SalesTech Star

How Brands Can “Create Comfort” to Make the Online Register Ring This Holiday

By Kathy Bryan, Chief Marketing Officer for Digital Media Solutions (DMS)

The holiday season is here! The familiar jingles are cranking up, and retailers wasted no time kicking off sales and promotions. However, it’s likely to be a different kind of holiday season, after a very different kind of year — one in which consumers, retailers and brands were impacted in a number of unprecedented ways. Amidst the uncertainty of 2020, ecommerce has emerged as the star, and the holidays are likely to be a continuation of what has been a booming year for online shopping.

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Despite the fact that many new shoppers have grown accustomed to online shopping over the last eight months, it is still critical for brands and retailers to ease the friction points for shoppers this holiday season, creating comfort that translates into sales. The 2020 Holiday Season: Consumer Mindsets & The Growth Of Ecommerce, a new ebook from Digital Media Solutions, highlights the ways in which brands and retailers can head into the holiday season with confidence.

“We believe the 2020 holiday season promises to be unlike any other, with opportunities for ecommerce brands stronger than ever before,” said Lily Trevisanut, executive vice president of operations for DMS. “Brands, retailers and ecommerce destinations that align their digital advertising strategies with the evolving needs and mindsets of consumers will reap rewards.”

Shipping, Pickup And Delivery Innovation Should Be A Priority

One of the most effective strategies retailers were able to leverage for consumers this past year was in-store delivery fulfillment, including curbside pick-up and buy online pick-up in store (BOPIS). With some shipping issues anticipated for the holiday season, retailers that can offer quick turnarounds of orders, picked up locally, while also saving consumers from last-minute shipping costs, are likely to hit a sweet spot with those consumers who wait until the last minute or who are still wary of trudging through a mall. For ecommerce brands that aren’t able to offer in-store fulfillment, candor about shipping times and potential supply issues are essential to maintain trust with consumers and encourage repeat sales. This is particularly important, since many people may be buying more, smaller gifts for friends and family they won’t be able to see or visit during the holidays.

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Brands And Retailers Need To Be Ready For Holiday Shoppers Right Now

Shoppers are online and ready to go. Many big ecommerce retailers have already had major sales, and shoppers turned up in record numbers. Retail insiders are predicting that many holiday shoppers will be early birds this year, hoping to get the best deals and wrap up their gift-buying earlier than in prior years. A number of reasons likely influence this early shopping trend, including consumers who are ready for the comfort of holiday traditions after a rough year, an uncertain economy that may mean shoppers want the chance to find the best prices and consumers concerned about the supply or shipping issues previously noted. Frictionless shopping experiences for early shoppers that emphasize savings, buy-one get-one (BOGO) or similarly structured deals, free shipping and delivery guarantees are likely to connect with consumers and could lead to full carts.

Consumers Still Want Magical Holidays Despite An Unusual Holiday Season

Unlike earlier in the year, most stores are now open and many people will still be doing at least some of their shopping in person this holiday season. Those consumers shopping on their feet appreciate digital advertising strategies that work in tandem with both online and brick-and-mortar shopping. For example, location-based promotions, emailed offers that work for either shopping format, QR codes for product comparisons or price shopping and customer profiles can support the desired seamless shopping experiences consumers want this year. Loyalty programs that track combined online and brick-and-mortar shopping histories also resonate with consumers combining their shopping experiences.

Similarly, brands and retailers should not shy away from offering the magical holiday experiences that in-person consumers have come to expect and delivering them both in stores and online through strategies like visual commerce and virtual events. Connecting with consumers through content marketing, like listicles of fun gifts and giving ideas, can also be an effective way to drive brand awareness, engage with relevant content and encourage sales while capturing the nostalgia of holiday catalogs.

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“Brands must show that they understand how consumers are feeling, what they’re hoping for and what they’re missing. Marketers that meaningfully connect with consumers early in the season and offer simple shopping experiences are likely to see repeated business throughout the holiday season,” said Trevisanut. By authentically creating for consumers the same comforts and happy feelings of prior holidays, while recognizing the present emotional demands of their shoppers, brands and retailers will be more likely to find success over the holidays and beyond.

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