10 Digital Ways for Retailers to Maximise on the Festive Season

Katie Moore
Nov 22, 2017
Digital Content

With Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Christmas and not to mention the Boxing Day sales just around the corner, brands and retailers are beginning to turn their attention (if they haven’t already) to these shopping peaks. Digital optimisation is imperative this festive season. Read on to find out tips on how retailers can make the most of the busy shopping season ahead. 

Consumer spending over the Black Friday weekend is due to increase by 47% in 2017, so it’s to no surprise that 1 in 3 retailers are dedicating 31-50% of their total marketing budget for their entire year during these busy holiday periods. Interestingly, Cyber Monday is growing in popularity with it being bigger than Black Friday in 2016 – which is a big one to watch for retailers this weekend. In fact, research suggests retailers are planning on extending their Cyber weekend deals over a two-week promotional period, giving more chance for retailers to gain traction and increase sales. 

Courtney Wylie, VP of Product and Marketing at Mention Me has conducted research which backs this trend in the UK saying: “Black Friday is obviously a very big deal for UK retailers and shoppers, with many holding off making major purchases or starting their Christmas shopping until the Black Friday sales. Mention Me saw a 350% increase in shopping on Black Friday 2016 compared to in 2015, and we’re prepared for another big increase this year.”

So how can retailers ensure they are making the most out of these highly lucrative days on digital channels?

1. Know your most engaged digital channels

If your brand is like many other retailers, then you’ll be on a host of different digital channels from PPC, social media, email to organic search. So where do you focus your attention during this peak season?

Whilst, of course, it’s crucial to have consistent messaging going out on any active channel, what is important is for you to target those channels where you’ll see the best ROI. Look at the data to understand where your most engaged audience is and what type of content they love the most. Then aim to target them with similar content and messaging that will assist conversions and push up those sales at this key time of the year. The answer really does all lie in the data.

Understanding your most engaged digital channels

2. Don’t make any drastic changes to existing channels

We’re already at the end of November and with Black Friday about to hit us, you simply shouldn’t be making any drastic changes at this stage. Many clients do come to us at their peak times asking for migrations or big website changes. Our recommendation is always to do the website work outside of your peak time, to allow you to capitalise from the higher conversion period. Once your downtime hits, then we can start the work ready for your next peak in the year.

Should you want to get your agency or internal staff started on a project earlier then look to get the initial research done during the peak, which won’t affect your website performance. For example, considering getting things such as technical audits, keyword research and initial strategies in place so you can hit the ground running in on-site optimisations as soon as your peak period ends. This way you can ensure you won’t mess anything up during peak and you can concentrate instead on selling your products!

3. Ensure your online shopping is mobile-first

During this year’s shopping frenzy, we are expecting to see the continued trend of consumer’s purchasing on their mobile devices (otherwise being referred to as m-commerce). As we know there is a clear trend of younger audiences using mobile. However, even if you are targeting an older audience, you’ll need to be adapting to this mobile-first way of working as the same pattern is seen to be increasing amongst the 55-65 year range. If it’s not a priority now, make it yours going into 2018.

Mobile shopping optimisation

4. Think about your audience’s micro-moments

As a retailer, you should be tapping into your audience’s micro-moments throughout the day. Research suggests there are vastly different types of behaviours from:

  • The well-researched customer: who will research a range of topics, no matter what they are shopping for or the price point. Think about how your content persuades them to purchase ticking all the boxes from education, comparison through to social proofing through the likes of reviews and testimonials.
  • The right here customer: who are all about the local relevance. Consider how you can be visible to your customers within their areas. After all two thirds of smartphone users are now more likely to purchase from retailers who offer information relevant to their location.
  • The right now customer: who are people who want instantaneous decisions and actions. For retailers, it’s important to consider how you can offer same day shipping to tap into this new behaviour of customers going online and wanting their products right away.

So, no matter where your audience are, from their daily commute, at work to chilling on the sofa, you as a retailer need to be there to react to those in the moment searches. This is where your content comes in to ensure you have an output that matches that of your audience’s behaviours and interests in order to guide them through the purchase funnel.

