3 Tips for Retailers to Conquer the 2016 Holiday Season and Beyond


We’re almost halfway through 2016 and the year is starting to take shape. We’ve slimmed down on options in the presidential race, the Blackhawks proved they are, in fact, not invincible in hockey (#chicagobias) and Leo finally received that much-deserved first Oscar. Most importantly we’re about to hit a stretch that everyone in the US can support, summer!

Before you trade in dress shoes for flip flops and business casual attire for swim gear, give your marketing KPIs a once over; the time is right. Halfway through the year means there are still a few months left to adjust your marketing strategies in order to hit those very optimistic revenue projections you were assigned for 2016.

This year retailers are either thriving with the help of digital innovation or struggling with that traditional mall presence. The good news is that retail sales are up 1.3 percent in April and trending above forecast for the year meaning there is still time to adjust course just in time for the big-prize holiday season.  As we know from last year the trend in spending is shifting online during major holidays in 2015, which means retailers need to take charge of the digital wave before they drown in it. It’s no longer as simple as a website refresh. Retailers need to evolve their purchase process in ways that make products accessible, selection plentiful, and the buyer experience unique, quick, and to-the-point. This can be QUITE the daunting task (especially in half of a year)! Good news, we’ve got you covered. We’ve identified Eight Online Retail Strategies to Implement before Q4 and for those who hate reading whitepapers or are short on time I picked 3 of my personal favorite recommendations to move on ASAP. Let’s dig in. 

1. Create ‘easy’ checkout options through integrations with payment services consumers are adopting

Mobile continues to trend upwards and the purchase power of the device relies solely on a retailer’s ability to make the checkout process as easy as possible. According to Comscore, the majority of website activity from mobile comes from browsing and researching (nearly two thirds), with only 19% of this activity leading to a mobile purchase. A quick step for retailers to increase this number and, consequently, mobile conversion rates is to implement one-click checkout which allows for seamless purchasing on the smaller screen. Retailers need to be partnering with services like PayPal, Visa Checkout etc. while also ensuring customers have the ability to set up a profile to store their credit card and thus power the one-click checkout. If you’re missing this option today I’d highly recommend shifting some of that IT budget around to implement this sooner rather than later. 


2. Make your supply chain nimble by guaranteeing delivery within 2-3 days of placing an order

If retailers can alleviate the anxiety associated with long shipping times and help save procrastinators from missing a big holiday, they will effectively increase short-term conversions and reduce long-term attrition. The leaders of retail innovation are pushing the limits on enhancing the shipping experience and speed of delivery, Amazon for example is working on same day delivery to get customers products ASAP. That may be a little much to accomplish in a short timeframe so focus on becoming an upper echelon retailer with free 2 -3 day delivery on all orders.  While the investment may seem like a lot upfront, retailers can recoup some costs by acquiring customers as a part of their other marketing efforts. In order to have customers with smaller orders eligible for the expedited shipping ask them to sign up for email, like/follow a social media outlet or answer a quick survey about your brand/website/purchase process (information is power). 


3. Perform a marketing opportunity diagnosis to create data models for new, seasonal, and best customers

Retailers can perform an in-depth analysis of their ‘best customer’ segment and use data enhancement to learn additional information they do not know today: things like demographic attributes, life stages, attitudes, location, presence of children, and more. Identifying your best customer can prove essential to achieving your business objectives. For example, if you find out that 25% of your brand’s annual revenue comes from 5% of your audience and this 5% is made up mostly of males living on the West Coast who are interested in sports, you can create communications appealing to their lifestyle and incentives that speak directly to it. The upfront analysis will likely take 1-2 months to complete which will leave you with another 2-3 months to get your execution ducks in a row just in time for the big holiday cash prize.   

While there are no silver bullets to a foolproof marketing strategy in the dynamic and competitive retail space, these 3 recommendations will enable your company to simplify the purchase process, assuage consumers’ pre-purchase doubt, and communicate in a more meaningful way. On top of that ALL of these strategies not only apply to 2016, they poise your company for success as the digital purchase power of your customers continues to grow. 

For all EIGHT online retail strategies and how to implement them, download our guide HERE.

Author Bio

Kyle Henderick

As Director of Client Services, Kyle is responsible for helping major clients implement new programs, processes, and data-driven strategies to create campaigns that truly drive revenue. With a passion for technology implementation and a background in database, email, web, and social media marketing, Kyle turns his real-world experience into executable tactics to help clients see an incremental lift in revenue, subscriber engagement, and customer retention. A lover of all things Chicago, when Kyle is not reading up on latest marketing practices or focusing on improving client programs, he can be found enjoying the city’s great restaurants or wearing his heart on his sleeve while rooting for all Chicago-based sports teams. A curious individual willing to try any and every food that does not include raw onions, he is always looking for exciting dining options and new adventures around the city.