Written by: Eva Barbier & Kelsey Fritz
2020 has been a rollercoaster and we might be facing our biggest obstacle yet as we head into the holiday season. In our last blog post we talked about how the convergence of the holidays with the election and second wave of COVID could pose unique challenges – like shipping – to retailers this year. Another major concern this season will be overall consumer spending and how retailers can capture a larger share of wallet.
While this goal tops the list every year, it’s even more pronounced this year because:
- People have lost jobs, which will likely result in less spending this holiday season. In fact, one supplier to a big box retailer is bracing for a 30% decline in holiday spending this year.
- In-store sales are the lion’s share of sales – but with reduced foot traffic, thanks to the pandemic, retailers will have to make up for lost sales online.
- Online shopping will make it easier for people to shop around and compare pricing between brands.
- There will be fewer gatherings this year whether it’s big family dinners, corporate holiday parties or New Year’s Eve celebrations, which means fewer gifts to buy for others or for oneself.
- Consumers have spent less on travel and dining out, which for some people, may result in bigger-ticket gift items than previous years.
While the competition will be fierce, retailers can stand out by improving online advertising experiences to make it more relevant and useful to each person.
Here’s what retailers can do:
- FOCUS ON YOUR BRAND: More promotions during the holidays mean more noise for consumers. Your ads should showcase your unique brand promise, whether it be quality and reliability, comfort and warmth, or an edgy and rebellious lifestyle. You know your brand’s strengths better than anyone – make sure customers do too, otherwise your ads will be just another “25% off” in a sea of similar offers. Interactive video is a great way to let your brand shine, while incorporating offers when it makes sense.
- CREATE CUSTOMER COHORTS: “Cohorts” might be the word of the year if you are a parent of a school-aged child. It also applies to your customers. Nate Checketts, CEO of Rhone, recently said that one of the biggest mistakes brands make is grouping their customers all into one category. He advised segmenting your customers appropriately and better determining customer cohorts and blocks. This is at the core of what we do at ViralGains. Our platform enables brands to understand their customers’ preferences and needs in real-time so that they can build out audiences and retarget them with highly relevant ads, while also identifying high intent shoppers.
- USE SHOPPABLE VIDEO ADS: Advertisers should take every opportunity to facilitate shopping in the moment. Not only does this drive sales, but it also provides insights into what people are responding to in your ad. In a recent Retail Brew webinar on the state of the retail industry, Sucharita Kodali, VP & Principal Analyst at Forrester, shared this exact recommendation when asked what the roadmap for recovery should be for retail brands.
- PUBLISH BRANDED GIFT GUIDES NOW: Given shipping challenges and the need to push for earlier holiday sales, retailers and brands should be inspiring shoppers with holiday gift guides in October in order to prompt early shopping. Use interactive elements like video and hotspots to bring your products to life and stand out from the competition.
- REPLICATE THE IN-STORE EXPERIENCE ONLINE: Arguably most importantly this year, brands should get creative about how they can still create a virtual “in-store” experience for the customer. Kodali noted in the webinar that this is an “opportunity for the most creative companies to gain share and be resilient.” For example, bundle high margin “stocking stuffers” with popular big gift items. Use ViralGains’ in-video Engagement Experiences to showcase products that compliment the products featured in the video.
- LISTEN TO CUSTOMERS & BE FLEXIBLE AND AGILE: A critical strategy this holiday season is ensuring marketing and inventory managers work in tandem. Advertising through ViralGains allows brands to easily shift promotions and product features on-the-fly based on both inventory and demand.
At ViralGains, we embody the idea of creating a personalized customer experience, something shoppers are demanding more now than ever. Make this unique retail moment one where you not only engage with customers in a more productive and creative way online, but also create lifetime loyalty with them.
If you are interested, or have any questions about how ViralGains can help turn your advertising into a stronger asset this holiday season, reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.