A Great Holiday Season for Retail Sales but What Comes Next?

As Shopper Attention Shifts, Retailers Put Finishing Touches on Post-Holiday Deals to Entice Consumers

In the final week leading up to Christmas, retailers are still reaping the rewards of a busier-than-usual holiday season with consumers checking those last few items off their gift-buying lists. In fact, earlier this week the National Retail Federation revised its holiday forecast, now projecting a 3.3 percent increase over last year’s figures. And while sales generally slow significantly after Christmas, retailers recognize some of the very unique opportunities post-holiday promotions can bring. 

The closer it gets to Christmas the more likely it is that people are trying to steer clear of the malls. But there’s something about December 26th that makes them more than willing to venture out again. After all the fun and stress leading up to the big day, shoppers are traditionally ready to think about an entirely different set of priorities. Diet, exercise and general ‘recovery’ from holiday indulgences commonly top the list, often paired with feeling like “it’s time to treat myself.”  Perhaps that perfect gift wasn’t under the tree, but several not-so-great presents could be returned and put toward what was really on the wish list.  Retailers rely on after-Christmas sales, gift cards and gift returns to keep shoppers strolling through their doors, and need to make the most of this post-holiday shopping period.

To rise above the hustle and bustle of holiday ads and messages, retailers may choose to take a more personal approach to attract post-holiday shoppers and clear out merchandise. Campaigns using channels like front door marketing can be executed quickly and easily, driving response with a compelling offer that gets consumers to act.  With a start to finish timeframe of as little as two weeks, retailers can have their branded message delivered to the front door of some of their best and most promising customers.                                                                         

What are you doing to get shoppers back into your store after the holiday splurge?

Retailers are Getting Their Piece of the Holiday Pie with Deep Discounts

Black Friday Encourages Retailers to Keep Those Deals Coming

Disappointing retail results for the past several holiday seasons have led to sales and specials that go well beyond the hype that is ‘Black Friday.’ The lines have definitely been blurred with prices slashed throughout the months leading up to Christmas.  This aggressive effort seems to be paying off this year with retail traffic up significantly. 

In fact, recent survey results from the National Retail Federation show that 212 million shoppers visited stores and websites over the four day-long Black Friday weekend, up from 195 million last year. In addition, people spent more, with the average shopper shelling out $365.34, up from last year’s $343.31. And total weekend spending reached an estimated $45.0 billion.  These figures don’t even take into account the 37.2 percent of Americans who planned to begin holiday shopping before Halloween.

To get the attention of today’s consumer, retailers are taking advantage of the myriad channels available to them.  Print, online, television, direct mail – ads are coming at us from every direction.  It’s all good but it can get confusing and many times it’s in one ear, out the other. One under-utilized marketing channel is rising above the noise though, demonstrating significant success for major brands across the country.  These retailers have committed to reaching the right customers with ‘too good to miss’ offers delivered right to the front door. 

The front door is an ideal meeting place – uncluttered, highly visible and primed for action. And today’s front door marketing brings value to a precisely defined audience, with measurable results enabled by technology-based processes.  Certainly, the right message combined with a compelling offer receives more consideration in the comfort of the home where consumers are relaxed, more responsive and making their shopping plans.  It’s a channel that’s working for major retailers around the country. Are you doing all you can to reach your customers to drive holiday traffic with special discounts meant just for them?

For Retailers, Black Friday is Not a Shopping Day but a Shopping Season

Over the past several holiday seasons retailers may have rung in less-than impressive sales but this year they are determined to turn things around.  In fact, the National Retail Federation projects that 138 million shoppers are expected to hit stores Black Friday weekend, representing an increase over 2009 estimates. Further, retailers are making the most of this as a ‘shopping event,’ asking themselves why just a single day of Black Friday deals, when a full season of ‘Black November’ offers may be just what this economy needs…

With most consumers still feeling the crunch of the recent economic downturn, many of us really are eager for a bargain, or two, or many, many more.  People are using credit less, paying cash and looking for discounts wherever possible; many retailers are smart to up the ante with earlier sales and many more deals that are expected to extend right up to Christmas day.  This elongated shopping cycle gives consumers the means to make responsible purchases, with the added bonus of boosting retail profits for Q4.  

Some marketers have initially reasoned that this could dilute the power of the day itself; others see it an opportunity to capitalize on shoppers’ ability to making decisions, shopping lists and even purchases in a much more relaxed, comfortable atmosphere than a single frantic Friday or long pre-holiday weekend.  NRF stats from last year prove that 40 percent of shoppers started holiday shopping before Halloween, much less November.  The trick for retailers is to capture a shopper’s attention early in their holiday gift planning phase, and capitalize on their extended decision-making process.

Front door marketing strategies are uniquely applicable in this environment, delivering a highly targeted brand offer in the uncluttered, private environment of the front door. Brands are reaching their best customers early on the path to purchase and making the most of their ability to evaluate and respond to competitive brand offers.  Offers made here are typically very high-value, with brands recognizing this as a requirement to be invited into a consumer’s home.

If Black Friday is now Black November, don’t you want your best – and perhaps most elusive – customers to have the chance to see, touch and share your offer around the house before the big shopping day arrives?

The Short List: Brands, Marketing to Women, and Loyalty Programs

Our mish-mash list of articles on the web that we find interesting, compelling, and should be on your radar.

  1. According to an Experian study, this year’s holiday season is expected to grow 1% to 2% over last year’s. The holiday and winter shopping season competition is gearing up, with retailers hoping to attract female shoppers with their latest partnerships with private labels. MNG by Mango recently finalized their exclusive deal with JC Penney, Macy’s launched Madonna’s Material Girl collection earlier this month, and Sears still exclusively distributes the junior brand BONGO.
  2. Marketing to women apparently means better packaging, for one thing.
  3. Expect to see an increase in Kroger’s store-branded line of cosmetics and beauty later this year and into 2011.
  4. Do customer loyalty programs give you a competitive edge?  Ninety percent of respondents in the National Restaurant Association’s latest survey think so.
  5. The latest partnership between online and offline media is apparently scented banner ads.