The National Retail Federation predicts retailers will hire between 640,000 and 690,000 seasonal workers. That could be an increase in seasonal positions of up to two percent from last year. The reason for growth is directly in effect of the the growth in consumer spending.
Consumer Holiday Spending by the Numbers
2.5 – the 10-year average growth margin for consumer spending (source)
3.6 – this year’s projected consumer spending increase (source)
117 – the number (in billions) of dollars to be spend on non-store purchases (source)
655.8 – the number (in billions) of dollars to be spent on all holiday shopping (source)
684 – the amount that US internet users plan to spend on holiday purchases (source)
Holiday shopping officially starts the day after Thanksgiving, but the barrage of advertisements has already begun. And although the National Retail Federation considers the holiday season to be between November and December, a Google Consumer Survey reports 29% of shoppers start holiday shopping before Halloween. You read that right. Even though you may not finish your shopping until Christmas Eve, some of your customers have already started–and they may be buying gifts elsewhere if you’re not ready for them.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday have seen a 12% increase in sales year over year, and Cyber Monday sales have increased by $100 million each year since 2005. Adobe’s recently released online holiday sales predictions echo the trend as many brands are taking advantage of the incredible opportunity online to start the holiday season.
No matter the type of business, the holiday shopping season is too big of an opportunity to miss. But how will you capture consumer attention to end the year on more profitably?
The time is now.
Epsilon’s Holiday Shopping Survey reported that 86% of internet users plan on starting their holiday shopping before December begins. Consumers plan on getting their online shopping done early, and some marketers are planning accordingly. In addition to out-of-home and traditional advertising, marketing departments across the nation are increasing their digital holiday ad spend over the next few months not only to gain awareness of their products, but to compete with each other. And the buying cycle doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. EMarketer anticipates that digital ad spending will grow to an over 100 billion dollar business by 2019 and continue to take an increasing chunk out of the total yearly media spend over the next five years.
A digital strategy for growth.
Digital trends don’t have to mean throwing traditional advertising out the window. Instead, brands are being forced to consider marketing in a more holistic way. Forrester Research found that only about one in every four retailers has adopted cross-channel marketing to identify customers. Which begs the question, what’s the hold up? By using multiple marketing channels in tandem, brands can reach audiences where they are with the right medium.
As I get older and transition from searching the web for sporting events to strollers, the digital ads my screen change, too. Even though my interest in Sunday’s results of my favorite NFL team has remained in tack, my search patterns tell a different narrative to brands–I am primed and ready to purchase diapers and start a college fund. From marketing to remarketing paid search and display can effectively engage and re-engage web traffic based on consumer interest, all while they are already in a holiday shopping state-of-mind. Targeting an interested audience is the most effective way to interact with potential customers and lead them along a path to purchase.
And, after all your hard work is done and your digital marketing is in full gear, it would be horrible to have your sales cut down at the mercy of a slow or crashing website. Contact your web hosting platform to make sure your site–web and mobile–can support the surge in digital traffic and, just in case your site does slow, know how you will face challenges head-on before large-scale online traffic events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
I would be remiss if I didn’t say something about social media. You would be remiss not to have a social media strategy for the holiday season.
The aggressive go-get leads mentality no longer works as a profitable or engagement building tactic for social media. Writer, speaker and resident social media grandma (see ultra-ego), Andrea Vahl, describes marketing’s shifting ecosystem. “It’s a go-giver economy where you demonstrate the value of your product or service ahead of time by giving people the benefit of your expertise.” Writes Vahl in an interview in Inc. Magazine, “If you are giving back to [followers], they will help spread the word about your business.” The holiday season is a time for giving, so what better time than now to connect with your audience by sharing information of value, grow your relationships on social media and drive more followers to your website where they can eventually convert into paying customers?
Ann Handley of MarketingProfs has a similar sentiment toward holiday marketing on social media. Handley writes, “The holidays provide businesses with a way to connect with the audience on a more human level…because they allow us to communicate as people who share similar traditions, or they allow us to talk about what makes us unique.” We couldn’t agree more. Social media is all about the connection a brand can make with its customers on a human level, not a corporate one. Why not interact with your customers, listen to their needs as if friends and then introduce a product that solves a need they have?
SessionM recently surveyed over 7,000 smartphone users in the US in their 2016 Holiday Shopping and Mobile Marketing Trends Study to which they found digital channels, especially mobile, are climbing. The need for branded marketing that is not just across multiple channels, but also mobile friendly is overwhelmingly important to the success of the holiday season campaign.
In fact, the same study discovered that 46% of people plan to shop via mobile device and 51% of smartphone users go to their mobile device, not their desktop computer or television sets, to do their shopping research. Maybe that’s why eMarketer forecasts digital ad spend to increase for mobile devices and decrease for desktop/laptops over the next five years.
Retailers are quickly recognizing that it is crucial to have a user experience available from the point customers discover the product, consider if the product will meet their needs and finally decide to purchase. Holiday shopping is the best time of year for retailers to cash in, earning a high volume of sales. With just the right digital marketing strategy, you’ll be sure to see a very merry increase in conversions online and finish the year off strong.