[Note: this blog was originally published in December 2017.]
Time is running out – and not just for holiday shoppers who have waited until December to finish up their holiday shopping. While they may not have been procrastinating, late holiday shoppers are critical to the seasonal success of any brand or retailers. That raises the question: is your holiday marketing strategies designed to meet the needs of the late holiday shopper?
If you’re not certain, don’t fret. Just like how we gave you the 25-holiday marketing to-do list, we’re here to give you 10 more to-dos. These 10 late holiday marketing strategies will help your brand stand out in the last few weeks before Christmas, reach consumers, and win over the late holiday shopper!
1. Don’t Stop Communicating
Black Friday has passed and Cyber Monday is on the books. Now what?
First things first – whatever you decide to do, keep any partners informed! This is especially true if your marketing strategy is within the affiliate channel. If you’re changing offers, promoting flash sales, or looking to push new messaging out to change things up (and we’ll go over all of that in a little bit) make sure you keep your partners engaged and up-to-date on any changes or new campaigns. Just make sure you keep the right amount of communication going – once a week should be good, but any more will be a little too much for publishers.
2. Focus Your Messaging
Cyber Week has been treated as a way for holiday shoppers to get gifts for everyone – including themselves! But as the holidays quickly get closer, most holiday shoppers stop self-gifting and start focusing on their loved ones. Make sure that your focus your messaging on giving around this time of the year. Promote deals and offers with language that focuses on people in the holiday shopper’s life – be it a parent, sibling, child, spouse, friend, or other family members. It will help reach the holiday shopper that much easier, and also help compel them to make a purchase.
3. Use Flash Sales For Impulsive Holiday Shoppers (Like Millennials and Gen Z)
Offering a timed deal such as a flash sale or a weekend/day exclusive is a great way to get shoppers motivated to purchase on impulse. This strategy will be effective in reaching consumers who have held off on holiday purchases until now. Not only are late holiday shoppers going to be slowly feeling the time crunch, shoppers, in general, like to take advantage of flash sales. 32% of holiday shoppers said that a limited-time sale or promotion convinced them to make a purchase, according to the NRF. This strategy is especially effective with younger shoppers, as 66% of Millennials and 71% of Gen Z shoppers say they make impulse purchases. With the end of the season fast approaching, using these types of sales with urgent language to help motivate and convert holiday shoppers!
4. Don’t Get Offer Fatigue
This advice is similar to the one we gave during the 25 last-minute to-do list for holiday marketing that we published a few weeks ago, but the importance of this is advice is even higher now. With the Cyber Week deals in the past, holiday shoppers aren’t going to slow down on looking for offers. The best way to keep these late holiday shoppers interested is to keep offering new and different deals. This does not mean you have to offer bigger markdowns or more cash back. If you can’t afford to offer more, find new ways to show off the same deals, or give the shopper different reasons why they may want to take advantage of the offers you currently have available.
5. Use Gift Guides
Keep helping holiday shoppers with gift guides, and keep in mind the time crunch that holiday shoppers will be on as the days go by. Guides like “10 Last Minute Stocking Stuffer Ideas” or “The Best Deals in December For Last-Minute Holiday Shoppers” can be great resources for shoppers who are savvy, selective…but also in a bit of a hurry to finish up their holiday shopping before the holidays officially arrive! If you’re a Rakuten Marketing client in the affiliate channel, check out our information on Multiple Product Feeds as a way to create “gift guide” lists to promote.
6. Offering Free Shipping
Free shipping is critical when it comes to shoppers making a choice to purchase, and can make the difference between purchasing or shopping elsewhere. Offering free shipping in any capacity you’re able to can be compelling, and participating in events like Free Shipping Day can help bring attention and awareness to your offer during a period when shoppers will be trying to wrap up their seasonal shopping while getting the best deal possible.
7. Guaranteed On-Time Delivery
Late holiday shoppers believe that they can order late and get their product by Christmas, but it’s up to you to make sure your shoppers know the time frame for delivery and understand what their options are. Be sure to incorporate delivery information and awareness into your messaging on social platforms and on product pages as well – this will help keep your shoppers informed and let them know when “too late” will be
8. Know Who’s Shopping (Hint: Men)
According to eMarketer, a survey of 6,900 shoppers found that 16.6% of men don’t start their holiday shopping until December. When probed to find out why the answer was direct: men enjoyed the “thrill of last-minute shopping” and see it as a “necessary evil.”
The challenge of marketing to men is that, statistically, they don’t pay as much attention to offers. According to the same eMarketer report, only 65% of men plan to use coupons they get in the mail – compared to 77% of women. The report also notes that men are less likely to do money-saving strategies like online price comparison or price matching.
So, how do you win over male shoppers late in the holiday shopping season? There are two key strategies. The first is messaging. It’s important to recognize that men are only shopping for one or two people, but they’ll want to make sure they get those gifts right. Help these shoppers out by using your message to direct them to gifts that a spouse, child, family member, or loved one would like. The second is timing. Since late male holiday shoppers feel more comfortable in waiting until the last minute, that means they’ll also have less time deliberating and deciding between products. Make the experience direct and shortened. These shoppers should be able to buy their products quickly and efficiently!
9. Make Ordering Easy
Recent studies have found that 81% of customers use as many as six different channels to find holiday deals and promotions. With all this work to find the best deal, customers will not want to have a cumbersome checkout experience once they decide to purchase no matter what type of device they’re shopping on. Make the checkout experience an easy one to reduce the time customers have to spend trying to make their purchase because time is valuable to the late holiday shopper – after all, they won’t have a lot of it to spare!
10. Know Quirky Days and Unique Opportunities
There are so many fun, quirky holidays coming in December (like National Cotton Candy Day on December 7th), that brands can get creative with to keep marketing strategies fresh and exciting to consumers. Standing out during this period is critical because many brands are going to be pushing offers and trying to win last-minute holiday shoppers. Utilizing quirky holidays with your marketing can make it feel unique and give shoppers an extra reason to make a purchase or take advantage of a deal they may not have considered before. Even if none of the quirky holidays seem to fit, you can still utilize shopping events like Free Shipping Day from FreeShippingDay.com as a way to play up the end-of-the-holiday shopping period and give the shoppers and offer worth taking advantage of!