According to Deloitte, total holiday retail sales are expected to reach $986 billion in 2014, reflecting a 4.5% increase over last year’s sales. With retailers rolling out marketing programs earlier and earlier in the season, holiday 2014 is already in full swing.
However, it’s not too late for organizations to refine their digital marketing campaigns to make sure that they achieve the best possible results from their email marketing programs during the highly competitive holiday season. What last-minute tweaks make the biggest difference?
Create Email Campaigns to Drive In-Store Sales
Most email marketing campaigns are designed to entice subscribers to open the email, click-through, and convert online. However, during the holiday season, even the most dedicated e-commerce aficionados shop multiple channels. To encourage multi-channel shoppers to not only take advantage of online offers but also in-store events, it’s important to promote in-store events via email. These programs are most effective when retailers segment their email list by zip code and send out messages on flash sales and unique promotions offered in the specific store that’s in closest proximity to the subscriber.
Ensure that Your Branding Is Distinct and Memorable
With subscribers submerged in an omni-channel brand experience, retailers are turning to enriched content to create more meaningful and memorable brand stories and impressions. In a crowded retail environment where customers are fluidly shopping across channels and retailers, it’s critically important to stand out and connect with them to keep them loyal and stay top-of-mind. For instance, publishing gift guides that include important information – things like shipping deadlines, gift wrap services, shopping by price point and more – can be a highly effective tactic.
Design for Mobile
Shoppers are increasingly using their mobile devices to both access email marketing offers and make purchases. During the holiday 2013 shopping season, it’s estimated that in excess of one-fifth of total retail site traffic originated from smartphones – and during the 2014 shopping season, retailers should expect that percentage to steadily rise. This is why it’s vitally important to design emails that are aesthetically pleasing even on the smallest of screens, and retailers need to convert standard email templates to responsive design or other mobile-friendly formats. And – of course – it should be standard practice to test campaigns across mobile devices to ensure that messages are rendering properly.
The good news is that retail sales are expected to rise in 2014, and savvy retailers will be looking to email marketing to maximize their share of the pie. Because email marketing consistently delivers outstanding returns – and because email is such a significant part of consumers’ everyday lives – it’s a powerful vehicle for retailers that leverage the channel to its full advantage. And, to stand out from the crowd, it’s important to perpetually tweak and improve campaigns to achieve the best possible results. The holiday retail season may be well underway, but it’s not too late to make a meaningful difference with respect to the performance of your email marketing campaigns.