By Laura Carrier, VP, Vertical Practices, Measurement, MediaMath
It’s the most wonderful time of the year – and the busiest, if your company is in the retail space. With nearly one-third (30 percent) of annual retail sales occurring between Black Friday and Christmas according to NRF, the significance of Black Friday through Cyber Monday weekend, and the December shopping cannot be understated. Here are a few tips to make sure your brand is making the most for the remainder of the holiday / returns season:
Tip 1: Repetitive Reach with the Right Message and Context is Pivotal
During the holidays, a spike in cost of media for both search and display advertising occurs. This often leaves smaller niche retailers unable to compete effectively against larger players with bigger budgets. However, the expanded shopping season – beginning before Thanksgiving and extending to Christmas Eve – coupled with growing consumer preference for the non-traditional niche retailers, provides a new dynamic for companies and brands to embrace. Given these shifting market dynamics, it’s necessary for retailers to engage with consumers much earlier in the season, and continue right up to Christmas. Brands who do not sacrifice right message and right context in favor of repetitive reach will not only win in the holiday season, but also create sustainable brand perception that generates long-term value beyond the holidays and into the new year.
Tip 2: Black Friday isn’t just Friday Anymore – Expand Your Scope
Black Friday sales are no longer confined to a single day. Companies large and small are embracing the promotional spirit, offering record deals beyond Black Friday and Cyber Monday in an effort to edge out the competition. In fact, according to The Wall Street Journal, shoppers spent $27.2 billion between November 1 and November 23, a 4.3 percent increase over last year. Apart from starting sales early, brands and companies are extending their promotions far beyond the Black Friday weekend. Amazon, for example, has been extending its deals leading up to Christmas – and it is by no means the only company to take this step. Catering to more last-minute holiday shoppers is a must if your company hopes to compete. If your company didn’t expanded its definition of “Black Friday sale” to include more time on the front end of the holiday, it’s not too late to do so on the back end.
Tip 3: eCommerce Retailers – Ensure You Have Overnight Shipping on Christmas Eve
With Black Friday sales increasingly extending throughout the months of November and December, winning retailers will be those who have a track record of exciting products, on-time delivery, fair pricing, and free shipping and returns. In light of this, ecommerce retailers must figure out overnight delivery on Saturday, December 24, to compete effectively in the last-minute shopping scramble since Christmas falls on a Sunday. The standard for shipping and delivery has been reset largely by Amazon, with its Prime offering promoting deliveries as soon as same-day. As overnight shipping becomes the widely-accepted norm, having all of the aforementioned capabilities will mean nothing if consumer awareness of this shipping offering is low and stymied by marketing budget constraints.
Although Black Friday and Cyber Monday are behind us, it is not too late for companies to engage with consumers, drawing them in through well-placed promotions and product guarantees. Whether it’s the number of times a message reaches an audience, the expansion of traditional promotional timeframes or the amount of time it takes for consumers to receive their purchases, it’s clear that timing is everything this holiday season.