There is one theme in retail that stays consistent over time: consumers love to shop. Luckily for retailers, there are persistent patterns in the calendar year that gives a hint as to when sales spike and stores receive an increase in traffic.
Because these patterns are so prevalent, it puts retailers in a position to capitalize on the events happening in order to create campaigns to target their audience.
Understanding what seasons are the most important for shoppers is a crucial starting point for business professionals in the retail industry, particularly CMO’s and CDO’s.
The Holiday Season
Let’s kick this discussion off with a few key facts about shoppers during the holiday season.
- The average American spends about $786 on holiday shopping.
- The average holiday shopper will spend $107.50 on themselves.
- In 2016 alone, the expected holiday sales were expected to reach $1 trillion.
- More than 75 percent of respondents in the former shopping survey said that a sale would impact at least one of their holiday gift purchases.
- One survey found that 29 percent of consumers largely completed their holiday shopping before Black Friday. In another survey, shoppers said they would start shopping in October or earlier.
According to Statista, the highest in-store traffic and consumer spending occur during the holiday season that starts November 1 and ends December 31. Thanksgiving weekend is widely popular in the retail sector, with Cyber Monday and Black Friday occurring during this time.
Based on the data found in ICSC Thanksgiving and Black Friday report for 2016, there were a few main themes found among shoppers during this season.
First, omnichannel retailers were favored among shoppers, because they offered multiple shopping outlets, both online and in-store that consumers took advantage of.
“Further, 80 percent of spending took place with retailers that have a physical presence, whereas only 18 percent occurred online with pure play retailers. For those shoppers who purchased online and picked up the item in the store (28 percent), 64 percent went on to buy something else when they collected their purchase.” ICSC reports.
This is important for a retailer to consider because of the increase in competition that brick and mortar stores face with e-commerce on the rise.
Shopping during the Thanksgiving holiday only preps consumers for the main shopping attraction: Christmas.
According to the report, 61% of shoppers anticipated deals and promotions for the upcoming Christmas season, and 29% said that the deals will be better.
Because of this, retailers can adjust their strategies in order to effectively meet their targeted market.
Accenture put together an annual report predicting the shopping patterns that will be seen during this holiday season. You guessed it, Amazon has made an appearance.
“10th annual Accenture Holiday Shopping Survey* finds that consumers will shop at multiple retailers to find the best price – and 84% will check Amazon.com before looking or buying elsewhere.” Accenture eports.
So, what does this mean for brick and mortar stores? It means that Amazon has heightened competition among retailers, and stores must adjust their priorities.
“With Amazon continuing to play a huge role in e-commerce consolidation, retailers need to prioritize e-commerce in order to stay competitive during the holiday shopping season,” said Udayan Bose, founder, and CEO of NetElixir states.
Leverage On Last Minute Shopping
The holiday frenzy always drives consumers to the mall last minute, and retailers must be ready to meet their demands.
According to data found through Waze shopping mall navigation, the busiest day in the mall in 2015, was December 23, one day before Christmas Eve.
E-commerce stores don’t stand a chance against last minute shopping unless shipping prices are lowered, and even then, consumers don’t tend to put 100% trust in the fact the product will arrive on time.
“Remember 2013? That year, Amazon and other retailers told shoppers they could order as late as Christmas Eve and still get their packages on time. For many, that was a setup for disappointment — millions of packages were late. Shippers in the years since have begged retailers to ease up on those offers, but have also sped up their operations and hired more people, just in case.” Bluecore reports.
This presents a perfect opportunity for retailers to adjust their Christmas campaigns to meet the last-minute audience in order to influence purchasing decisions.
Early Bird Shoppers Love Deals
With last minute shoppers, come the early bird shoppers as well. Both consumers are very important to consider while conducting a holiday campaign.
To target these costumes, you can start brainstorming your campaign right after Black Friday to alert customers of upcoming Christmas deals.
“Major retailers with Black Friday promotions before Black Friday outperformed retailers that didn’t, with an average 1.4 percent year-over-year growth from 2014 to 2015, according to Cardyltics. Those that didn’t start marketing before Black Friday saw a 2.2 percent drop from 2014 to 2015,” Bluecore reports.
Finding the appropriate time to start your campaign is something that retailers struggle with because shoppers do not like to be annoyed with promotions that are too early, but they want to be informed as well before it’s too late.
Once back to school shopping campaigns come around, retailers can start to create holiday campaigns since the audience will be paying attention.
Back To School Shopping
Back to school shopping is an event that most kids dread, but retailers love.
It is the perfect opportunity to lure in shoppers with unique marketing campaigns and discounts in order to gain sales and popularity for the brand.
According to a survey done by NRF, back to school spending is expected to reach “$83.6 billion, an increase of more than 10 percent over last year’s $75.8 billion.”
