It’s that time of year again, folks! Yes, Walgreens has just started putting up their Halloween costumes and aisles of candy (that the EIM office has been ransacking at lunch), but for us marketers the Holidays are Here!! In July, we did a post to help you start planning for holiday optimization and creative ideas. Now we’re going to tell you that if you haven’t started planning for the holidays yet, you are behind! But no fear, we’re going to help you get back on the right path…
First off, I am going to remind you once again how important your website is at this time of year. The 2010 Consumer Shopping Habits Survey by Channel Advisor reports that 58% of consumers are very likely to purchase their holiday gifts online this year, a vast majority over the second runner-up, brick-and-mortar stores, at 41%. The survey also states that consumers are cautiously optimistic entering the 2010 holiday shopping season. Some 43% think the economy is making a comeback.
Where are they starting their shopping searches? You guessed it – Google. Well 86% of them are. 11% are starting with Bing and Yahoo combined, so there are also opportunities outside of the search giant. What is going to capture their attention this year? Free Shipping and Best Prices will be the top purchase influences this year.
Reviews also continue to increase in importance. 92% of those surveyed say they read product reviews when considering purchasing a product. Of the 92%, 46% have been influenced to purchase a product due to the reviews, and 43% have been deterred from purchasing due to negative reviews.
Another thing to watch out for? Consumers are looking for a professional, secure website. It might be too late to redesign a website by now, but adding an SSL certificate like VeriSign or McAfee is crucial if you don’t already have one. If you so, add some fun holiday flair to the site, while keeping it professional and in line with your target customer.
And yes, it finally is the year of the mobile. Consumers will be searching for gift ideas on their phones, 10% will even be making purchases from them. If you don’t have a mobile-friendly website, this is something that you still have time to get completed in time for the season.
If I can leave you with one last tip, have a plan set in place asap. Split it up by pre-, during, and post-holiday messaging and offers. Think of how your consumers will be shopping in October into November – researching for gift ideas and best deals. Give them a nice incentive to Buy Now. Prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday with deals that will stand out from your competitor. Most of purchases come in the few days before the holidays, so make sure you are VISIBLE and where your customers are looking for you! Follow up the season with some post-holiday messaging – if Gift Cards were a major focus of your company, encourage and reward with early redemption.
Stay tuned for more Holiday Tips as those store aisles get cleared for Christmas lights and Menorahs!