make a purchase with you now, or later on during the holidays.
40% of shoppers said they looked to their loved ones for gift ideas in 2016 and a quarter of them used online features such as wishlists to help them in the shopping process, which is even more of a reason to start you top-of-funnel holiday tactics earlier rather than later. Because family and friend recommendations are so important to holiday shoppers, make it easy for shoppers to share what they want or like through your site. Implementing features that engage shoppers can help you provide shoppers this ease of sharing product ideas right on your site, while making shoppers’ path-to-purchase more seamless and increasing conversion.
Implement personalization techniques to differentiate the shopping experience
Personalization is a major part of holiday shopping, online and offline. Shoppers are more likely to shop with brands that go above and beyond to help them find gift ideas and make it easy to find the products they are looking for. Based on last year’s holiday season, 54% of shoppers utilized recommendations from retailers and more than half of online holiday shoppers said they purchased a product that was recommended from a retailer. Win over your shoppers by leveraging your online data to implement personalized recommendations to shoppers through display ads, emails, social media and more.
Product reviews are also key to winning over shoppers during their research phase starting in October. Shoppers consider product reviews to be a critical part of their holiday shopping journey. To maintain the trust of your shoppers, display up-to-date, transparent product reviews earlier than October. Furthermore, displaying the reviews directly on your product detail pages will keep shoppers on your site rather than checking other sources for reviews of your products.
Syncing your online and in store experiences seems like a large task, but it is becoming exceedingly important with holiday product discovery happening in stores more than any year prior. Your promotions, sales, marketing materials, products, experiences and more need to be the same from your site to your store and vice versa.
Even with the success of Amazon and other pureplay retailers, 47% of shoppers said they browsed physical stores to find the perfect gift idea in 2016. But as a retailer who has an advantage with physical store locations, you still need to consider the different scenarios in which shoppers complete an order. While some shoppers might find the perfect gift in stores, they may not purchase it there. This is why it is important to offer the shoppers exactly what they see in your store online and then allow them to use the same promotions that were advertised in store to buy your products.
Close the sale with compelling offers and promotions
As you move down the funnel and aim to convert shoppers, offer promotions that tap into not only purchases of gifts, but impulse buys for the shopper. Recent trends show that shoppers not only buy gifts for their loved ones – 48% of shoppers last year made more impulsive purchases, including gifts for themselves. And, impulse buying isn’t specific to one shopper age group, however Millennials and Gen Z shoppers are more prone to buying products for themselves while shopping for others.
Impulse purchasing and self-gifting is a major part of holiday shopping and offers retailers plenty of opportunities to convert more sales at the very end of shoppers’ holiday purchase journey. Trigger this behavior with last minute and limited-time offers through multiple marketing channels based on shoppers’ site behavior and products of interest. For instance, email is an effective way to reach shoppers during a busy holiday season by using personalized content and displaying products based on site behavior to trigger shoppers’ desire to impulse buy.
Stay afloat during the upcoming holiday season by offering your shoppers omnichannel experiences starting at the very beginning of their holiday shopping journey to the end. With features that enable cross-channel experiences, your shoppers will enjoy the convenience of shopping with your brand during a very busy time. Talk with one of our ecommerce experts today about your holiday planning and how to stay ahead.
*Source: NRF’s 2017 Holiday Planning Playbook