The holiday season causes a marketing and retail explosion every year, so it’s little wonder that marketers and businesses want to capitalize. In an ever-shifting technological landscape, some brands nonetheless seem to reign supreme. Popular retailers like Victoria’s Secret, Patagonia, Wal-Mart, Bath and Body Works, and so on, remain popular choices for holiday shopping, and it would be foolish to try and compete. Right?
Not so fast. It turns out that larger, well-established companies may not have as much of a stranglehold over the market as is first thought.
Google reports “46% of shoppers bought from a new retailer in the 2017 holiday season.” That means that consumers are turning away from established retailers, slightly, giving smaller retailers a chance to capture market share. But going toe-to-toe with larger companies — particularly if they have a developed online marketplace — requires some thinking and planning ahead.
Here’s how you can pull it off.
1) Handmade? Start Holiday Marketing Early
With the rise of Etsy and social movements that encourage shopping locally, many customers are looking for smaller, handmade retailers to find a one-of-a-kind gift for that special someone. If you’re in the handmade business, start advertising your wares even earlier than big-box retailers. You’ll be able to capture the same thoughtful crowd who wants to get their shopping done early and support local or small businesses. Keep advertising going strong throughout the season — just be sure not to overwork yourself.
2) Meet Your Customers On Mobile
Most customers now are taking an “omnichannel approach” to shopping. That means that they’re relying on their smartphone, their computer, and their television for advice on what to buy. If you don’t have a mobile marketplace where customers can at least peruse your inventory, you’re missing out on a large contingent of shoppers who rely on their smartphones to plan their shopping expeditions.
That said, to generate demand for your products, you’ll want to advertise on social media and PPC as well as optimize your website for mobile browsing. It takes effort, but the payoff can be huge.
3) An Online Marketplace
Do you have the ability to fully integrate your store online? If you do, you’ll be able to catch last minute shoppers. As the holiday season progresses, late shoppers become less and less loyal to their favorite retailers, instead opting for stores that have the fastest shipping options. If you’re up to the task, your business can benefit immensely, but beware of the gifts not being delivered on time. Your customers won’t be happy.
4) Personalized Results
It can take effort to present each shopper with personalized recommendations, but marketing experts can help. Using a combination of tracking cookies, remarketing, organic search results, and paid ads, your customer might end up discovering that a certain product fits them perfectly.
On your shop or website itself, recommendation systems built in Python can help suggest the next big item to keep your customer browsing. This type of marketing can be hard to harness and harder to execute, but if you pull it off, results will exceed your expectations.
5) Don’t Forget Local SEO
Make the most of your retail location, if you have one. Investing in local SEO means that you can attract the crowd who doesn’t trust online ordering (the elderly population, who might also be more affluent). Searches for “shopping near me” have risen by almost 200% in the past year, and many customers turn to their GPS for shopping recommendations or to plan their shopping list. Local SEO can be tricky, but fully optimizing it means you can stand out from other local businesses — or compete with them on equal terms.
6) Is Video Relevant?
Customers turn to media-rich advertising and videos to discover products are right for them. Videos help give customers a sense of a product’s dimensions, features they may have missed, and tangibility that makes the product even more enticing. Try embedding videos in your website, incorporating short clips into your product landing pages, or investing in video ads to draw more eyes to your product. In fact, Google says that over 90% of people have discovered new brands and products via YouTube.
Increased retail success is attainable for businesses, but they have to meet their customers’ needs. With mobile websites and marketplaces, media-rich ads, and personalized recommendations, businesses can capture more customers.
Overwhelmed by mobile marketing? We can help! Moving Targets has been at the forefront of helping small businesses with the technical evolution. Capture more customers and grow your business — contact us today!