The busy peak season is upon us! The next 10 weeks of 2018 hold some of the biggest and most important retail days in the calendar. Now is the time to ensure that you have a plan in place to maximise your holiday success. Otherwise, the opportunity will quickly pass and your competitors may be tucking into their new and very large piece of the pie – putting them in a better position for 2019.

A brands’ number one priority during Q4 is to increase revenue. To do this, we would recommend to not only focus on growing your current marketing activity, but also look to different regions to grow your customer base and expand into key markets across the globe.

As revealed in our New Horizons report, in Britain as many as 35% of transactions driven for Rakuten Marketing clients are now taking place overseas. We interviewed over 400 UK marketers, to examine business readiness in response to growing demand in emerging markets for UK brands. We found that only 11% of marketers say they have local marketing teams in overseas markets able to carry the responsibility for the international rollout of campaigns. The majority of UK marketers (61%) are reliant on themselves and their local team to take charge of global campaigns.

Get to know your target audience

If you have limited resource for international expansion, start small and focus on one country at a time. Remember, audiences differ greatly by country and can be comprised of different subcultures, so it’s essential to do thorough research to inform your campaigns.

Asia-Pacific (APAC) in particular, presents a huge opportunity for UK brands. Our clients in this network have seen sales growth of an average 117% YoY. However, only one in ten marketers are focused on this market which presents an untapped opportunity for many brands. We have a wealth of knowledge of these regions, so do utilise your account manager for key insights on who you should partner with.

Remember that consumers interact differently with brands in different markets, therefore it’s integral to understand the local consumer. Gaining insight into their shopping behaviours is key to understanding the right approach in each market and who better to ask than your partners who operate in and are established across these key regions?

Understand unique retail calendars

Tapping into key seasonal peaks such as Singles’ Day and Black Friday can help to gain brand awareness in new markets as consumers look for the best deals available. It is important to focus on offering competitive campaigns across Q4 peak periods. In addition, offer creative and incentivising campaigns across the period as a whole to ensure that you appeal to all shopping behaviours across the globe.

The number of Black Friday shoppers varies from country to country, but retail sales in nearly every market measured were at least triple that of an average Friday in 2017. However, it is important to note that Black Friday is no longer a single shopping day. With promotions starting earlier and earlier each year, consumers are now spreading their shopping across the whole of Cyber Week.

In 2017, Singles’ Day – a key shopping day in APAC – was bigger than ever and last year, Rakuten Marketing performance data showed a 32% year-on-year increase in sales on Singles’ Day for UK retailers, indicating its growth in popularity.

Are you Q4 ready?

To assist with your Q4 strategy and to ensure that you maximise your success across this holiday season, we recently held a webinar which covered:

  • Global trends
  • Holiday trends and industry data
  • Publisher insights
  • Our six steps to holiday success

If you would like to watch our webinar in full, you can access it here.

One of the major keys to success in Q4 is to plan as far in advance as possible. Even though we are already in Q4, there is still time to optimise your programme. Ensure you have agreed on objectives from budget sign off all the way through to an agreed media plan and have these ready to go as soon as possible. Be sure to build in enough flexibility into your campaigns to react to market and business changes over this incredibly important retail period.

When planning your activity for different regions, work closely with publishers in each market and take advantage of their local knowledge and experience. They can provide valuable feedback on how your brand is being perceived, along with strategic advice and unique market insights.

Finally, be sure to utilise Rakuten Marketing’s global team of experts. We have local knowledge of key markets around the world to support our advertisers to expand globally.

You can watch our webinar in full here which covers all of the above in much more detail.

We wish you a very successful Q4!