4 Strategies for the Best Holiday Season in a Decade – Inside our Holiday 2017 White Paper

by Scott Macon •

Savvy retailers started planning their holiday strategy months ago. This is a period that generates a significant portion of their annual profits and the stakes are high. The 2017 shopping season is no exception, as a strong economy and rising consumer confidence points to a good year. Consumers are feeling more economically confident and optimistic about their holiday gift budgets.

However, that good news is tempered with a new reality. Over a third (37%) of consumers said they are more practical when it comes to purchases since the last recession. And, 55% of US consumers expect to spend about the same amount on holiday gifts as the year before while 23% said they will spend more, and 23% will spend less. About a third (35%) will start their shopping in October.

To take advantage of the positive 2017 holiday season, retailers must be strategic to capture the attention of the technologically driven consumer. They are connected and shopping across multiple devices, use smart phones in-store and are willing to experiment with new technology. Their expectations of retailers are high and demand a smooth and seamless omni-channel experience. Consumers research items online and shop interchangeably between digital touch points and physical stores. The need to deliver an effortless shopping experience has never been higher for retailers.

In our new whitepaper “Four Essentials to Rock Holiday 2017” in conjunction with Forrester Research, we explore exclusive consumer shopping behaviors & analysis from our Forrester/Bizrate Insights Study (Q3 2017 Retail Holiday Online Flash Survey) conducted in June/July 2017. The study includes Forrester recommendations for retailers looking to maximize their success during the 2017 holiday season.

Continue reading for a summary of the 4 essential strategies to win, retain and empower your customers during this holiday season. To download the full white paper click here.

1) Deliver Flawless Omni-channel Fulfillment: According to our research, 63% of US consumers research gifts online that they then buy in store and 53% research gifts in-store they later buy online. Additionally, holiday shoppers are by nature, procrastinators. They may start shopping early with good intentions, but 61% don’t finish until December – a third go up until December 23rd. This should lead retailers to optimize “buy online, pick up in store” (BOPIS) and “ship to store” services to capture share among last minute shoppers.

2) Align Your Marketing to be Human, Helpful and Handy

Now is the time to work with your media partners to make sure your ad retargeting is not intrusive or “creepy”, and you are not serving ads to people who have already bought your products. Remember, “helping is selling”. Your ads and promotions should help customers discover gift ideas and inspire them to buy. Map content and messaging to the buyer’s journey to move people from discover to purchase. Promotions (ads and social) should be targeted and relevant, and in-store staff should be well armed with information and ideas to help customers buy gifts.

3) Fix Your Consumer Mobile Web and App Shopping Checkout

Retailers tell us that over 60% of their web traffic comes from smart phones and tablets, yet consumers still find that mobile checkout has too many steps, asks for too much data and can be cumbersome in general. It is imperative this process is made easier to capture last minute harried shoppers. There are a few best practices that can optimize your mobile check out experience including streamlining the check out task flow. Eliminate anything that could impede consumer progress.

4) Optimize Your Site Performance for Peak Season

Not only do retailers need to be mobile friendly, they need to be mobile fast too. A good percentage of customers will give up or move on to a competitor if they find your mobile web site slow to load. A first step is to benchmark your performance against last holiday season and make sure you are improving to achieve your 2017 holiday goals. You can speed up performance by turning off dynamic content if your testing shows it slows load time, limit page weight and explore one of the many free page optimization services.

By following these four essentials your website and omni-channel presence will be ready to capitalize on what could be the best holiday buying season of this decade.

Click here to download the white paper and access specific tactics to capture holiday sales revenue.

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