While the final 2023 holiday shopping numbers are still coming in, we know that the season’s start broke records. According to the National Retail Federation, in the Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday time period, the total number of shoppers grew by 17 million from 2021 to 196.7 million. This was a record high from when they started collecting this data in 2017.
If all of these purchases led to a business boost, it’s likely you want to keep those shoppers happy and engaged, so they continue to buy throughout next year. But, how can it be done? Explore these five ideas below to consider for your Q1 game plan.
1. Offer onboarding and support for products
The holidays are a time to treat yourself (or others), and customers are likely to buy luxury goods or items they may be somewhat unfamiliar with during the holidays. Brands can come to customers’ rescue with onsite onboarding support, social media content around how to use their new gift, and email reassurance that they can figure out that new smartwatch.
You’ll be seen as helpful while getting an ongoing opportunity to suggest accessories, complementary products, and gear to help them get the most out of their product. Integrate this service-based content to keep your brand in mind and reduce confusion or even resentment from gift remorse.
2. Retarget for the next phase
All the competitive coupon offers and slashed seasonal prices gave customers opportunities to save big if they looked around long enough. Unfortunately, this meant leaving purchases in carts if they could get a better deal elsewhere. Your customer journey data should tell you who didn’t finish their purchase in 2022, but that’s not where the story ends.
You still have time to tempt them back with email communications around New Year’s deals, 2022 “close-out” promos, and easy sales wins for those undecided, on-the-fence buyers.
3. Give gift cards a boost
What do you get the person who has everything? How about a gift card? Don’t forget about this customer segment who may need help deciding what to spend their plastic on. A recent survey revealed an average of $175 in unspent gift cards, store credit, and vouchers per American shopper just waiting to be used.
What can you do to make it easy to spend? One idea is a gift card spending guide with items that fall into price categories of $25, $50, and other common gift card amounts. Don’t forget that customers also want their cards to cover tax and shipping and handling.
4. Reconsider resolutions
While previous Januarys were marked with inspirational quotes to “get your body back” or “be your best self,” the pandemic has left some shoppers fatigued and in the mood to simply enjoy being with friends and family. New Year’s resolutions are getting a bit of pushback, and it may not be the best move to reinforce stereotypes around the need to hop on a treadmill beginning January 2nd.
Do research into other relevant trends happening in January and use your Google Search Analytics and traffic trends to look for more empowering ways to connect with consumers. Even if you are a health and fitness brand, celebrating in other ways may be better received. Considering that the second highest resolution centered around “happiness,” it may be that people just want to live a little.
5. Give consumers a little space
After the deluge of ads and emails from Black Friday to the last-chance holiday shipping date, people are looking to return to inbox zero. Instead of bombarding people with ads, consider fewer, more impactful, or more targeted messages that show people you understand the holiday overwhelm and that you're there when they need you.
How can you help them declutter their lives? What solutions do you offer to minimize distractions while reminding them you will help when appropriate?
This is also a great time to clean up your email newsletter subscriber lists, which may be full of dead email accounts and shoppers who signed up for sweepstakes or giveaway offers but who aren’t really that loyal to your brand. By removing those “dead” email contacts, you can bring up the open rates of your email, keeping you in the good graces of your email provider and keeping your focus on those who need you most.
Bottom line: This is the first January since the pandemic started that people will be out and about and feeling a bit more like normal. This sudden flurry of activity will skew buying habits in ways past data can’t predict. Be ready to tweak those campaigns once you get current and relevant insights. It’s the best way to make your ad spend work for you in these unprecedented times.