Top 3 Steps to a Successful Holiday Shopping Season
Businesses are on the home stretch of vacation planning right now, but is the âback to normalâ imminent? After all, by this time in 2020, major retailers were already turning to online shopping, and many had announced that their stores were closing on Black Friday months earlier.
So from a marketing standpoint, could this year’s holiday season be even more unpredictable than the last? There are a number of unique challenges that keep marketers from sleeping at night, ranging from continuous supply chain disruption to a rapidly evolving digital advertising ecosystem and limited or changing resources.
But there are still steps you can take to stay flexible and be successful. I partner with businesses to deal with uncertainty every day and here is what I learned:
1. (Over) communicate.
Most businesses say they’re customer-centric, but times of unpredictability really test that.
Amid logistics and supply chain challenges, and rapidly changing customer needs, how have you stepped up your communications efforts? In addition to fostering empathy, technology can help businesses keep their customers informed and respond effectively to their needs today, while building deeper relationships for years to come.
For example, Sephora, the beauty retailer, found that messaging integrations with Facebook Messenger and Instagram have helped it handle a six-fold increase in customer queries. And Shein, a fashion ecommerce platform, saw its customer service response time improve by 73% with the Messenger API for Instagram.
Of those surveyed who send messages to businesses, the majority say that being able to send messages to a business helps them feel more confident with the brand.
2. Test. Nail. Climb.
The digital advertising landscape has always been rapidly changing. Caught between the recent acceleration in privacy-focused advertising, designer commerce, and the growth of e-commerce, marketers are rethinking a decade of best practices. Now is the time to test, re-test and test again to re-evaluate your end-to-end strategy.
This applies not only to how and where brands advertise, but also when. For example, advertisers often drop off their virtual pencils in âQ5â, the period between the Christmas and New Year shipping deadlines. But it’s actually one of the biggest opportunities of the year. Purchase intention remains high among many shoppers who are willing to spend store credits and gift cards. In fact, 92% of those surveyed last year planned to continue shopping after the holidays. And during this time, ads tend to be cheaper on Facebook and Instagram, compared to peak season.
3. Do more with less.
It’s hard to know the proper tone to strike in months or even weeks. Internal changes, such as new or reduced teams, may have delayed plans to return to the office, and changing media budgets further complicate creative production for many companies.
Working with external partners can help businesses fill in the gaps and stay nimble. Likewise, new creative approaches could do more with less. In Facebook apps, we’ve seen evidence that in some categories, including ecommerce, native-speaking social media creatives are associated with better performance than ads with a high degree of finish.
Indeed, experimenting with what we call a âlo-fiâ creation can produce impressive results, suggesting that highly produced ads (and the corresponding price tags) are not always essential to success.
How will you cope with the uncertainty this holiday season? For more tips on how to scale with changes in consumer behavior and increase holiday sales, check out Facebook’s Discovery Commerce resources.