Maybe you have noticed that holiday products are already appearing in online catalogs and store shelves. If you have been into Costco, Walmart, Target or other retailers, you may feel compelled to pick up some of the first products of the holiday season as you grab that Halloween candy. Those retailers clearly know something and now is the time to pay attention if you have an online or multi-channel retail business. You could be making extra sales right now by having your holiday promotions ready to launch.
If you think you are too late to the holiday retail game, not to worry. All it takes is some quick thinking and you can roll out some compelling holiday promotions for your audience. Here are some holiday promotion planning tips:
Set a Quantifiable Goal
What do you want to achieve with your holiday promotions? Your first response may be, "more sales." However, it has to be a bit more specific. Think about the revenue and profit margin target for each product that you believe is the most in-demand this season. Also, consider any products that you want to reduce in your inventory before the end of the year. You can also create a holiday promotion to see if you can sell all those items.
With that goal in mind, you will be able to determine the best type of promotion to offer. It may be a coupon, percentage discount, a buy-one-get-one-free special, free shipping, or some other incentive. Just be sure to link the promotion to the goal to maximize the results.
Create a Timeline for Holiday Promotions
List the key dates for your holiday promotions from now through the end of the holiday season. This will help frame when you release your promotions and the messages that accompany them. For example, key dates might include Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, depending on which channels you use.
You may also want to add other dates that are not as familiar. Plan a holiday promotion just after Halloween or one that launches a week prior to Christmas to attract last-minute shoppers.
It helps to create and share a holiday promotions calendar with your team so everyone is on the same page and knows the deadlines for their part of the marketing campaigns. This is an ideal way to make sure you stick to your intended timeline and don't miss any opportunities during the busiest time of the year.
Develop Channel Messaging
Planning a successful holiday promotion goes well beyond a landing page on your website. You must reach out to audience members on every channel, broadcasting what you are offering, loud and clear. To get your message out, consider creating content for an email blast, social media ad, social media posts, gift guide, text message blast, and in-store messaging.
While you should have a consistent message across each campaign that ties it together, you don't necessarily want to duplicate the content across each channel. Use different formats and customize the content to fit that format so that it works effectively for each channel. If you have done this for other campaigns, then use the same formula for the holiday promotions you are offering.
Remember to include an end date for each holiday promotion in a clear way across each channel. By giving your audience a short timeframe in which to take advantage of it, you can help speed purchase decisions. Letting them know there is a limited supply and products are flying off the shelves also influences the impulse buyer that comes out during the holidays.
Test and Assess
One of the most important things to do in the planning process is making sure your existing system can handle the dramatic increase in purchase volume that you are hoping to achieve. That means testing your online store to see how efficiently customers can check out, make a payment, and complete their transactions. Verify that security protocols are working, and assess the overall experience. It's also important to work with all partners to ensure inventory, logistics, shipping, and other parts of the process will run as planned.
Also, you may discover that you will have to ramp up your support staff after assessing last year's holiday promotion experience. Anything that did not work well then should be quickly addressed now before the holiday season is in full swing.
Start Sharing Now!
In-between larger holiday promotional campaigns, have a set of quick tips and short informational advice directed at making your customers’ own holiday planning easier. And, by easier that could be faster, more enjoyable, and on budget. While you may not have all your promotions ready to go, it is still good to start the discussion with your audience so they keep you top of mind. Plus, many holiday shoppers like beginning and finishing their holiday shopping today.