Christmas in September – Why It’s Time to Begin Finalizing Your Holiday Marketing Now
Can you believe it’s almost September already? The summer may be fading fast but September is the perfect time for …putting up the mistletoe? OK, so maybe the holiday season is not quite that close, but for retailers, September is the month when they really should be starting to finalize their holiday marketing plans in preparation for the biggest shopping season of the year, a shopping season that does seem to begin earlier and earlier every year.
With many pundits predicting that thanks to the solid year US retail has already been able to post, the 2018 holiday spending tally will top that of 2017, here are a few current marketing trends that your retail business should not only be aware of but start taking full advantage of as well.
The Social Shopping Boom Continues
Many experts predict that social media will be more influential than ever before on shoppers this holiday season and not just for online-only retailers. Although they have a little more money to spend this year in many cases more and more shoppers are making use of the Internet to find reviews and recommendations from trusted sources before they part with their hard earned cash.
So while your holiday marketing plan may already include all kinds of plans for promotional product posts and sales announcements what have you been doing to better engage with your social audiences to encourage them to review and recommend your products? If the answer is not a lot then that is something that needs to change now, before the holiday shopping season begins. Why? These rather eye-opening stats from Kissmetrics should provide reason enough:
- 55% of shoppers say that online reviews influence their buying decision.
- 88% of consumers say that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
- Buyers consult reviews early in the search, with 68% reading reviews as they build their shortlist.
- 40% of buyers form an opinion of a business after reading just 1-3 reviews.
- Reviews can have an impact of up to 10% on a business’s search rankings.
- 72% of buyers will take action only after reading a positive review.
- 34% of online shoppers said that social media reviews influence their purchases.
- 23% of online shoppers purchased products on a social media network.
- Referrals from Instagram spend the longest time on eCommerce sites, with an average session duration of 192 seconds – almost double Facebook and Triple Pinterest. So if you are not on Instagram, now’s the time to jump on board.
- Facebook has the highest conversion rate for all social media e-commerce traffic at 1.85%.
- 71% of consumers who have had a good social media customer service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others.
Catering to the Mobile Crowd
You keep hearing it over and over again, that mobile shoppers are a huge deal to retailers and that is indeed very true. And yet STILL too many smaller retailers are hesitating to make the right moves to ensure that their websites are user friendly to mobile users. Or taking into account the increasing number of tablet users, whose mobile screens can handle, and almost demand, a richer experience than a smartphone user gets. How easy it is to implement effective multiplatform design – and speed – will depend upon which platform you used to create your site, but whatever it is now is the right time to take a much closer look at the issue.
Track Down Your Weakest Links
Shopping cart abandonment is one of the biggest frustrations of the holiday shopping season for many retailers large and small. Statistically, a certain number of shoppers are bound to leave their carts and ‘walk’ away but in many cases, such incidences are not caused by a browser’s lack of interest in the product but a fault or annoyance in the checkout system itself.
Therefore now is the right time to re-test your check out system yourself. Is the add to cart button easy to find? Are you forcing customers too jump through too many hoops and fill in too many forms just to get to the page where they actually make their payment? Is the whole process too slow? Take the time to look for these issues now and get any obvious problems fixed before the holiday shoppers begin to arrive.