Peak retail season for most retailers starts anywhere from September or October through to January the following year. This holiday season is crucial for retailers to get right as it usually results in the high point in terms of both traffic as well as sales. Often retailers find this period brings in a disproportionate amount of revenue for the year. So how can you ensure you make the most of this period for 2020? Read on to find out!
The most successful retailers plan appropriately, understand the potential of this period and then analyse their performance to ensure next year they perform bigger and better!
At this time of the year planning is critical. This blog is going to outline some key steps to help you prepare for the upcoming peak retail season. Ultimately, your business should have a longer term strategy to harness the extra interest over this period, and we are aiming to help with this.
Retail In 2020 So Far
Looking at 2020 so far, we have seen a very unpredictable retail market. However, this has lead to significant increases in traffic and revenue online for many industries. So what does this mean for the upcoming retail season? You need to ensure you are ready for even bigger increases to traffic and demand.
This is even more important considering no one knows what 2021 will hold. Consumers are in the mind set that this holiday season will bring much needed excitement, given the events we are currently experiencing. Ultimately this means that consumers will be researching more and gift giving will become even more important for families separated by COVID restrictions.
Preparing For Peak: Researching vs Buying
People in the market looking for holiday gifting starts increasing from October. However, this doesn’t always mean they are shopping. Consumers are researching and preparing for their purchases. Preparing can include any activity that will help consumers to complete their shopping which could be thinking, discovering, browsing, window shopping and researching.
So what does this mean for online retailers wanting to capture this preparing phase of the purchasing process? You need to be in step with the rapidly changing consumer journey for holiday purchasing – especially in 2020! You should be aiming to be in front of the consumer wherever and whenever they are. We suggest a cross channel approach which is driven by automation and Machine Learning.
A consumer journey that is not linear and involves 10s or 100s of steps is the new normal when it comes to purchasing. This means the consumer is moving between high purchase intent and exploratory research. Therefore you need your advertising to reach someone when they are pondering what brand to buy as well as when they are ready to put those credit card details in and purchase your product. You should be aiming to involve a user on all three main steps of the purchasing journey. These being awareness, consideration and action.
So what are the best ad formats for each of these phases?
More upper funnel online advertising is great to increase awareness and promote users to consider your brand when they purchase. This includes Google Display Advertising, perhaps Facebook Advertising and even YouTube Advertising. When you’re looking to reach a user who is ready to purchase Google and Microsoft Search and Shopping campaigns will allow you to be in front of people who have shown intent to purchase a product or service that you sell.
It is important to note each of these ad formats helps overall success of your peak retail season. However, this does mean each ad type should have specific goals in relation to their place in your multichannel approach. For example YouTube or Display should be responsible for driving awareness through traffic and impressions whereas Shopping or search campaigns should be measured against revenue if sales are your goal.
Ensuring you are in front of consumers when they are preparing and researching will ultimately lead to sales later in the purchasing journey.
Gifting Is Consistent
It is also important to realise during this period that gifting is consistent. You may find as a retailer sales events fluctuate in success as they come and go in the calendar year. However, gifting is a very strong motivator.
Consumers want to find the perfect gift for a great price and this will be even more important this year as it is likely most people’s holidays are going to look very different to how they usually do!
You may also find that your newly acquired customers from this holiday period continue shopping with you throughout the following year…
Acquiring Customers in Peak Retail Season
We know that shoppers buy from new retailers in this period and even more keen to this year! You should look to understand your customer’s purchasing behaviour for this period and beyond. Are they the kind of shopper that gets in early and organises all their gifts way ahead of time or are they who spreads their purchasing out throughout the season. Perhaps they save their buying up until the sales hit?
It is becoming even more prevalent that you should be locating consumers based on what they do, rather than who they are. You will get better information on how they shop and what they look for when analysing how they research and purchase rather than, what age they are or where they live. This also means you can utilise a multichannel approach more efficiently too.
Final Word On Winning Peak Retail Season
The strategies outlined above are to ensure you are in front of consumers preparing and purchasing in this peak period. However there are other quick wins you can look to ensure success in the online peak retail season.
- Uncap Budgets: don’t be limited by your budget. This means you may be missing out on that increase in traffic and sales. Also you could be losing out to your competitors!
- Sale Extensions: by simply adding some extensions to your ads you can make them pop with more incentive driven sales or offers