Commentary

Is Your Brand Prepared for the Holidays?

The holidays have long been critical for retailers, but rules have also changed, in part due to market dynamics initially created by Amazon. Today’s retail environment puts greater emphasis on deals and promotions in the form of instant savings delivered to mobile devices. There’s a sense of urgency applied, but for shoppers, there’s no need to wait around at midnight to check those gifts off a list.

As consumer brands and retailers keep adapting holiday strategies to meet changing shopper preferences, it’s worth considering the following during Turkey Five:

Automate it

The rush around holiday shopping has historically required brand advertisers to have all hands on deck from Thanksgiving on, adjusting ad spend to stay in front of deal-seeking eyeballs. A comprehensive automation strategy uses search advertising sponsored ads — both sponsored brands and sponsored products, all on Amazon, in particular.

Retargeting can also be done within and outside of Amazon’s own site, using sponsored display ads dependent on consumer behavior. It's not a typical search offering, but run by Amazon and on a self-service console, which will drive adoption and make it easier to buy this inventory. Doing so creates a more direct engagement between brands and Amazon than going through third-party DSPs. Automation partners can handle these transactions and adjust throughout this critical period based on performance and the feedback the data provides.

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Even Physical Stores Forced to Keep Up

Ecommerce’s effect on consumers turns holiday shopping from a Black Friday/Cyber Monday novelty into a full five-day event. And that applies to brick-and-mortar locations, too. With deals flying at consumers for days, physical retailers are challenged to keep up.

It sounds daunting, but Amazon’s success driving such a demand around the holiday shopping period has encouraged all retailers and brands to be more agile and thoughtful about how they interact with consumers on those days -- in real time, at the point of sale.

Shorter Holiday, More Pressure

Making things even more complicated this year: Thanksgiving comes pretty late on the calendar (Nov. 28). The shortened holiday shopping period puts the squeeze on consumers wanting to get more done in less time. But the same can be said for retailers and brands, trying to maximize the end of the year to hit sales benchmarks.

The compressed timeline and constantly changing advertising landscape provides an advantage for brands willing and able to invest more in a short period to capitalize. That doesn’t just mean more cash, but a more competitive promotional deal and discount environment for everyone involved.

Discovering Point of Sale

Discoverability is crucial for ecommerce -- even more so during these high-traffic periods. As a result, brands are investing in ad methods that put them closer to the point of sale.

Brands are foregoing investments in advertising with social media middlemen, rapidly moving dollars to the point of sale, where 70% of buying decisions occur.

In doing so, brands interact with consumers with a high intent to purchase -- and attribution that provides the most demonstrable ROI for advertisers’ dollars. Speaking to consumers at the bottom of the funnel, versus the top, ensures you’re the last message they hear before they make a purchase -- increasing the likelihood of success.

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