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Five data points to help form your holiday marketing strategy

There’s no better time of the year to connect with your customers than the holiday shopping season.

There’s no better time of the year to connect with your customers than the holiday shopping season.

However, with shifting consumer preferences and evolving online habits, we want to help retailers craft a solid holiday marketing strategy for a shopping season unlike any we’ve seen before. We’ve pulled together some key data points that will help ecommerce marketers shape their 2020 cross-channel holiday strategy.

1. 62% of customers would switch retailers for free returns

Source: BigCommerce

Online shopping is expected to bring traditional shipping providers to full capacity this holiday season. While it’s important to plan your packing and shipping so that goods reach consumers in time, it’s also key to provide options for product returns for an overall seamless customer experience. On average, shoppers return 15% to 30% of their online purchases during the holiday season. This is most likely to increase this year as consumers are already anticipating delays in shipping and may want to order alternative gifts in time.

Many retailers consider shipping returns as a loss for their business. However, a smooth return policy can be a tool for customer acquisition and brand loyalty. With almost 38% of consumers ready to refer brands to friends and family, you can be a complete winner by offering a seamless experience throughout the entire customer journey. Sending your customers a feedback email regarding your return process, re-engaging them by offering promotions for their next order, can all lead to building advocates for your brand.

Alternatively, if free returns are not feasible for your business, you can always offer free shipping. You can send them limited-time free shipping orders via email or add free shipping promotional popovers on your website, checkout page, and cart page so that you don’t miss any opportunity to present your offer to your customer.

Last year, Abi and Joseph promoted free returns within their holiday calendar which was available on their website for the duration of the season. The calendar served as a reminder and created urgency for the ongoing promotion.

2. 78% of shoppers use more than 3 channels to shop within a two-day period

Source: Google

A vast majority of holiday season shoppers use multiple channels – such as search, social media, and video – to inform themselves prior to making their purchase. If your strategy still prioritizes one or two traditional ways to connect with consumers, there’s a chance you’re missing a big market.

The most sophisticated retailers are ensuring their marketing strategies are geared towards enabling customers to convert on any channel. This is because people who shop across five or more channels spend almost 2x more than people who shop across only one or two channels.

The key to driving sales during the holiday season is to be omnipresent. If your consumers are not interacting with your ads, try targeting them through email marketing. If they are not interacting with your emails, try sending them an SMS.

With almost 39% of consumers browsing for holiday shopping on social media, there are numerous opportunities for brand awareness this holiday season.

A great example is our Australian customer, St. Frock. The company has been awarded the number 1 brand on Facebook for its social media promotional strategy. The brand’s efforts to build up its social media presence not only rewarded it with brand awareness but also gave it an opportunity to explore a new set of audience.

Old but gold channels like SMS can be a great tool to not only engage with consumers but also inform them about their orders. According to Salesforce Consumer Research from May 2020, 85% of consumers find operational update messages appropriate during the pandemic. Consumers value messages such as order status and pickup instructions, to ensure safety and convenience over the holiday season.


3. 77% of shoppers say getting a special promotion is important to them when deciding which brand to buy from

Source: Think with Google

Brands that heavily focused on marketing and promotions during COVID-19 saw sales increase by 70% year over year. This trend will continue to rise, as many consumers are still feeling the pinch, and the purchases they do make will be driven by the need to fund deals and offers.

With overall sentiment low, value will take precedence. Retailers looking for a successful holiday season need to be flexible and offer products that are most relevant to their consumers, at the right price. Offering discounts is one way to make your product price attractive. However, promotions do not always translate to discounts.

You can either decide to go on sale or offer your consumers a no-discount promotion by maintaining a delicate balance between the holiday cheer emotion and exclusive offers.

Jurlique ran a successful 2019 Christmas campaign, where it offered free Christmas candles over the value of a certain purchase. This translates well to both the promotional as well as emotional aspects of holiday promotion.

Some other non-discount promotional ideas that you can offer are:

  • Offer special seasonal services like gift-wrapping and shipping
  • Offer exclusive VIP products to your regular customers. 52% of consumers will prioritize and shop with brands they have rewards or points with
  • Add urgency with limited time offers by the hour or days
  • Run an exclusive holiday campaign focused on user-generated content. Spend-less shoes ran an Instagram competition last year where customers had the chance to win 12 pairs of shoes with their friends!

The right type of promotion for your brand will depend on your brand value and ethos. To make a more robust decision, understand what has worked best for you in the past, and mix it up with some of our holiday marketing strategy suggestions.

Read our full guide on how to turn holiday shoppers into loyal customers

4. 75% of consumers now prefer to engage with a brand over private messaging versus traditional channels

Source: BigCommerce

According to BigCommerce, more than half of customer service professionals reported dealing with more complex issues in response to COVID-19, with wait times going up across the board. With lockdown measures changing every minute in different parts of the world, access to customer service will increase significantly during the holiday period.

With more consumers shopping from home, retailers should be prepared to handle large volumes of consumer queries via their website.

Installing live chat on your website can help you speed up the redressal process by automating answers to repetitive queries. This will ultimately leave more time for your chat agents to handle complex problems and meet consumer shopping needs. Live chat is the need of the hour and is the closest in-store experience a consumer can get!

Jurlique’s live chat communicates the brand’s commitment to solving customer needs. It’s important to let your customers know about your redressal methods so that they can reach you when they want to.

5. Consumers who engage with product recommendations are 4x more likely to add items to their cart and complete the purchase

Source: Invesp

Product recommendations are critical to increasing sales. Item suggestions account for up to 31 percent of ecommerce revenues.

Keeping these high numbers in mind, it’s a brilliant strategy to include product recommendations on your website especially on your cart and checkout pages, which will drive your sales further.

Try to recommend products that are relevant for the holiday season. This can include a holiday gift bundle or guide, or a separate webpage that includes all the gifts available on your website.

Try to entice them by offering a last-minute checkout deal or triggering an abandoned browse email, if they leave the offer without claiming.

Although this holiday season is unlike any other, online sales are set to soar tremendously. It’s important to reach shoppers with the right message during this important time by taking advantage of advanced analytics and machine learning technologies. With industry solutions like Dotdigital, retailers can drive digital acceleration, engage consumers, and boost their 2020 holiday sales!

Free holiday templates

Don’t forget about our free holiday templates, readily available in your Dotdigital account today! With an array of seasonal templates – from snowy winterscapes to sizzling Christmas barbies – this year you’re spoiled for choice.

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