As we sit in a baking hot office in the middle of another heat wave, we long for cold winter nights, wrapped up by the fire, sipping mulled wine and snuggling under a thick duvet. You might think it’s too soon to start thinking about Christmas 2018, but it’s not, especially if you’re in retail. If you haven’t already it’s time to get your festive hat on………. or maybe a nice cool straw hat for the time being.
So what can the marketing teams be planning now, here are some tips to start future proofing your success for A/W 18:
Get your trend on
Look at the fashion, interior and Christmas trends predicted for Autumn/Winter 2018. Start pre-categorising your A/W product range into these trends. Re-write product & page copy ready to upload to dedicated pages, when the time comes, to maximise on natural search results.
Experiment with some of your paid search spend – what trend related search terms could you appropriately target to pull further traffic into your product pages?
Ensure your social team are incorporating relevant trend hashtags into their posts about your products, you could inspire engagement from a new audience if you’re visible.
Include nods to the trends that sit best with your products with any seasonal photography, to ensure your imagery stays fresh and ahead of the curve
Try product placement or developing a relationship with key influencers within each trend niche – featuring in their marketing and media not only positions you well within a trend, but is worth PR riches.
The top fashion trends as cited at Paris Fashion Week in March are:
1. Head to toe animal print
2. Leather dresses
3. Cape crusaders
4. Silver, holographic and Sci-Fi
6. The 70’s – think shearling & crochet
9. Obvious logo/brand placement
10. Layering coats
Interior design colour trends are:
1. Navy Blue
2. Autumn Maple
3. Neutral Gray
5. Scarlet Red
6. Tawny Port
7. Golden Lime
8. Shaded Spruce
9. Light Blue
Christmas 2018 trends as shown at Christmas World are:
A mixture of traditional handicraft skills from different cultures combined with strong colours similar to Golden Lime, Scarlet Red and Shaded Spruce. Think embroidered patterns inspired by folklore and ethnic tradition.
This trend includes reflective, shiny and sparkling materials such as crystal, foil, mirrored glass and mother of pearl incorporated with lively details, over the top shapes and patterns. Colour palette combines pink, lemon, mandarin, azure, rosé, black and gold.
A mixture of matt brass, light coloured wood and shiny black surfaces with a Japanese influence. Colours range from pure white to rose gold, a shiny but cool grey, a deep red and black.
Think historical treasures. Lace, feathers, semi-precious stones, pearls and marble combined with dark, saturated colours with accents of aquamarine and gold.
Plan ahead for big shopping days
Don’t get stung by Black Friday or Cyber Monday but embrace them and create a plan that works with your business. Also look back at last year’s data and see what your best shopping days were and use them as additional opportunities.
You don’t have to discount all your products to keep your head above the water but create exciting deals for your existing customer base, that could also entice new customers. This could include exclusive offers and enhanced loyalty offers.
Think cleverly around your content strategy on all your platforms. Create a content plan specifically for the run up to and including big shopping days which includes engaging content in partnership with key influencers.
For smaller brands, Black Friday or Cyber Monday can actually be an opportunity to catch the eyes of new customers. Yes they’re hunting for the best deal but remember they are also looking for a great experience so make sure that you have all your ducks in a row and the experience from pre purchase through to post purchase is seamless. A great returns policy goes a long way!
Not forgetting the importance of resource. Ensure you have enough staff clued up and your website and team can handle the high volume of customers and sales. Your customer service team need to be super charged and understand all the many things that could go wrong so they are fully prepared to diffuse any situation that might arise.
Connect with your customer
Get the customer involved by sending out a small survey to see what they want around Christmas, exclusive offers? Exclusive content? Tips and how to guides etc. This sort of priceless insight can help to shape your content plan as well as boosting your customer engagement by making an emotional connection.
Christmas can be a joyful experience for most but also very stressful for those that have big families entertaining large groups or those that just dislike Christmas! Think about how you can alleviate some of that stress for your customers. Try and tap into your customers’ needs and help solve their stressful shopping problems. This sort of insight can be gained by using the survey. Content can then be created around the specific pain points and drip fed across all your channels in the run up to Christmas.
If you have a physical presence, connect online with offline by offering unique services instore to gain footfall like a free gift wrapping service, instore product demonstrations or personal shopping services. Try and make the shopping experience as enjoyable as possible as it can become quite the chore.
Listen to your customer
Did you get any bad reviews, feedback or complaints last year? Take a look back at what issues your customers voiced and make sure everything is fixed for 2018. This could be delivery problems, product information, site speed, checkout issues, the list can go on but ensure you have all of them ironed out and content updated so that your customers don’t face any of the same issues.
The key thing to remember is that a retailer’s main focus around Christmas is to inspire customers and take the stress out of the largest shopping event of the year which will lead to more revenue. Try and make it fun and interesting but most of all be prepared!