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Unwrapping success: The golden rules of holiday retailing
Wed, 6th Dec 2023

In the bustling world of retail, the holiday season is a make-or-break period. Not only are shoppers inundated with choices, but the cost-of-living crunch is making them cut back on non-essential spending. In this challenging environment, omnichannel retailers must find ways to stand out and offer something exceptional. 

This means thinking about ways to make the customers' lives as easy as possible – and acting quickly. With summer only a few weeks away, retailers must start building out their holiday marketing plans before sun-kissed shoppers turn their attention to holiday gifts and festivities. Below, discover the best-in-class holiday marketing tactics curated to help retailers "sleigh" the competition.

Pre-Holiday Preparation

When it comes to prepping for the most wonderful time of year, the sooner, the better. Early holiday marketing planning sets the stage for a smoother, more effective and more profitable holiday season, ensuring retailers are well-prepared to meet the demands and expectations of holiday shoppers. 

Below are a few tips to get started:

1. Loyalty in the "Bank": Consider enabling customers to accumulate their loyalty points throughout the year, with the promise of redeeming them at Christmas. Leading Australian grocer Woolworths does a great job at this with its "Bank for Christmas" option. Programs like this not only incentivise loyalty, but they also ensure you remain top of mind for the big holiday shopping.

2. Membership Incentives: Drive the urgency of the pre-holiday period by encouraging new member sign-ups through enticing rewards, such as money off when downloading your app. Asda in the UK recently introduced a "Christmas Saver Cashpot" with a cash bonus of up to AU$10 for customers who take up the feature.

3. Subscription Delights: Set up a subscription program that allows customers to bank funds every month for holiday spending. Offering exclusive access to gift boxes and key products adds an extra layer of appeal. Liberty London does this well with its Beauty Drop plan, which engages customers throughout the year, priming them to spend big at Christmas with incentives such as early access to their highly coveted beauty advent calendar.

Dazzling During the Holidays

Marketing during the holiday season is crucial for maximising revenue, reaching new customers, building brand loyalty and, importantly, creating a memorable, festive experience that resonates with consumers. It's a time when retailers can harness the collective holiday spirit to boost sales and brand recognition.

Find some inspiration in the clever holiday marketing tactics below:

1. Enhanced Rewards: To further create urgency and excitement, increase the value of points when customers redeem them during key trading periods. This drives the usage of loyalty points and encourages more purchases. Australian retailers can take inspiration from Canada's largest retailer, Loblaws, which incentivises customers to fill their basket and spend their points with laddered bonuses during key shopping periods. This approach actively promotes purchases at specific times.

2. Engagement and Fun: To alleviate holiday stress and make the shopping experience more enjoyable, introduce digital engagement and reward customers with holiday-themed gamification. An in-app advent calendar, like Marks & Spencer developed, is a great way to keep shoppers engaged, driving increases in footfall every day in the lead-up to Christmas.

3. Gamified Quests: Engage customers even further by offering gamified quest campaigns that encourage them to explore and spend more in your store or on your e-commerce platform.

4. Personalised Promotions: Make it easy for customers to choose your store or e-commerce site by offering personalised promotions that align with their preferences and needs during key trading periods.

5. Black Friday Specials: Capitalise on the Black Friday frenzy by running promotions on your loyalty points scheme, making it even easier for customers to access special deals and events. Virgin is a great example of Black Friday deals done right.

Post-Holiday Pizazz

Don't let your holiday marketing plan fizzle post-holidays. Instead, leverage this time to your advantage by listening to your customers and building even stronger relationships in the new year.

1. Customer Feedback: After the holiday rush, gather valuable feedback by asking customers for their reviews. Then, reward them for their input, creating a sense of appreciation and connection.

2. Sustaining Relationships: Keep the holiday spirit alive by continuing to engage with customers. Share the value they've accumulated and suggest ways they can redeem it. Partner with other businesses to offer exclusive partner-funded rewards like innovative grocery retailer Loblaws did with Apple, offering free trials to Apple TV+ for a certain number of loyalty points.

3. Charitable Giving: Extend the goodwill of the season by allowing customers to donate their loyalty points to charity, fostering a sense of community and shared purpose. Woolworths is another exceptional example of this in action. The grocery retailer empowers shoppers to lend a hand to those in need by donating their rewards seamlessly via its Everyday Rewards app.

The "Golden Rules" of Giving

At Eagle Eye, everything we do is governed by the principle of following "The Golden Rule" – treating people as they would like to be treated. This is what our platform AIR enables retailers all over the world to do – treat their customers how they wish to be treated. We believe this is at the very heart of personalisation.

By following the Golden Rules laid out above throughout the holiday shopping season, retailers can turn a potentially stressful time into a season of joy and connection, ensuring both shoppers and businesses enjoy a truly wonderful holiday experience.