The 3 Best Holiday Retail Marketing Tips: How to Drive Sales Online, In-Store and After the Holidays

    by Stephen Zorio
    by Stephen Zorio

    While the 2014 holiday season is over, the always-on nature of content marketing means retailers still must provide consistent value to prospects.

    In addition, it’s more important than ever for you to sustain those efforts. A recent trend of sales flatlining after Cyber Monday has turned around as Marketing Land noted in a recent post.

    “After tracking real-time online transactions from more than 100 U.S. online retailers … Custora reports the number of e-commerce orders occurring between December 2 and December 14 were up 16.5 percent compared to last year.”

    That same Custora study also noted that, “Cyber Monday 2014 [was] the biggest day in US online shopping history.”

    by Stephen Zorio
    by Stephen Zorio

    Thus there’s still lots of opportunities in 2015 for you to provide value and drive sales. To that end, we rounded up the three best pieces of advice on getting the most out of your holiday content marketing efforts.

    1) Embrace. Mobile. Now.

    This one is vital. Put simply: If you are in retail, you must formulate a strategy for mobile. The numbers (courtesy of SproutContent, Custora and the National Retail Federation) tell the tale:

    – 87% of the world’s population is using a mobile device

    – Mobile Shopping (e-commerce orders made on mobile phones and tablets) accounted for over a fifth of online shopping on Cyber Monday 2014

    – For the full holiday weekend, Mobile Shopping accounted for 26.4% of orders, up from 19.7% over the same period in 2013

    – Store-based retailers experienced an average of 135 percent year-over-year growth in sales from smartphones, and 86% via tablets

    – Forrester Research predicts most brands will still underinvest in mobile in 2015. That means there is a major opportunity for you to gain an advantage in a market that will only continue to grow.

    This extends to the in-store experience as well. “The store associate side of this is just as important as getting consumers information,” Julie Ask, Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research told the NRF. “If store associates can look up inventory on a mobile device without disappearing for 20 minutes and coming back, it keeps them out on the floor helping customers.”

    Even the buyer’s journey is changing. eMarketer cited a Consumer Electronics Association study that found, “[M]ore than half of shoppers (58%) said they preferred to look up information on their mobile devices while shopping, rather than talk to an in-store employee. This was especially true among shoppers between the ages of 25 and 44 and among men.”

    Strategy tip: Think about the value you can provide customers who utilize mobile devices. Cater to it specifically, don’t just reheat your current approach. In a piece on, Puneet Mehta, CEO and Co-Founder of MobileROI, wrote that retailers must predict intent: “Anticipating consumers’ intent when they open a retailer’s app, come into a store or land on its website can significantly improve the rate of converting visitors into buying customers.”

    (Click here to find out how Rock Content’s social listening tool can help you predict intent.)

    In this National Retail Federation video, the CMOs of La-Z-Boy, Half Price Books and West Marine outlined “how they’ll approach marketing for mobile and social-savvy shoppers.”
    by NRFInternet via YouTube

    2) Solve Problems

    The holiday season brings with it many things, including a variety of challenges for consumers. Think through the potential hassles and stresses your customers might face and offer practical solutions (Google Trends is a good place to start). Sprout Content suggests, “Creating useful guides, seasonal tips, or insider information can attract an audience looking to save time.”

    This infographic by debunks some common in-store to digital shopping myths. by Stephen Zorio
    This infographic by debunks some common in-store to digital shopping myths.
    by Stephen Zorio

    Strategy tip: In addition to providing baseline information, try to solve specific problems by asking how your company can stand out. Is there something specific about your region, weather, product, location, hours of operation, staff or skill-set that might prove valuable, especially in a pinch? Are there certain kinds of questions you field frequently at this time of year?

    Focus on those from this perspective: “Did you know?” Keep the answers short, make the steps clear to follow and present them as numbered lists when you can.

    (Rock Content’s social listening tool can help you spot and solve customer problems — click here to find out how.)

    3) January Matters Too

    “After the holiday season is a perfect time of year to follow up with all the new customers you acquired in December and build a relationship with them for the future,” Barry Moltz, a small business consultant, wrote in OPEN Forum. “Don’t wait until the next holiday season to contact them!”

    Content marketing works best when you are in front of customers multiple times and at multiple stages in their buyer’s journey. As Beth Thomas notes in this Think with Google post: “The holiday season is long (very long, actually). Retail success is no longer confined to the sales for just one day … Ensure that your brand is top of mind for the consumer by being present throughout the research period and at the time of purchase.”

    Strategy tip: Ask yourself: What happens after the purchase? Don’t confine that question to just your product and services either. Can you offer a solution to customers who are experiencing gift regret? Can you solve a problem or provide an alternative solution for customers having issues with purchases or presents? Is there an ancillary product that you provide that’s particularly useful?

    Remember, content marketing is an always-on, iterative process. The more ways you find to provide value, the better you will do.

    (Rock Content can help you understand what customers need with deep, iterative audience profiles — click here to find out how it works)

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    Content writer at Rock Content.

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