Amazon’s decision to delay Prime Day extravaganza to October could throw a wrench into retail marketers’ Black Friday/Cyber Monday campaigns, threatening to steer holiday spending away from the traditional Thanksgiving weekend shopping extravaganza.
The Prime Day challenge, plus surveys showing nearly half of U.S. consumers expect to spend less on holiday shopping and a significant share remain skittish about in-store shopping, mean marketers must engage customers more creatively to compete and win in this highly unusual and uncertain holiday season.
Many marketers are counting on a record-breaking holiday season this year to make up for lost time. Make a few core adjustments and adaptations to set your email program up for success during the peak of the holiday shopping season.
1. Anticipate the Prime Day challenge
Coresight research shows one-third of consumers will do their holiday shopping on Amazon Prime Day (which could land in early to mid-October and run as long as a week), while only 15% said they would shop on Black Friday instead.
It’s a problem because Prime Day shoppers might end up with less money to spend on Black Friday/Cyber Monday promotions or have finished most of their holiday spending.
Delivering a better customer experience with advanced personalization and real-time data can help marketers recapture shopper attention by the time Black Friday and Cyber Monday roll around six to eight weeks later. Adopt flexible tactics like:
2. Double down on loyalty
Loyalty programs are rich sources of data that marketers can use to keep members’ eyes focused on their stores and websites with some clever messaging strategies:
3. Stress convenience and safety of local store shopping
Coresight research also shows that consumers are once again avoiding public spaces like shopping centers and malls as COVID-19 cases rise again.
It’s too soon to predict what will happen when the holiday shopping quarter begins on Oct. 1. However, marketers can use email to explain how they keep customers and employees safe in their stores and what services they offer, like curbside pickup and BOPIS (buy online, pickup in store) for time-pressed or cautious customers.
Besides this content – which can also explain mask requirements, sanitation, and store layout changes to reduce time spent online – marketers can use dynamic content modules that contain late-breaking news, such as sudden changes in hours or open locations.
Adding a map or store address of the nearest open location can keep foot traffic going to the right stores and reduce shopper frustration.
4. Get on your customers’ calendars
Whether it’s an in-store VIP event or a major promotion online, an add-to-calendar function lets customers add the date to their phone or desktop calendars and then generates a reminder just before the event happens.
This is a big bonus because the reminder comes from the calendar—appearing on the desktop or the phone lock screen—and keeps the big day from getting blitzed by wall-to-wall Prime Day promotions in the inbox.
5. Keep email content up to date and accurate with real-time inventory data and moment of open technology
An October Prime Day might pull inventory as well as spending forward six to eight weeks. That, along with supply chain disruptions, can lead to shortages and out-of-stocks for Black Friday Week promotions.
Marketers can use dynamic content powered by real-time data to swap out-of-stock promotions for in-stock merchandise, even after sending the email. Moment of open technology refreshes email content automatically whenever the customer opens the message—another way marketers can reduce frustration and increase conversions.
There’s no doubt that 2020 is testing retailers like never before. But marketers who connect with their customers on deeper levels and offer them more than just a deep discount, who reduce barriers and frustration and build trust and reliability will be the ones who come out on top when the world rights itself again. Get actionable inspiration to shape your own email strategy for success through BFCM and beyond in the Liveclicker 2020 Holiday Lookbook.