If you are a retail business then I’m sure plans are well under way for the upcoming festive season. As a smaller, boutique retailer there is often a great deal at stake around this time of year, you have huge competition and it’s hard to compete on heavy discounts and offers especially around days such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Amazon Prime Day and the high pressure run up to the 25th December.
The market is saturated at this time of year but how can you stand out in the crowd? It’s all about the experience!
Consumers are becoming a lot more focused on connecting emotionally with brands that are aligned with their personal values and life choices. So this is how smaller brands can make a real difference around Christmas. It’s not about how much you drop your prices (to a certain extent!) it’s the delivery of your messaging and experience that will bring in the sales.
A recent report by customer journey experts, Yieldify on ‘The Shape Of Peak To Come’ reveals plans and predictions for peak trading season, surveying 400+ US & UK marketers to unlock key insights into the mad frenzy of retail in the run up to Christmas. Some of the most interesting stats and predictions being:
- Black Friday – the first ‘peak within peak’ – is no longer a one-day event. Only 15% are treating it as such. When it comes to participation, online-only retailers are the most likely to opt out, with 1 in 5 choosing not to take part this year.
- Pureplay e-commerce retailers are leading the pack when it comes to going against standard peak expectations. As well as opting-out of Black Friday, they were also the most likely to run discounts across longer periods. This seems to have led towards a greater focus on acquiring and retaining customers throughout peak, with website personalization their top-rated method for doing so.
- For everyone else, email is still the king of marketing strategies. This was cited as a top tactic for promoting peak offers as well as converting visitors into customers. Retailers will need to have a solid lead capture strategy in place long ahead of peak to capitalize fully.
With the above in mind here are some quick tips to get your head above the sand.
Identify your key target audience for this time of year
Delve into previous year’s data and create a new segmentation lists including customers that previously bought in the run up to Christmas as well as your loyal/frequent purchasers. These should be your main focus at this time, they are far more likely to convert having had previous interactions with your brand. Gaining new customers around this time of year isn’t completely absurd but it might be harder to do so due to the saturation of the market.
Now you’ve segmented your data and created new customer lists to target, think about the content strategies that will convert for these audiences. Look at previous campaigns and take inspiration. Your strategy should include content for email campaigns and also the personalised messaging/offers on your website if you have these capabilities. You can also tailor your social media strategies accordingly and use different posts to target different segments.
Target key influencers for these audiences
Although influencer marketing is still under scrutiny by customers and also marketers it is still hugely beneficial to smaller/boutique retailers. It’s these close relationships with influencers that love their brand that makes independent retailers shine and create a loyal following. There is no doubt that influencer’s can directly inform consumer purchasing behaviour. The content and relationships can be very believable, especially if there is a strong connection with the influencer & brand values.
As part of your Christmas social media campaigns, if you have influencers you know well and trust, why not involve them at the ideas stage to curate unique, emotive and believable content that will appeal to your target audience.
Our advice on a low budget would always be to stick with micro-influencers with a following of under 5k. They tend to have a more engaged audience and wont cost the earth to work with.
Ask for feedback/feed forward
We’ve touched upon this before in previous posts but it’s so important to business growth and future success, especially at this busy time of year. After a purchase or interaction create a simple feedback form to gain insightful knowledge on their experience and what they might look for when making future purchases. This is not only useful for making quick tweaks to current campaigns and strategies but also pre planning for the following year. It’s never too early to plan for the next festive season!
We hope that these quick tips will get you thinking about what you can do now if you haven’t already begun preparations. Good luck and let the best man win!
T-minus 92 days.