‘Tis the Season – Adapting to the Holiday Shopper
Varun GudisevaDecember 18, 2014
Special thanks to EJ Howard and Divya Rajan for contributing to this piece and helping pull together all the statistics.
Agencies love the holiday season. The influx of shoppers translates to generous budgets from retail clients. But, ‘tis better to give than receive. In that spirit, there are some crucial insights for the shopping season that can turn those holiday budgets into gifts that keep on giving – for both the agency and the client.
A tale of two audiences
The holiday season is unique, because a disproportionate volume of sales is driven by atypical audiences. For example, an interesting trend has emerged for a large apparel retailer client. Their core demo are teens and young adults. Perhaps unsurprisingly, over several years we’ve seen that adults 35-54 constitute a disproportionate share of all historic holiday purchases. Xaxis lobbied for a test against this segment, and the early holiday results are impressive: in this year’s pre-Thanksgiving weekend, the “moms” target outperformed the traditional teen/young adult segments by 2x, and delivered a 3:1 ROI during this softer sales period.
Everyone loves holiday treats
… or, in this case, offers. During the holidays, response rates on Xaxis campaigns increase 40% when an offer is used. And remember the best sweetener of all, Free shipping. In a recent study by the e-tailing group, free shipping was the most-cited offer desired by consumers, followed by percentage-based discounts. Look no further than Free Shipping Day: after passing the last day of the year in which to get expedited shipping in time for Christmas, Xaxis sees ecommerce activity plummet on client sites by 54%.
Navigating holiday crowds
Ecommerce peak days like Black Friday can give retailers fits, as consumers get inundated and inventory becomes scarce. Advertising in advance of peak days can address both issues. For example, this Cyber Monday, only 21% of the day’s media-attributed conversions were from users who saw an ad that day. In contrast, more than twice as many Cyber Monday shoppers saw an ad the day before, then returned to the site to buy.
Braving the elements
Digital buyers often underplay the importance of offline sales. Per the National Retail Foundation, only 29% of US consumers plan to do more than half their shopping online. The lion’s share of holiday shopping happens in stores, with key shopping dates like Black Friday and Super Saturday associated with trips to the malls, big box, and neighborhood stores. Flighting media to drive store visits in advance of weekends and critical shopping days is crucial, even for sites with an ecommerce presence.
See what’s selling
Online stores allow retailers to provide a deeper offering than is possible in a mall or outlet. But these “online only” offerings aren’t just a way to increase cart size – they can provide crucial insights on the intended recipients. In 2013, Xaxis identified that the top-selling item from users exposed to our media efforts was super-slim pants. Knowing the types of products users were more apt to buy – and the sizes that were most preferred – was a crucial insight for this year’s media planning, creative messaging and merchandise mix.
The second season
Remember the historic purpose of Boxing Day: a holiday when folks went and bought gifts for themselves after the holiday. For the last week of the year, Xaxis clients see weekly revenues that are 100% higher than non-holiday periods. Targeted post-Christmas buys can help retailers push themselves further into the black by reaching users who didn’t get what they wanted.
This holiday season, make sure to get your clients the gifts they really want – efficient, effective campaigns that drive the highest-value shoppers to their sites!