Holiday Home Run – There’s Still Time to Engage and Activate Shoppers

By: Peter Wright, Client Marketing Director, Valassis
Published Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016

Holiday Home Run – There’s Still Time to Engage and Activate Shoppers

We’ve all had this experience planning for the holidays – the clock is ticking, distractions are everywhere and we’re trying to cross off the final items on our long list. Although you may have thought I was referring to snagging that final, impossible gift, what I am really highlighting is the continued challenge of driving customers to your store or website to spend their dollars during the holiday season. 

There are three components to doing this effectively:
1. Send the right invite in the right place
2. Send the right invite at the right time
3. Send the right invite from the right brand

1. Holiday Shopping Messages: Send the Right Invite in the Right Place

During the holiday, everyone is bombarded with advertisements. Messages designed to convince us to do something, to buy somewhere. In fact, on average, consumers were exposed to 362 messages per day back in 2014, according to a study by Media Dynamics, Inc. And that was a normal day in 2014 – not the media frenzy that is holiday 2016.

Given the enormous amount of messaging consumers now receive, it is vitally important for businesses to pick the right path to communicate to their potential customers.

Prosper Insights & Analytics data notes that print is the leading medium for consumers to connect with brands during the holidays:


Source: Prosper Insights & Analytics, Monthly Consumer Survey, November 2015. Base = Adults 18+

While it’s clear that consumers use multiple media to plan their shopping, print and digital are the top places to advertise to encourage your customer to buy.

2. Holiday Media: Send the Right Invite at the Right Time

Although the holiday shopping period continues to move increasingly earlier in the year, it’s still not too late to impact holiday sales as they continue to grow up to (and even after) Christmas and Hanukkah.

According to findings from the Deloitte 2015 Holiday Survey, consumers were still planning to shop well into the holiday season last year:

  • November: 33 percent of consumers do most of their shopping this month and are looking for deals.
      - 67 percent planned to buy items on sale, and 
      - 47 percent planned to use store coupons. 
  • December: Forty-four percent planned to do the majority of their shopping in December and January.

Not surprisingly, eight of the top 10 2015 holiday traffic and sales days occurred in the November and December weeks leading up to Christmas, starting with Black Friday.


Source:  ShopperTrak 2015 Busiest Holiday Shopping Days

And in looking at media spend, the last week of October has traditionally been when advertising dollars begin to increase (since advertiser media spending tends to preempt key time periods in order to influence purchases), and then remain relatively elevated through the end of the year – continuing to influence and engage holiday shoppers.

Q4 2015: Spend by Week (000)


Source: Kantar Media Intelligence, Retail excluding CPG, Food and Auto, Q4 2015

Yes, it is mid-November, but you still have an opportunity to be in the game and secure your share of the sales pie by advertising often throughout the rest of 2016.

3. Be a Trusted Holiday Advertiser: Send the Right Invite From the Right Brand

As a society, we all go out and try new things – often searching for the newest “toy” or cutting-edge gadget.  However, think about the holidays. They are about traditions, family gatherings, a friend’s good (or perhaps bad) eggnog recipe. They are about the things that are familiar and trusted.

It is the same with customers. Although they may shop someplace new for a portion of their holiday purchases, for the most part, shoppers want to frequent a familiar retailer. Just look at the below statistic:

Shoppers are retailer loyal, making 75 percent of holiday purchases at retailers they have shopped before:


Q.  What % of all of your holiday gifts/shopping this year will be at those same locations, and what % will be at new stores/online retailers?  Source: Deloitte 2015 Holiday Survey

So, what does this mean?  If you worry that you may be too “tried and true” to entice a purchase, know that consumers respond to familiarity. If you are newer to the market and have not yet had a chance to become a trusted brand, you still have time to increase consumers’ familiarity with your brand, product or service.

It’s not too late to capture holiday sales with the right message, at the right time, from the right brand – and make your holiday sales shine.