We know what you’re thinking.

Please! I’ve barely warmed up! I can’t be thinking about Christmas!

True, the year is barely six months old and, while we don’t want to hasten its departure any more than the next full-service marketing firm, it’s time to start thinking about your holiday marketing campaign—or, at the very least, take a look at what happened during the last one.

This week, Facebook released a study of holiday shopping trends from 2017 that showed good news for businesses and digital marketers alike. The study showed that, despite the growth of mobile or web-based shopping, a large part of holiday shopping still happened in stores. The study also showed an increased reliance on internet to make their shopping faster, cheaper and more convenient.

Here’s how they used it:

  • Deciding what to buy and where to shop: Before heading into a store, people used their phones to browse and research what to buy, then to look up store locations.
  • Comparison shopping: customers looked up deals and compared prices
  • Sought advice: shoppers asked friends and family what to buy or where to go
  • Skipped lines: a large number of consumers ordered their goods online and picked them up in the stores.

What that means for business owners and marketers is that people still enjoy the entire holiday shopping experience—even though many of us complain about the crowds and the traffic. There’s just something about being out among the sea of good-natured humanity, among the holiday decorations and uplifting music.

It also means when planning your holiday campaigns, you should think mobile-first. According to the study, nearly 40 percent of consumers identified new stores using mobile applications last year. Be sure to meet them outside the door, so to speak, when they’re deciding where to go.

Use mobile-friendly promotions to drive foot traffic in through your doors. This easy to do, using a time-honored tradition of offering a special gift or additional discount for customers who say they found you on Facebook or through your Google Adwords links.

Also, be prepared to answer questions. About a third of consumers will send a quick question via messenger or twitter before heading to a location and they’re much more likely to visit if you respond—particularly if you respond quickly in an engaging way.

In order to have a successful holiday season, you need to understand how people are using their mobile devices and plan accordingly. That way you’ll be ready, long before the first snowflake flies!

How early do you plan for the holidays? Let us know in the comments!

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