With the holiday season already well under way, affiliates and merchants have likely begun planning their marketing campaigns, prepping their products and customizing their sites in an effort to take advantage of the year’s most profitable season. And while strategizing ways to maximize your marketing activities leading up to this timeframe is a great way to boost ROI, traffic and commissions, it’s important to realize that it’s not taking the whole picture into account. Understanding consumers’ behavior around this time is also key in terms of boosting performance.
Every year, countless numbers of Boxing Day aficionados fearlessly brave the Canadian winter, standing in queues for hours on end, dawdling through pushy crowds in the wee hours of the morning, all in hot pursuit of the greatest bargain. Traditional lineups aside, a growing number of Canadian shoppers have begun flocking to the internet from the comfort of their homes, as the store window becomes increasingly digital. Here’s some noteworthy trends to keep in mind this holiday season:
Boxing Day Sales Creep
If the past few years are any indication, Boxing Day’s most ardent deal hunters begin scouring the internet in search of the greatest finds well in advance. Many retailers have taken note, extending their dates for post-Christmas sales, with some even morphing Boxing Day into Boxing Week, to leverage the accompanying ‘sales creep’.
Takeaway: Start early. It’s no secret why some of the biggest retailers opened up their virtual doors touting boxing-day deals as early as Christmas Eve of last year.
Selfish Santas on the Rise
RetailMeNot.ca released an insightful report that touched on some seasonal shopping trends amongst Canadian consumers. They estimated as many as 8 out of 10 of those surveyed planned to treat themselves to gifts they wished they received this holiday season – about 49% of these shoppers were waiting for Boxing Day/Week, as they felt it offered the greatest deals; they also planned to spend an average of over $200 on themselves.
Takeaway: Brainstorm incentives offering savvy savings or rewards to create some buzz around your offers. Think two-for-one specials, free shipping on gift purchases, etc.
The Multi-Screen Approach
With millennials driving a significant portion of online sales, mobile shopping is steadily on the rise. While this isn’t particularly revealing in itself, interestingly, mobile didn’t necessarily replace in-store shopping, but rather, enhanced the purchase process. One study revealed that shoppers were found to shop across channels (smartphone to store), as well as devices (tablet to PC), starting to research a product on one device and completing the actual purchase on another.
Takeaway: Embrace mobile – this can’t be stressed enough. Encourage your site visitors to bookmark or in some way reserve the products they plan to buy. Minimize shopping cart abandonment by putting a multi-screen strategy in place to ensure you’re meeting the full expectations of potential customers throughout the complete purchase process.
Ratings & Reviews Are Big Influencers
It goes without saying that shoppers today are savvier than ever before. When they walk into a store or stumble across a website, they are mindful; well informed about what products to buy, how these compare across brands and which retailers offer the best deals on said product. This is especially true around the holiday season, when shoppers tend the most to rely heavily on consumer feedback to guide their purchase decisions. This is important, especially given that a majority of holiday shoppers aren’t particularly brand loyal; some don’t even have a specific product or brand in mind ahead of purchase.
Takeaway: Take advantage of the opportunity this spells out to keep your site visitors informed. Make it easier for potential customers to compare prices across multiple retailers – list products by price, brand, or some other comparable-across-the-board metric. Increase engagement by including a review or ratings section or a list of pros and cons for the best deals offered.
When the eggnog begins to wear off and you’re done recovering from the inevitable Xmas-induced haze of family gatherings, food comas and holiday cheer, what will you be doing to get your site ready for Boxing Day? Hit us up in the comments section below!