3 secrets to influence sales this holiday season
3 secrets to influence sales this holiday season.
Is my holiday strategy on the mark?
In 2021, 54% of consumers started their shopping before Thanksgiving. This was driven primarily by crazy inventory issues and shipping challenges that warned customers to get it while they can. Add to that a 2nd year of the pandemic that made traveling to exchange gifts uncertain, which forced consumers to be on their A-Game to get stockings stuffed on time. With the holiday season bearing down on us, let’s look at the when, where and why of 2022 holiday shopping trends.
Looking to this season, as we settle back into “normal”, shoppers claim they won’t be starting their holiday gift buying any earlier than usual - which is good news for all those Black Friday and Cyber Monday programs you had planned. However, that still means 60% of consumers will start shopping before the final two months of the year. Several retailers, including Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s and even Build-A-Bear are planning promotions to start in October.
The big shift is the return to retail - it is expected shoppers will spend an average of $1,802 in store vs. $1,202 online. And just where will all those people be shopping? No surprise that Amazon will lead the online battle with 93% of consumers while 51% of consumers will go direct to a brand’s website to secure the deal. In the meantime, bricks and mortar retail are scrambling to staff up to meet pent up demand. 65% of retailers identified recruiting as their number one issue this holiday season and 45% are making employee training a focus in Q4.
With no immediate end to inflation in sight, price will continue to be the primary driver behind purchase decisions (up 10 points from 2021), especially as consumers worry that prices may continue to rise closer to the holidays. Other purchase consideration factors that crept up a couple of points for the 2022 holiday season are shipping and delivery costs along with the importance of ratings and reviews. Social commerce (people buying from a brand’s social media site) continues to rise too - it is expected that half of the adults in the US will make a purchse on social media this year.
Long story short, the power of influential people will continue to play a role in the consumer journey this holiday season, and that season has a long runway from October through to Christmas Day, both online and in-store.
3 steps to help your consumers check everything off their list.
While more shopping may happen in store this year, the path to purchase remains a winding journey. 70% of shoppers in the US will begin their in-store shopping journey online. With visits to countless websites to read reviews, compare prices and look for UGC to see if the product will do what they think it will, consumers will burst through retailer doors with preconceived notions about what to buy; ready to look, touch and feel the merchandise for themselves before they open their pocketbooks.
To make the most of the season, you’ll need more than robust campaign plans for the holiday super sales.
Step 1: Effective product pages.
Of course, your pages need to load quickly and provide full product descriptions. That’s table stakes. The reviews are where the rubber meets the road - not only depth of reviews, but reviews that provide helpful information so the consumer understands who the product is the best fit for. New products coming out for the holiday season? Products with only a handful of reviews? Better plan to do some product sampling with a trusted audience. In addition, 68% of US shoppers will research products online while in a physical store, so whether you sell direct to consumer or not, it’s vital you have a comprehensive review strategy in place to help consumers find the trusted insights they need to influence their purchase.
Step 2: Authentic UGC.
This isn’t just to add pretty pictures to your product pages (although that’s good too), this is for your social media, digital ads and newsletters as well. Consumers say they are twice as likely to seek shopping inspiration in social media vs. physical media and that 1 in 3 buy a product after seeing it on social media. With consumers craving more authentic UGC that reflects people who they identify with, brands need to have a strategy in place to build a backlog of authentic and influential content they can deploy on demand.
Step 3: Influence the retail experience.
Not every brand owns their retail experience. Most are at the whim of an hourly employee (who they have never met) to answer questions from consumers who just want to know if they have found the perfect holiday gift. Retailers will be consumed this quarter with just getting bodies on the floor and behind the cash register—and training them at scale is a huge challenge. The savvy brand can be proactive and take training into their own hands, lifting the burden from their retail partners. Get a strategy in place to provide training to your key dealers and partners so they are armed and prepared to meet the holiday rush.
Maximize your holiday efforts with Advocacy.
The holidays are coming at us like a freight train and 2023 will be here before we know it. But it’s not too late to tap into a network of trusted influencers who will advocate for your brand. The ExpertVoice Advocacy Platform offers brands a suite of tools to reach their most important audiences and engage them at scale to build influential advocates. More powerful advocates help brands drive sales and brand awareness at retail, in their e-commerce channels and conversations in person and online. That might mean using the Campaign Manager to build quick, digestible lessons for various retailers, or to launch a product sampling campaign to an audience of credentialed professionals that can provide authentic reviews and UGC to bolster your product pages and digital marketing efforts.
In addition, the Advocacy Platform allows you to syndicate reviews through partners like Bazaarvoice, PowerReviews and Yotpo so that no matter what e-commerce sites your consumer visits, they can be exposed to a wealth of trusted, authentic reviews from real life users who know their stuff.
The best part? Efforts you make now will pay dividends into the future - your ability to use UGC and reviews never expires. The advocates you tap into will continue to engage with your brand providing an opportunity to deepen the relationship and grow their advocacy. In the meantime, your audiences will continue to provide valuable insights, increase your brand awareness and convert new consumers to your brand through the power of their recommendations. Still skeptical? Just check out how Vortex and Ariat have leveraged advocacy over the years to grow their brand.