As a retailer, it is important to figure out a few basic points in order to succeed in your back to school shopping campaign.
Know Your Audience
Who are you targeting? Are you targeting a college student or a high school student? The difference between age groups is important to note because both are very different breeds of people, interested in different things.
Understanding what to feature in campaigns starts with knowing what your audience is buying.
According to a survey conducted for the National Retail Federation by Prosper Insights & Analytics, clothing and electronics were among the most popular items that back to school shoppers are purchasing, with shoes and school supplies least popular.
If you are targeting college students, experts say sales are supposed to hit an all time high this year. A new purchasing trend that retailers can expect from college shoppers, is food purchases.
“Even many traditional commuter colleges now require freshmen to live on campus, helping drive spending on home goods across several categories including grocery and particularly snacks and beverages.”
In order to track what is popular among shoppers, retail professionals can use Google Trends as a tool to track audiences.
This feature provides tracking capabilities that provide what the most popular brands, patterns, and even color schemes are, found among shoppers’ search sequences. Finding out what customers are looking for online can position retailers to be up to date with the newest trends.
Online Vs. In-Store
E-commerce or brick and mortar? It is the latest debate that major players in the retail industry are constantly faced with.
According to Retaildive, 85% of customers were using smartphones to help them shop, and it will only increase with the rise of digital. Mobile was the most used tool for back to school shopping.
Retailers can take advantage of this fact, by offering online tools such as in-store pickup and online shopping. Since shoppers browse online before making a shopping decision, targeting advertisements online can be an effective tool.
“Brands need to have a comprehensive strategy for how to take advantage of one of the biggest shopping seasons of the year. That strategy has to involve the mobile channel, and others, if it is to have any chance of success.” Retaildive reports.
You don’t want your campaign to fall short, so make it count by using digital tools. According to Deloitte, these digital trends were most popular among shoppers.
- Scan-as-you-shop mobile apps to avoid lengthy check-out time
- Location check-in platforms to receive personalized deals
- Coupons or promotions QR codes to check for product information and reviews
- Augmented reality (AR) applications for an interactive shopping experience
“More than two-thirds indicated that digital kiosks and interactive displays would encourage them to buy in-store, with 78% looking for digital technologies that help them find a particular product and 75% wanting digital self-help options to compare products or compare prices.”
Deals and Promotions Count
It is no surprise that customers love coupons and discounts. Especially parents looking for deals for their children going back to school.
“When searching for the perfect deals, 48 percent of parents are influenced by coupons, up from 43 percent last year and the highest in the survey’s history. Families will also take advantage of in-store promotions (39 percent) and advertising inserts (33 percent) to complete their shopping lists. For those who started shopping early, half (50 percent) of their purchases were influenced by coupons, sales and/or promotions.”
Know Your Competition
Knowing your competition allows you to leverage and mimic tools that they are using.
For example, If your competition is using innovative interactive tools in their stores, to support back to school campaigns, you don’t want to fall behind and not jump on board the digital transformation wave.
Shoppers have a lot of options when it comes to back to school shopping, so the competition is even stronger during this season. It is important to make sure your audience knows what you are offering and what that you will deliver them the products they want.
Below are two images from Target’s back to school campaign and Macy’s back to school campaign.
North America’s most prominent digital, marketing, technology, and business leaders from the Retail Industry are coming together October 19-20, 2017 at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City, UT, for the Digital Retail Transformation Assembly.
With back to school shopping and the holiday season rapidly approaching, it is crucial for retailers to stay above the competition by integrating strong and strategic campaigns that will further position them to be successful against e-commerce retail giants, like Amazon. Learning the basics behind these holiday seasons is the first step for retailers to position themselves to receive an increase in sales and traffic to stores. Retail is becoming more complex, and omnichannel strategies are important to adapt.
Join like minded professionals to discuss and anticipate the newest trends in retail that will be seen in the 2017-2018 year. By working with the industry, we have put together an event to challenge attendees to anticipate the highly complex digital retail marketing environment that will develop over the next few years. Stay above the challenges and ride the digital wave into the new year.
We are thrilled to announce Keynote Speaker Martine Reardon, Founder & CEO at Reardon Consulting will be leading the discussion alongside our speakers, including Martin Barhel, Global Head of eCommerce & Retail Strategy, Facebook, and Brendan Witcher, Principal Analyst, Forrester.
Martine Reardon is best known for leading the multi-faceted world of marketing at Macy’s from 2012 through 2016. In her role at Macy’s, she captained the company’s 1,300-person marketing organization, including advertising, creative, and brand development, social, mobile and digital media, public relations, cause marketing, media planning and consumer insights for more than 800 stores and macys.com, the sixth largest internet business in the country.
This is not just another “Retail” event. Spaces are reserved for the best in the business. Register your interest here >