How You Can (and Should) Redefine the Holiday Shopping Experience This Year

If you’re a little uncomfortable by the idea of kicking off your holiday campaigns before leaves even hit the ground, you’re not the only one. In fact, many researchers point to “Christmas Creep” as a negative.

That said, this year’s retail consumers aren’t waiting for traditional shopping events to score deals on the products they’re looking for. With the holiday shopping season already underway — and Black Friday-worthy sales happening well before the end of November — you need to start building holiday season momentum now to sustain your initiatives over the course of several smaller peaks.

Because the brands putting all their chips into post-Thanksgiving weekend promotions or a single day are going to be sorely disappointed.

So, if you’re looking for last-minute marketing ideas to make the most of shopping events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Boxing Day, here are a few we suggest you start with:

Showcase your best sellers for Singles Day success

While Singles Day has traditionally been off the radar for Western retail brands, the uncertain economic climate and the ever-growing ability to sell online is making this Chinese ecommerce holiday something every brand wants in on in 2021.

Considering Alibaba generated more than $74 billion on Singles Day last year — compared to a combined $25 billion spent in the US on Black Friday and Cyber Monday) — it’s understandable why many retail brands are making their first holiday push into Singles Day audience segments right now.

If you don’t have anything special planned for your November 11 send, a dynamic product recommendation that considers individual buyer preferences and category interests is an easy way to experience massive payoff.

holiday shopping experience

After all, 36% of last year’s Singles Day shoppers went into their search looking for a specific product. So make it easy for your ecommerce browsers to find the items your loyal customers love most — or the ones you’ve specially curated for them!

Redefine the holiday shopping experience by bringing shoppers back in-store on Black Friday

To borrow an overused marketing buzzword, last year’s Black Friday was “unprecedented.” So, what makes this year’s event so different from any other? Retail giants like Walmart, Target, and Best Buy have already decided to close their doors and capitalize on curbside pickup and ecommerce trends that catapulted their online sales last holiday season.

Plus, this year’s shoppers aren’t waiting for November 26 to start searching for deals. Global shipping delays and inventory challenges are forcing consumers and retailers alike to adjust their Black Friday strategies amid uncertainties as to whether products will be delivered soon enough to stock digital shelves on time.

However, for any retailer savvy enough to use holiday promotions for driving in-store traffic during Black Friday, there is tremendous business potential to be had. Especially if you have the courage to try something new — like launching a never-before-seen product that’s only available in-store.

holiday shopping experience

Embedded email videos highlighting new arrivals, complementary product recommendations, unboxing moments, and full-blown product demos all give Black Friday buyers an enticing tease of what’s to come should they choose to visit one of your stores instead of shopping online.

Support local options on Small Business Saturday

While every holiday shopper loves a good deal, Small Business Saturday is all about rewarding and recognizing local stores. And this year, omnichannel options like buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS) and curbside pickup make buying from favorite stores easier, safer, and faster than ever before.

Leading up to November 27, be prepared to adjust your communications approach at a moment’s notice so you don’t leave any potential buyers interested in local, in-store shopping feeling left out in the cold. Tear down traditional boundaries by integrating your ecommerce and in-store environments into a seamless brick-and- click experience.

holiday shopping experience

Or, take a page out of retail’s most effective email marketing playbooks and include special holiday events, hours of operation, in-store promotions, and any other brick-and-mortar benefit in your emails to entice digital buyers to visit your store and engage with multiple marketing channels in a manner that enhances their Small Business Saturday experience.

Add some mystery to your Cyber Monday messaging

As shoppers get a head start on their Cyber Monday search, one effective way to redefine the holiday shopping experience is by giving them something no amount of looking will uncover: mystery and the element of surprise. While thousands of ecommerce brands and online storefronts will compete to deliver customers the best possible price, nothing beats the digital alternative of a gift unwrapping experience.

holiday shopping experience

A click-to-reveal discount or coupon code can be a powerful tool in your Cyber Monday marketing strategy — especially when used early on in the holiday shopping season in combination with in-store promotions that don’t require cut-and-dry language to take advantage of come Cyber Monday.

Make Green Monday all about sustainability to make more green while you redefine the holiday shopping experience

Green Monday is the biggest online shopping day in December. And this year, It falls on December 13 — when shoppers realize they only have a handful of shipping days left before Christmas. Whether your company has just started exploring environmental practices or sustainability has been a main principle of your organization for years, Green Monday is a great way to share how much your brand cares about things bigger than sales during the holiday season.

There’s no denying that sustainability in business is more important than ever. Promoting social responsibility and environmental practices not only allows your organization to better the world for the future and successfully redefine the holiday shopping experience, but it also helps your brand connect with new and younger audiences. After all, 73% of millennial shoppers are willing to pay more for sustainably-produced goods.

holiday shopping experience

At a time when customer inboxes are filled to the brim with pushy holiday sales promotions and one-size-fits-all messaging, an email simply stating your brand’s most important values can go a long way toward fostering engagement and future loyalty.

Elevate your post-purchase experience in time for Boxing Day

For many retailers, the holiday season is all about revenue and driving new sales. But anybody can make a sale when millions of shoppers are searching for last-minute gift ideas. So, redefine the holiday shopping experience by making this year’s campaigns all about creating lifetime customers.

And the quickest, easiest way to do that? Deliver an unforgettable post-purchase experience. Especially before Boxing Day on December 26, when Canadian, UK, and other like-minded Commonwealth shoppers will need to return millions of products that missed the mark this year.

By giving your customers a painless, easy-to-use return or refund process to alleviate the stress of post-holiday purchasing, you keep buyers happy — and, more importantly, loyal. Considering it can cost up to five times more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one, a Q4 investment in your post-purchase experience can pay off big-time for Boxing Day 2021.

holiday shopping experience

Give your email subscribers the best of both worlds by including personalized product recommendations, favorite brick-and-mortar store location information, and more in the same message someone manages their one-click return or refund process from to maximize buyer satisfaction — not to mention your ability to recapture as much lost revenue as possible —  this holiday season.