From Valentine’s Day to Halloween: Year‑Round Holiday Marketing
By Mike O'Brien | October 28, 2020
Halloween is now part of “the holidays,” falling in between Prime Day and Cyber Weekend. Because nothing about this year is “as usual,” celebrations will also look very different than they did in years past. Reese’s is deploying robot candy dispensers to facilitate contactless trick-or-treating, while Mars will allow people to dole out virtual candy credits, which can be redeemed for real candy online. However, perhaps because people are craving some sense of normalcy nearly a year into a global pandemic, 58% of consumers still plan to celebrate. It’s easy to sleep on Halloween — but that would be a mistake.
While Halloween isn’t traditionally a gift-giving holiday, consumers plan to spend a collective $8.05 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. The biggest expenses will be candy, decorations and costumes, the latter of which can include literally anything.
Halloween — and other B-list holidays, from Valentine’s Day to Mother’s Day — represents a big opportunity for marketers. Luckily, they can be addressed with many of the same strategies deployed for the holiday holidays. Here’s a refresher:
Personalized Send Time
This is one of the easiest thing marketers can do to make sure their messages get heard loud and clear. Even on secondary holidays, customers will be receiving an increased volume of emails. It won’t be quite as overwhelming as the year-end barrage, but inboxes will still be full.
Personalized send time ensures that your email arrives just when each individual customer is most likely to open it. If a customer never checks their email before their second cup of coffee, why send it at 6 a.m., only to see it get buried? That send time is more suited to folks who read their email early — and that’s exactly what personalized send time will do.
Drive Urgency with Click-and-Collect
As the pandemic kept brick-and-mortar stores closed throughout the country, click-and-collect shopping has exploded in popularity. According to market research firm Ipsos, consumers are buying online, picking up in-store (BOPIS) and using curbside pickup 78% more than they were pre-pandemic. Because click-and-collect eliminates shipping delays, these offerings are a great way to engage last-minute shoppers, like Target does.
“Wisdom of the Crowd” Recommendations
Also known as collaborative filtering, these recommendations often begin, “Customers who bought this item also bought…” These are ubiquitous across ecommerce sites for a reason: They work. Now, take advantage of the holiday themes to update your copy and better reflect your brand’s personality.
In many cases, people will be buying both for themselves and for others. And often, gift-givers aren’t sure exactly what they want to buy. Make it easy for them to browse your site with recommendations for bestsellers, favorites, or most popular designations. Showcase products that do especially well at converting first-time buyers, since gift-giving often pushes people to buy outside their usual categories and brands.
Abandoned Cart Campaigns
Don’t give up just because it may seem like your customer did! Abandoned cart campaigns give marketers a great opportunity to make product recommendations. Maybe the item in the cart isn’t quite perfect, and the shopper is still looking. Help them out with a recommendation presenting another item they can get excited about.
Behavior-based triggered messages represent an opportunity to get more mileage out of communications that they’re already sending. That’s because triggered emails, such as order confirmations and shipping confirmations, have sky-high open rates. While your customers engage with those communications — and with you — use them as an opportunity for cross-selling and discovery. Many brands use the holidays themselves as triggers. With a straightforward subject line, “Halloween styles are not just for October!” H&M gives customers tips on styling their costumes.
Discounts can bring in new customers and do wonders for your top line. Of course, they also can hurt profitability. That’s why not all customers should get the same discount. For each customer, you want to make the offer that will compel them to buy without damaging your financials or your brand’s reputation. Some customers may respond well to trial sizes or gifts with purchase, while others may want free shipping. Offers such as “10% off your purchase of $100 or more” can be effective in boosting purchase value.
Most of these personalization strategies are effective year-round. But if you’re not already employing all of them, these secondary holidays can be a great opportunity to up your game — and to make sure that your customers stay engaged with you, year-round.
2020 Holiday Marketing Playbook
With all that has happened this year, we expect to see a holiday season unlike any other. That said, the time to start testing and building out email and CRM strategies is now. Along with our Retail Advisor, former JustFab VP Monica Deretich, Sailthru has developed this playbook to help retailers crush Q4 and beyond.
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