5. Don’t forget to maximise the use of your social media

We know that Google is fond of social signals, which helps towards the ranking of your content or landing pages. Ensuring you’re creating buzz on your social channels will do your website some favours and increase the positive mentions around your brand. This is so important when considering the digital landscape.

Not only that, social media is now a huge touch-point in your audience’s shopping journey and shouldn’t be left until last minute. It’s a place where you as a retailer can converse directly with your customers without having to do the hard sell. Interestingly for retailers, we see 3 in 10 online shoppers following brands on social channels during the consideration phase before they will jump in and purchase. So, being active on social will help convince your customers that you are the right brand for them and push to convert customers to purchase.

A social media trend to jump on in 2018…

Live video really adds that element of transparency to any retailer. The customer can see exactly what’s going on behind the brands visually pleasing marketing wall. Think about how you as a retailer can properly begin to talk to your audience to bring that humanised element that will attract many customers.

Brands are doing this on various channels but becoming increasingly popular through Instagram Stories. For example, TI&SHRT will be utilising this technique to really maximise organic growth, reach and engagement this festive season. Sanjay Bowry from this new retailer says; “on Instagram focusing on engagement is one of the main factors that can increase your reach. Think about asking your customers questions, involve them in your Instagram stories and be posting regularly 3-4 times a day.”

Social media optimisation and paid social media

6. Consider tactical paid social media

Look at how you can use paid social media at these key times of the year to drive conversions. Many retailers have been seen to increase their social media spends at this time of the year by 33% to ensure they can drive the reach to wider yet targeted audiences.

Through offering some incentive, you’ll be able to tap into their drive to purchase immediately online and up your sales. Alternatively, when particular posts are doing well you could boost them to reach wider, targeted audiences.

7. Launch a competition to drive increased traction

To drive engagement, new customers or simply to entertain your existing customer base, you can run a competition. This will help you to cut through the noise and ensure your brand gets noticed.

Top Tip: Before jumping into it, think about what you want to get out of the competition as this will largely dictate the mechanic you use.

8. Have your gift guide at the ready

Get your gift guides and relevant high-quality content ready, as you’ll want to ensure you’re enticing customers in with your best products online. Not only that but you could also look to reach out to bloggers or publishers in your industry to see if they are able to feature you in their gift guides. This will draw targeted traffic to your website alongside increased brand awareness.

9. Delivery information and regular reminder messages

Give your customers the heads up on delivery at this busy time of the year. With Royal Mail super busy, you’ll need to ensure you are able to get the product to them in time. A customer not receiving their products in time could cause some bad reviews. These negative reviews can be difficult to dispel, particularly for a new retailer. So, plan, prepare and get organised for what will be a busy yet very exciting season ahead.

Delivery information and reminder

10. Use the data to push increased sales in
the run-up to Christmas

Following on your successes from Black Friday and Cyber weekend, it’s wise for you to analyse at this stage what has worked in terms of pushing conversions. By looking at the different routes taken between new and existing customer segments, for example, we can begin to strengthen our marketing efforts to target content more related to their purchase journey.

One way to do this is through a referral scheme similar to Mention Me. Having chatted with Courtney Wylie from the platform, she is confident that retailers are no longer seeing these peak days as a one-hit wonder. Instead, through relevant tools, they can capitalise on it.

Going on Courtney says; “By including a refer-a-friend call to action in their online checkout, retailers build in an opportunity for Black Friday customers to share their brand with a friend. In the weeks following Black Friday the referral offer provides stimulus for the new and existing customer to purchase again – usually within a few weeks. Our transactions volume data support that story; 14 out of our 20 busiest days occur in the month of November”.

Whatever you’ve got planned this festive season, we wish you the best of luck with your marketing efforts! Should you need any support with your digital marketing please do get in touch. We can chat through how we can get your brand performing during peak, festive seasons in the coming year.



This post was compiled by:

Katie Moore is Content Manager at iThinkMedia, heading up the content department. She specialises in creating optimised content and outreach strategies that work for your business and marketing objectives. With 5+ years experience in this field, she’s ran many successful campaigns across fashion, tech, automotive and retail sectors.

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