We’re still in shorts and the sun is shining here in sunny Hampshire but have you already noticed the first, almost apologetic, mentions of Christmas? Are there really only 100 shopping days left?
If you’re the religious sort, you may rightly feel annoyed that the commercialism starts earlier each year (and we haven’t even got to Halloween yet!). But if you’re responsible for sales and marketing in a retail business you should already be getting twitchy about missing the most profitable time of your year.
And if you work for a charity, are you prepared to make the most of the times of the year when people are at their most generous? So I make no apologies about mentioning the “C” word in September.
Internet shopping – a new Christmas Day tradition?
Even on Christmas Day, while most people are eating, or digesting in front of the telly, British internet shoppers visited retail sites 107 million times in 2012, according to the BBC news website.
Online retail rose by 11% during last year’s Christmas period and accounted for almost one-quarter (24.4%) of Christmas spending. Online sales rose from £16.64 billion (2014) to £18.57 billion and lots of it was click and collect.
Have I convinced you yet how important it is to add some seasonal flavour to your online marketing campaigns?
Sorry! …some more seasonal and digital facts and figures
- There’s been a year-on-year growth in online shopping:
- UK online spending rose by 11% to £114bn in 2015, and by 12% to £24bn over Christmas (LDC Knowledge).
- Digital sales are growing faster than traditional retail sales and the UK leads the way:
- In-store sales dropped by 1.4% in 2015, but increased by 18.4% online, making a net increase in retail revenues of 2%.
- According to its own figures, in-store sales at Tesco last Christmas were down 0.3% but online were clothes increased by 52.4% and general merchandise by 22.2%.
- The average UK consumer spent £1,174 online in 2015, compared to a German average of £1,023 and just £847 in France (Econsultancy research website).
- People spend more during holiday seasons:
- According to Internet Retailing website, UK retailers took £24bn over Christmas 2015, compared to £114bn in the whole of 2015; that’s 21% of the year’s business in the eight weeks from November 1st.
- The House of Fraser reported an increase in online sales of more than 30% in the six weeks to January 3rd (Interactive Media in Retail Group).
So what are you going to do about it?
In some of my previous blog posts I’ve talked about the importance of customising your email marketing to hit your target. It’s just as important to make sure that your communications are time-appropriate too. After all, clothes retailers won’t be advertising swimwear this autumn, so make sure your social media and email marketing campaigns reflect what’s happening; help put your audience in the right mood as Halloween and Christmas approach.
My tips for how to prepare for a seasonal email marketing and social media campaign
How do savvy businesses make the most of seasonal marketing? Here are my five top Moxie recommendations to make the most of your customers desire to celebrate dates in the calendar:
- Plan ahead! Now is the time to check the calendar and start putting together ideas for Halloween, Christmas and every special day from Mothers’ to Pancake – whatever suits your products.
- Analyse last year’s results! Segment your databases so that you can design special email promotions to fit the unique buying behaviour of specific customer groups; learn from the buying behaviour trends they display.
- Promotional pricing & Customer Loyalty programmes! Both are well-known customer retention strategies, best exercised through both email and social media campaigns.
- Corporate Social Responsibility! If you endorse a charity, then why not add a feel-good factor to your Christmas campaign? For every £1 you make, you promise to donate x-amount to your chosen charity. When the promotion’s over, it will give you another reason to communicate the good news with audience.
- The perfect opportunity to capture new subscribers! Why not encourage new subscribers to sign up by offering a Christmas present – a first-time discount offer, for example?
- Measure ROI results. Remember to set up goals in your Analytics and create codes for promotions so that you can easily pull the data back out of the sales processing systems. This will put you in a stronger position in 365 shopping days’ time!
Don’t miss out on the “most wonderful” time of the year for retailers! You may want to consider consulting with a digital marketing strategist to make sure your email marketing and social media management plans are being tuned in to where your customers are getting excited – so you can join in the celebrations with a bumper Christmas present.