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10 Marketing Ideas to Capitalize on the Holiday Shopping Rush

By Miranda Loshin

Stop cutting your lists and checking them twice — there’s a way to make the holiday shopping rush so much more nice.

The months before Black Friday and everything that follows is easily the most stressful time of year for retail marketing teams. However, there are several steps you can take today to prepare for the flurry of activity and make this holiday season the best yet for your team. 

With that in mind, here are 10 marketing ideas to help your team fully capitalize on the holiday shopping rush:

  1. Target previous holiday shoppers based on when they typically purchase. For instance, reach out to early bird shoppers who bought during November of last year with a gift guide at the very beginning of November. Meanwhile, target shoppers who bought between December 1-10 of last year with “just in time” messaging and go after shoppers who bought in the second half of December with last chance offers and expedited shipping.
  2. Develop gift guides for different types of shoppers. Find common themes among last year’s holiday shoppers (e.g. those who purchased products under $25) and target them with gift guides featuring products that fit into that theme. For example, you might develop a “Stocking Stuffer” guide with lower priced products sorted by best sellers for shoppers who purchased products under $25 last year.
  3. Create a unique experience for gift givers. The holiday season is unique because many of your purchasers during this time aren’t actually your customers — but their loved ones are. Identify and target customers who purchased a gift card during the holiday season last year and target them with gift guides. You should also make it easy for them to purchase another gift card and create a sense of urgency around timing throughout all of your emails to this audience.
  4. Turn one-time holiday buyers into two-time holiday buyers. Find shoppers who made their first purchase from your brand last year during the holiday season but haven’t purchased again since. Many of these shoppers are likely buying gifts for loved ones, so they might need some extra help finding just the right products. To provide that help, you can use a “next best product” recommendation to send personalized ideas based on what they bought last year.
  5. Extend the reach of category-specific promos with predictive audiences. Target customers with a predicted affinity for specific categories to extend your reach beyond past viewers and purchasers without risking customer fatigue or list health. To best target this audience, feature product recommendations based on best sellers in the promoted category.
  6. Preserve margins by targeting customers based on discount affinity. Layer predictive models for category preference and discount affinity to ensure you only show discount messaging and incentives to customers who need them to convert. While this may shrink your audience size, it’s a good approach if you want to avoid a reputation as a discount brand but still need to push older inventory. The best way to accomplish this goal is to include products that have recently dropped in price and sort them by best sellers. If you run a price decrease trigger, you should also exclude any recent recipients of that trigger to avoid sending shoppers duplicate messages.
  7. Maintain list health by going outside of email. Find shoppers with a high predicted lifetime value and high likelihood to unsubscribe and target them on social media instead of email. Although it will cost more, the returns should be worthwhile because these shoppers have a high lifetime value and are at risk of unsubscribing.
  8. Stay persistent during Cyber Week. Cyber Week gets busier every year, so staying persistent with customers who might be overwhelmed by their options is key. One of the best ways to do so is to plan a one-time send on Cyber Tuesday that targets shoppers who carted items on Cyber Monday but didn’t make a purchase. To seal the deal with this group, showcase the products they carted and include a special “Cyber Tuesday” discount offer.
  9. Think past the holiday rush. When December 24 hits, your team will want nothing more than to be done with the holiday rush, but there’s still time to sweep up sales before the end of the year. Specifically, plan for a one-time post-holiday winter clearance email that targets shoppers who viewed but did not purchase products in the past 60 days (depending on when your brand starts promoting holiday, you can always expand on the lookback window to include all holiday browsers). Feature the products they recently browsed and use your email subject line to create a sense of urgency. As a bonus, you can even layer in predicted discount affinity when building this audience.
  10. Prepare as early as possible. No matter what you plan to do for the holiday season, it’s important that you start preparing as early as possible. This preparation includes mapping out campaigns and having any conversations with both internal and external teams that will be involved in your holiday marketing campaigns. The earlier and more often you can communicate with these teams, the better off everyone will be as the holiday shopping rush sets in.

Ready for even more ideas to inspire your holiday marketing campaigns? Check out the holiday edition of our Rethinking Retail Playbook for six plays your team can run to light up sales this holiday season.

Miranda Loshin

Miranda Loshin

Miranda is a member of the Customer Success team and has been with Bluecore for over a year and a half. Her responsibilities include the strategy and execution of digital campaigns across email, paid search and other channels. When Miranda's not obsessing over customer performance she enjoys all things pilates, pasta and Bravo.