Is your retail business ready for the holiday season?

The golden quarter is right ahead of us, and if you have not yet started preparing for it, you’re already behind your competition. Here are a few tips on how to catch up.

The golden quarter is right ahead of us, and if you have not yet started preparing for it, you’re already behind your competition. Here are a few tips on how to catch up.

Can you believe it’s already that time of year again? The holiday shopping season is creeping upon us and making marketers feel overwhelmed. 2020 was an unprecedented year for holiday shopping, with the pandemic forcing millions of consumers online. This year, with the ongoing fallout from COVID-19 leaving many consumers reluctant about going to crowded shops and malls, consumer buying behavior is likely to be similar.

In 2021 eCommerce is expected to account for a record 18.9% of total US holiday season retail sales, according to a forecast by eMarketer. So, if you haven’t yet started planning on how to develop and execute campaigns that will attract and convert customers shifting to online shopping during this holiday season, you may already be way behind your competitors. Fear not, we have compiled a list of key tips that you can take advantage of before, during, and after the upcoming months. 

In the first part of a series of blog posts, we cover what you need to do before the holiday season. Everyone talks about things marketers can do during the holiday season, but pre-holiday planning is just as important because it lays the foundation of a successful holiday campaign. Here are some key tips that marketers can follow before the holidays to make the most out of your marketing strategy.

Know your key dates

The first step of successful holiday season planning is knowing when consumers are most likely to hit the shops. Here are some key dates and tips to keep in mind:

  • - Cyber Five - the span between November 25th and 29th - is the start of the busiest holiday shopping season. It includes Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, so spikes in eCommerce activity are to be expected, with the highest demand expected on Cyber Monday.
  • - An emerging trend is shopping on Singles Day, set for November 11. It is the largest physical retail and online shopping day in the world, generating more revenue than all Cyber Five dates combined. Although originally a Chinese retail holiday, it is slowly starting to expand globally. Last year we saw retailers such as Nordstrom and Uniqlo join in with Singles’ Day-specific deals.
  • - Shopping doesn’t exactly slow down around Christmas, so expect to see ongoing sales throughout December, even after Christmas Day, as consumers take advantage of the after-Christmas offers.

Start early with campaigns

The impact of COVID-19 on the global supply chain was massive and its effects are still lingering today. Last year, we saw many consumers start their holiday shopping earlier to receive their packages in time. According to Forrester’s January 2021 US Retail Post-Holiday survey, one in three US online consumers began their 2020 holiday shopping in October or earlier.

This behavior is likely to be similar this year too, so make sure your campaigns begin early - in fact, 61% of US retailers say they plan to start their holiday marketing before November 1st, according to a survey conducted by Digital Commerce 360.

Assess wins and losses from 2020’s campaigns

Look back at your campaigns from last year. Since consumer behavior this year is very likely to be similar to last year, your performance data from last year’s marketing campaigns is extremely valuable.

Properly acquired and analyzed customer and campaign performance data will make the difference for successful 2021 holiday campaigns. As online sellers run ad campaigns on various platforms, such as Google, Instagram and Facebook, but also sell products through multiple platforms/online marketplaces, such as Shopify and Amazon, it can get extremely complicated to consolidate data from these various sources. Make sure to identify which platforms and campaigns were most successful in order to plan this year’s budget accordingly.

We’ve taken you through the first part - what to do before the holiday season. But what can you do during the holiday season to make your campaigns even more effective? Stay tuned for part two!