Commentary

Navigating The Most Digital Media-Crazed Time of Year: Holiday Shopping Season

In the retail sector, change is the only constant.

From an influx of new entrants to ever-changing consumer behavior, the industry is notoriously known for its constant evolution — for better or worse. That said, in an effort to compete in this arena and also capture consumer wallets, marketers are starting to gear up their digital media strategies earlier for the most wonderful time of year: holiday shopping season.

Ultimately, as retail marketers prepare to capitalize on the largest shopping season, online advertising becomes a game of inches.

Looking to increase profit potential on your media dollars? Below are some takeaways for marketers.

Start Early And Often

Every year, consumers get started on their holiday shopping earlier and earlier. Marketers need to beat them to the punch. So if consumers are starting their holiday shopping in the fall, why wait until right before the holidays to spend the Q4 advertising budget?

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In order to increase awareness and add value, a media agency’s most efficient media should not only run before November, but it should also run consistently and frequently. In fact, data shows that female shoppers tend to over-index when it comes to early research and shopping, while male shoppers index against last-minute shopping.

Knowing this affords agencies the opportunity to tailor messages, content and merchandising to secure incremental gains against two different shopping behaviors.

When It Comes to Black Friday -- Tread Lightly

Time and time again, shops big and small rally around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Sure, it’s a good opportunity to play with big-box retailers, but like a small fish in a big pond, stores are faced with increased competition and unable to make an impact.

Stores may still see a big swell and increase in revenue, but chances are these are just purchases from loyalists waiting for the big sale, not the coveted new buyers retailers were hoping to entice.

Therefore, media agencies should be careful and almost over-plan when it comes to approaching the Black Friday and Cyber Monday free-for-all. For example, agencies should recommend their retail clients push media on the bookends of Black Friday and Cyber Monday to avoid the drastic increase in cost of advertising, effectively giving them a bang for their buck. 

Agencies should also look for opportunities to offer incentives earlier in the quarter, continuing throughout, and planning their media strategies accordingly. By offering outrageous discounts early (Black Friday and Cyber Monday-style), retailers are capturing consumer wallets without dealing with added competition.

“You May Delay, But Time Will Not.”

Consumers may be getting started on their holiday shopping earlier, but there will always be last-minute shoppers. And agencies cannot forget about them!

It has been said repeatedly, but agencies need to find ways to entice those last-minute shoppers determined to get those last-minute deals. How they accomplish that should, in part, be influenced by the datapoint on male retail consumers.

Consumers will continue to evolve, causing retailers and their marketers to find new and innovative ways to address the moving target posed by these changes. In the end, the best way a marketer can future-proof themselves is by embracing data on customer behavior.

With good data, marketers can increase profit potential for media dollars by knowing who, where and what consumers are up to, even as they rapidly change.

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