This Ain't Your Daddy's Holiday Season

  • by , Op-Ed Contributor, November 17, 2015

Famed author and entrepreneur Seth Godin said it best: “Change almost never fails because it's too early. It almost always fails because it's too late.” The holiday season as we know it has fundamentally changed as mini-moments have replaced the long-standing Black Friday focus. Marketers will need to adapt quickly before it is too late.

1. The Season Is Longer And Holiday Spending Is Up, Tailor Your Messaging

The holiday season as a whole saw the greatest spend ever in 2014. Last year the holiday season technically started on Nov. 1, when Walmart began their holiday deals. This year – well, you could argue that we are already underway, with Amazon’s Christmas in July initiative. Competition is fierce and brands are thinking of any new ways to attract consumers. This is why it is even more important than ever to focus on your messaging. The promise of mobile has always been a more personal way to talk to consumers. So take advantage of this opportunity by tailoring your messaging to the ever-changing season to reach consumers shopping over Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Mobile Eve and post-Holiday.



2. Black Friday In-Store Traffic Is Down, Boost Your In-Store Targeting

Believe it or not, overall in-store traffic for Black Friday decreased by 5.1% last year, according to the National Retail Federation. However, Black Friday is still the biggest, in-store traffic day of the year, and this means two things for mobile advertising. First, if you are not reaching consumers in-store, you are potentially losing sales to competitors who are. Second, consumers’ on-demand mindset means proximity is pivotal in redirecting consumers away from competitors. We found that half of consumers wanting to make a transaction within an hour expect to travel five miles or less from their current location.

3. Cyber Monday Is All About The Mini-Moment

Cyber Monday is like Black Friday’s little brother all grown up. Last year’s retail sales exceeded $2 billion on desktop alone, according to comScore. Savvy consumers are mapping out their spending to get the best deals possible between the two shopping holidays. Since Cyber Monday is a workday for most Americans, customers typically plan shopping around their work schedule with 40% planning to get up early before work while 18% and 34% planned to shop during their lunch or afternoon breaks respectively. Mobile location is your friend as you target local coffee shops in the mornings, QSRs and restaurants during lunch break, and office buildings throughout the day to influence the moment. This is also a great time to retarget Black Friday shoppers who were in your/competitors stores over the Thanksgiving weekend.

4. Mo’ Money on Mobile Eve

Though Black Friday is king when it comes to in-store shopping, the week leading up to Christmas is a strong contender for driving last-minute sales. Data from E-marketer shows that 15% of all holiday shoppers are waiting until the last minute to purchase gifts which correlates with our that shows mobile retail search data increases 25-30% on Christmas Eve over Black Friday. Whether it’s general procrastination or spreading the cost burden across multiple months, retail foot traffic was greatest the Sunday before Christmas. This is an inherently important time for Mobile since customers have missed the e-commerce delivery deadline, making desktop irrelevant. Pivot your attention to on-the-go shoppers looking for nearby deals, store direction, and extended store hours. 

5. Post-Holiday Shopping

Christmas might be over, but holiday shopping is still in full swing. Many customers are taking those unwanted gifts and a collection of gift cards back in-store. Some customers look to buy items that they didn’t get off their wish list while others want accessories for their new gadgets. According to E-Marketer, over two-thirds (70%) of consumers prefer to return in-store due to cost and convenience, so take advantage of this continued store traffic by targeting nearby customers with end of the year discounts and promotions.

The new holiday season has given rise to new opportunities, but only those willing to embrace mobile’s unique ability to capture location will be able to take advantage of these pockets of behavioral changes.

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