Even though Black Friday and Cyber Monday are behind us, holiday spending is far from over. In fact, the National Retail Federation expects holiday retail sales in November and December to increase between 4.3 and 4.8 percent over 2017, for a total of $717.45 billion to $720.89 billion. That means there’s still time and money left on the table for brands to reach interested and motivated shoppers, especially at the lower end of the marketing funnel.
According to Brett Zucker, CMO at Monotype—a company that empowers the world’s top 2000 brands with design, technology and expertise—sense-based marketing (i.e., appealing to consumers’ senses) is the best way to maximize returns during this high-volume, high-impact time of year. Namely, there are five key strategies marketers should consider, if they want to maximize yields through Dec. 25 and beyond.
- General Senses
- Experiential Gifts Win Out—From ax throwing to aerial yoga, this year’s holiday shoppers, especially millennials and GenZ, are increasingly opting to gift experiences in place of material items. The trend makes sense as recent studies from university researchers reveal that experiential purchases tend to provide more enduring happiness. For brands in hospitality and travel, there is a natural connection to “selling” experiences to consumers. For marketers outside these channels, think about how you can make your products an experience; it may be as simple as a small tweak in messaging. For example, you’re not just selling a festive, scented holiday candle. You’re selling nostalgia, the feeling of warmth or being cozy.
- Go for Authenticity—Gone are the days of stock photos. Ditch the staged photography, which can come across as cold or un-relatable, in favor of real images of real people. If, unlike CVS, you don’t have $$ to drop on refreshing packaging with untouched photos, consider other avenues, like UGC or influencer content. Both are solid alternatives that not only inspire loyalty, but it will make your brand feel more accessible and authentic. Bonus: reports show that UGC actually has the power to inspire purchase decisions (70% in fact).
- Know When and How to Stylize Your Brand—Every brand has a complex visual identity, from the typefaces it uses, down to the color of the logo or packaging. Don’t overlook these small details that can have big impact.
- Optimize SEO for Smart Speaker Shopping—22% of Gen Xers and 17% of millennials plan to use a virtual assistant for shopping this holiday season. If your customers start their shopping journey via smart speaker, you may want to overhaul your content marketing to prioritize long-tail keywords that are more conversational, or “featured snippets” that appear higher on search results. In any case, optimized SEO is the name of the game.
- Consider Curated Playlists Consistent with Your Brand—How can you make your online shopping experience unique, if already convenient? Maybe it’s a stylized Spotify playlist shoppers can tune in to while browsing. Not only a festive and personal touch, but it just could put shoppers in the right holiday spirit to convert—not abandon—their cart.
- Don’t Neglect In-Store Experiences—We hear a lot about the retail apocalypse or death to brick-and-mortar, but that’s far from the case. In fact, stats show that physical stores still play a critical role in the winding shopper journey. Want to make their in-store experience more memorable? Consider the power of in-store demos where consumers can discover and explore your product with their own two hands. This has proven especially powerful for the likes of beauty upstarts and legacy brands that are embracing experiential.