‘Tis the season for shopping and marketing campaigns galore!

The holiday season is here, aka the busiest time of the year for retail and ad spending. If your brand is looking to capitalize on this joyous time for shopping (should be all brands), then we’ve got a gift for marketers—holiday marketing trends for a successful holiday season. 

Research shows retail spending will increase by 4.5% to $1.3 TRILLION for this year’s holiday season, with e-commerce spending accounting for around 20% of sales.

Online and in-store retailers can take advantage of the holiday season retail jackpot by understanding and incorporating the latest marketing trends into their holiday marketing strategy.

Below are four-holiday marketing trends that every marketer should know for 2023.

Holiday shopping is beginning earlier than ever.

It may seem like marketing research shows that holiday shopping starts earlier and earlier every year, but it’s true. In 2022, holiday consumer spending began before the typical November and December periods. 

Recently, principal retail brands have introduced Black Friday and Cyber Monday marketing campaigns in October and have continued offering holiday sales and promotions through the EOY or the New Year. 

According to holiday consumer research conducted by Google, holiday shoppers had an average of 21% of their holiday shopping completed by mid-October. 

Since shoppers are done by the middle of October, it’s suffice to say that a fair amount of consumers like researching for and comparing products and purchasing before the mad holiday rush that typically begins with Black Friday. 

The buyer’s journey begins earlier, which means consumers are willing to purchase from brands they have not bought from in the past or new brands. This is excellent news for any brand because it allows businesses to target promotional content to potential consumers researching your products.  

As early holiday shopping and promotional spending become the norm, brands must meet consumers’ expectations. In this case, it means producing holiday marketing campaigns and promoting holiday sales early so brands can increase brand revenue and consumer loyalty.

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Customers are excited about in-store shopping.

The COVID-19 pandemic popularized online shopping, but 2023 is the year of in-store shopping. 

Consumers are ready and willing to return to in-person shopping, so retailers should expect more foot traffic and must tailor their holiday marketing strategies to include in-store promotional content. 

During the 2022 holiday season, brick-and-mortar holiday spending reached $1 TRILLION for the first time, making a 3.9% gain from 2021. The most significant holiday consumer trend occurred on Black Friday—73 million people went in-person shopping on Black Friday last year. 

Brick-and-mortar shopping is gaining popularity again, and advertisers and marketers should know the importance of this trend as brands need to make an effort to develop holiday campaigns for in-store shopping, especially after spending the last few years concentrating heavily on e-commerce. 

But how do brands create holiday campaigns promoting e-commerce and in-store shopping? 

Cue the omnichannel strategy—brands that want to capitalize on both online and in-store shopping should incorporate omnichannel marketing strategies because this helps to streamline their online and office channels. 

Another great strategy that brands should implement this holiday season is providing consumers a variety of order and pickup options—like Buy Online, Pickup in Store (BOPIS), Buy Online, Return in Store (BORIS), and Reserve Online, Pickup in Store (ROPIS). 

All these different options make for a more effortless and fluid shopping experience, as well as helping to blend online and in-store shopping further.

Economic uncertainty may deter consumers from holiday overspending.

Although consumers plan to shop this holiday season, the economy is expected to hinder consumers from overspending. 

Even as inflation decreases year after year, holiday consumers will better budget themselves during the upcoming holiday season. According to a survey conducted by CNBC, 71% of retailers surveyed were concerned that consumers would cut back on holiday spending due to inflation.

With concerns about consumer spending, significant retailers are ordering less inventory this holiday season. Another potential economic issue plaguing businesses is that Wall Street predicts a recession to hit the United States as early as the start of the holiday season (November) or sometime in the next 12 months. 

These uncertain economic times have brands pivoting to promotional items. As consumers prioritize saving money this holiday season, marketers should know that promoting sales, discounts, and gift sets this year will significantly benefit their brand’s ROI and increase consumer loyalty.

Allow for a more straightforward return policy to build brand loyalty.

Let’s discuss the post-buying customer experience, which is just as crucial as the pre-buying and actual buying customer experience. 

As brands continue to build brand loyalty with consumers, a more straightforward return policy is a great strategy to incorporate this holiday season. 

Although it may seem contradictory that implementing a simple return policy results in consumer loyalty—this is true because making returns easier for consumers shows them you care about the customer experience. 

The holiday season usually translates to more sales for brands, but that also means the likelihood of more returns. According to consumer research, at least 10% of online orders were returned weekly during the holiday season. 

Brands are not excited about purchase returns, but it does happen, and brands need to be prepared for a higher return rate during the holiday season.

Delivery conglomerate FedEx conducted a post-holiday survey in which 98% of consumers said that fast and convenient returns would make them more likely to order again. When building your holiday marketing strategy, include the post-buying customer experience, as this will help drive consumer and brand loyalty. 

Marketers and brands cannot precisely predict the 2023 holiday season’s outcome. Still, they can better prepare for any circumstance with holiday campaigns promoting online and in-store holiday shopping. Also, brands can tailor their campaigns around the customer experience because this will boost brand engagement, foot traffic, and purchase intent. 

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