Holiday season is upon us. So the time is now to start gearing up for prime shopping time by getting your online advertising in order. According to eMarketer, 66 percent of U.S. smart-phone owners use their phone to aid in shopping. The growth in iPhone sales should be seen as a growth in consumer expectations for brands to adapt to the mobile environment – not the other way around. We know that mobile is continuing to increase the digital relationship between brand and consumer. Shopping via tablets and smart-phones will continue to increase this season, as 25 percent of holiday shoppers this year are expected to use them to buy gifts, compared to 17 percent in 2011 (they were mostly used to compare prices while in a store).
Many marketers and business owners feel overwhelmed in this ever-changing digital market with the increase in channel and device options. New technologies are coming so quickly these days, it can be hard for a business owner to keep up! Listed below are some insights on a couple of creative digital technologies that you should be tapping into this season to reach your target holiday shoppers.
Quick-response codes are projected to be the standout technology this holiday season. There is such a love-hate relationship with these mobile bar codes. But there is no doubt that the technology will play a large role in holiday shopping this year: Large brands have incorporated QR codes into their holiday initiatives. These QR codes are a way to interact with local mobile consumers in a unique and creative way – to drive sales, customer loyalty and, ultimately, increase revenue.
Here are a couple of QR code creative examples:
- Target will be using mobile bar codes in-store to promote this season’s 20 most popular toys. By using the Target mobile application, consumers can scan the QR codes and buy the items on their mobile devices. This is such a creative use of QR codes (especially for those of us who hate the check-out lines during the holiday shopping season)!!
- Mobile rebates will be another hot implementation this season. Marketers can offer to send consumers money back if they buy a product from their mobile device when they scan their QR code in a print ad. This will encourage the closing of the sale and give incentive to the consumer to buy now.
- A receipt from a Starbucks in Chicago recently came equipped with a QR code to take customers directly to a survey – with a simple scan. This resulted in 1) increased customer feedback and 2) more customers excited to claim a free offer. Feedback is an extremely valuable tool for businesses to harness.
So get creative with your QR code implementation this year, as brands that use QR codes only to take consumers to a home page or a product page will not see significant success with the technology this season.
I urge retailers and brands to get ahead of their target customer’s purchasing decisions this holiday season through social-media marketing. Using social-engagement applications, retailers of all sizes have the potential to drive traffic, increase fan participation and boost sales. It’s obvious that time is of the essence for brands and retailers that want to reach deal-hungry consumers. So now is the time to start rolling out holiday campaigns, including that essential social-media campaign. Here are some quick ideas to get your social-media platform in the holiday mood!
- Design a holiday cover image for your Facebook page. Make sure it has a theme and is consistent across all tabs. Have at least one tab on your pages that has a special offer, free shipping deal or a coupon.
- The “25 deals of Christmas” offer. Present a new photo daily on your Facebook timeline with a text description and a smart URL link to a coupon or place to purchase the item. Tweet about these items daily to all your Twitter followers as well. Reach beyond Facebook to drive back to Facebook – post the images you share on Pinterest, too, and link each back to the tab.
- Run a holiday photo contest on Facebook – maybe one where fans share photos of your product with Santa Claus? The winner could win a shopping spree at your business, or a gift certificate.
Retailers should consider offering their customers special holiday deals. An effective way to do this is through discounts and coupons via their loyal targeted customers on their e-mail list. For example, brands could offer a new deal to customers each day on the lead-up to Christmas, or they could send out coupons for popular items they are stocked up on.
If a customer has ever made a purchase from your website or store, I would recommend that collect their e-mail address (or have at least asked for it). Then send this list of customers a message advertising the new holiday-themed coupons – and click back to their website or social media for additional information.
written by: Courtney Ricks