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Five Strategies for More Holiday Sales

There’s less than 5 weeks until Christmas and retailers have kicked their holiday marketing strategies into full gear. With Black Friday fast approaching, many consumers have already started shopping. In fact, the bulk of consumers begin purchasing for the holidays on November 1. If retailers wait too long, they could be missing out on some valuable sales opportunities. The key question is, how can you attract customers and drive them to engage with your brand? Here are five key strategies to drive shoppers to the stores or online to make holiday purchases.

1.    Customization and Personalization Top the List

Whether communications are printed or digital, marketers are focused on delivering a more targeted message during this holiday season. You’ve recognized that not all customers are created equal. So you don’t want to waste profit margins by sending discounts to shoppers who simply seek deals and then move on. If you’re not already you should be looking at the lifetime value of a customer, and reward brand-loyal consumers with special offerings ranging from loyalty programs to extra thank-you promotions for the holidays. When dealing with early shoppers, marketers would be well-advised to attract them to stores and entice them to make impulse purchases as the season progresses. Meanwhile, known procrastinators will likely respond better to digital advertising that encourages last-minute shopping, gift card purchases, and overnight shipping.

In the latest edition of the eTail Annual Retail Holiday Readiness Report, 122 retail marketing executives reported that targeting consumers was their top method for luring in customers and boosting sales this holiday season (43%). Another 23% plan to roll out A/B testing to determine customer preferences, and 20% will use consumer data and analytics to improve relevance.

Customers want to feel like holiday messaging is truly meant for them, and this requires gathering the right data insights and acting on them. Personalization will be the key to cutting through the clutter with print and digital communications this holiday season. The most effective holiday messaging incorporates an intimate knowledge of who your customers are.

2.    Emotions Run High During the Holidays

Although people tend to think that their decision-making is purely rational, the truth is that most people make decisions emotionally before justifying them rationally. As a result, an emotional holiday marketing campaign is more likely to be a successful one. Focus on the feelings that fit the season, including friendship, family gatherings, gestures of goodwill and giving back to the community, and gratitude.

3.    Make it Interactive!

While emerging channels of engagement and tools for transacting pose new challenges for marketers, forward-thinking brands have an opportunity to leverage fresh ideas and technologies to drive success and sales. For example, IKEA is continuing its emphasis on interactive holiday direct marketing. IKEA was an early adopter of augmented reality, and its feature enables consumers to virtually place IKEA products in their homes to see how they might fit with the existing décor. The app has been redesigned to make it more intuitive and easier to use, creating a virtual IKEA catalog on the go.

4.    Make Sure the Campaign is Easy-to-Share

Although it’s hard to predict what will go viral, it is easier to maximize your chances. One important element is ensuring that the campaign is easy to share. According to statistics[1], 74% of consumers rely on word of mouth as the top influencer of their purchasing decisions. Receiving a campaign from a friend means so much more than seeing it in a commercial or Facebook ad. By adding social icons to direct mail pieces and e-mails, marketers enable recipients to share or forward content with a single click or create engaging tweets.

A great example is a holiday Facebook contest or promotion with a fantastic, valuable prize that marketers will want to tell the world about. Loyal customers are instrumental in helping to get the word out. When marketers choose a third-party app provider, they need to ensure that great sharing features are built in. “Refer-a-friend” features that give users an extra entry when they share information about the promotion can be extremely effective.

5.    Create a Consistent Experience Across All Channels

Multi-channel marketing is the norm for holiday retailers. Customers will interact with retailers on all channels, including print, the web, mobile and tablet applications, e-mail, kiosks, online chats, or speaking with customer representatives in a physical location or via phone. It’s crucial to create a consistent user experience regardless of marketing channel, but there’s more to that than recreating your branding and color scheme on social media. The deals you’re offering should also remain consistent. Businesses may speak internally about the e-mail channel or the web channel as individual touchpoints, but consumers consider each and every interaction when they form an overall picture of a particular company.

What to Think About

As you gear up for the most wonderful (and busy) time of year, what should you be thinking about? Are there changes in consumer behavior that could have a major impact on sales and engagement? As your print and marketing partner this holiday season and into the New Year, let us help you ensure that your communications are hitting the mark. The most effective communications are personal and targeted, have emotional appeal, are engaging and shareable, and remain consistent regardless of the media channel. The window of opportunity is short—now is the time to optimize your holiday business potential!

[1] Study by Google, Oglivy and TNS (