The holidays provide retailers with ample opportunities to change up their marketing techniques. Be it garlands and mistletoe come Christmas or hearts and flowers for Valentine's Day, retailers will deck their shops out with seasonal decorations to capitalize on any Hallmark holiday.
When it comes to planning merchandising campaigns, there's a lot more to consider than simply dressing up your store for the nearest holiday—in fact, retailers who only change their seasonal merchandising for major holidays may fall behind. Here are three retail trends companies should consider to make the most of their seasonal merchandising.
Strategic pop-up shops
The pop-up store phenomenon has proven that there's a place for brick-and-mortar stores alongside your online presence. In fact, many e-commerce sites are setting up small, offline shops with short-term leases, and a common reason customers visit these real-life locations is to purchase seasonal merchandise. Imagine fireworks stands that leap into action shortly before the 4th of July, then close down for the rest of the year. Pop-up stores function more or less the same way, and retailers are capitalizing big-time: pop-up boutiques and lingerie shops are springing up just in time for Valentine's Day to ensure shoppers remember to buy something nice for their significant others.
The pop-up concept can grow into something imaginative that capitalizes on seasonal interest. Pop-up stores in museums or theaters can cater to people's interest in a particular topic, such as with the Captain America stores that set up shop in theaters across the United States for the release of Captain America: Civil War. By remaining mobile and flexible, e-commerce companies can create successful pop-up shops that entice customers with their fashionable appeal and transient nature.
Send customized offers via email
Email is big again, with discounts flying into inboxes daily and consumers checking messages on their smartphones all day everyday. With smartphones revitalizing email, inboxes are once again a successful place for companies to aim coupons, ads, and promotions. Consumers love getting a good bargain, especially around the holidays, and with smartphone users constantly connected to their phones, email is an effective way to ensure potential customers know about all the promotions on offer at your store.
Omnichannel strategies are essential to retailers' customer-first marketing efforts. Using POS analytics, you can tailor your marketing efforts to ensure customers are receiving promotions and advertisements tailored to their preferences, cultural traditions, and spending habits. This way, you can make sure that your loyal customers are receiving seasonal promotions about the holidays that they actually celebrate and based on items that they've expressed interest in. Making your customers feel personally understood goes a long way to building a positive association with your brand.
Take early shoppers into account
It's common knowledge that Internet searches for seasonal merchandise typically surge in the first and fourth quarters around Christmas and the New Year—but it's no longer that simple. In fact, many millennial shoppers don't wait until the last minute to do their shopping, completing their holiday purchases well before the end of November.
Retailers should keep in mind that searches for seasonal items might begin long before the holiday or season in question. As shoppers increasingly purchase presents online or get better at budgeting and planning ahead, retailers should plan their marketing campaigns accordingly. Retailers can test this hypothesis by creating particular in-store sections that sell seasonal products year-round and monitoring if they garner conversions. Similarly, retailers can use customer analytics to figure out the best time of year to send seasonal promotions to early holiday shoppers.
The key to seasonal marketing is remaining flexible—successful companies are able to alter their seasonal merchandising techniques to capitalize on trends while customizing their efforts towards the particular needs and preferences of their customers. With these strategies in mind, companies can make sure that they aren't just celebrating the latest Hallmark holiday, but are developing strategic seasonal merchandising tactics that will truly resonate with their customers.
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