So, the 2022 holiday shopping season is over, and hopefully you’ve had a chance to rest and catch your breath. So, what’s next, besides jumping headlong into 2023 holiday season planning?
First, adjust your holiday season mindset. Plan for a marathon, not a sprint. Will the click-inducing headlines in the coming weeks say that holiday sales were “flat” or “down”? Most articles will fail to mention that Amazon held a holiday-esque Prime Day event in early October. Target and many other retailers followed suit in an attempt to siphon off early holiday demand. This is a trend that is guaranteed to continue. What percentage of your holiday sales took place in the month leading up to Halloween? It’s good to know because the holiday season no longer begins on Black Friday, but on October 1st. Be ready.
Second, take some time to assess your omnichannel strategy from top to bottom. Determine what went right and what went wrong, and use that information to refine your channel strategy, marketing mix, and digital roadmap. Here are a few things to consider in no particular order.
Promotion Analysis - Depending on your business, the chances are you ran promotions of some kind across your owned, retail, or marketplace commerce channels. Hopefully, you moved product, but were your promotions profitable? Surprisingly, most promotions are not. Now is a good time to run promotions analysis and determine how you can make promotions work better for you in the coming year.
Site Performance - How did your dot com site(s) hold up to spikes in holiday traffic? If load time increased by even one second, your conversion rate dropped by at least 7%. That’s not including those that for one reason or another abandoned their carts during checkout. If you experienced downtime, it’s likely something is seriously wrong. A site audit or UX audit might be in order to identify any issues that may be impacting performance and growth.
Data Deep Dive - You’ve likely collected terabytes of data over the holidays, but the key is to properly analyze all that incoming data to extract actionable insights. Look for demographic and geographic trends that can be exploited. Identify underserved customer segments that might warrant more marketing attention. Then leverage this first-party data to deliver more relevant, personalized experiences to your customers.
Site Functionality - Is your site experience doing all it can to attract and convert customers? Are you contemplating a larger site migration or going headless due to performance issues? Q1 is the time to get a jump on any significant site improvements. With the earlier, elongated holiday season ahead, it’s imperative to have experience improvements in place and battle tested well in advance of peak selling events.
eRetail - Retail media networks (RMNs) are proliferating. Algorithms across Amazon, Walmart, and other marketplaces are in constant flux. Assess whether your products are receiving the placement necessary to maximize conversion. Determine which media networks offer the most upside for your product mix. Then, ensure you prioritize and optimize spend accordingly. Most brands can’t afford to participate in every RMN, so it’s important to determine which ones will deliver the most volume and margin.
In-Store - If you operate retail locations, one of the top trends we see for 2023 is the continued evolution of the Digital-first store. Something we’re calling “Digical” Commerce. Digital plus physical gives any brand a huge advantage over online-only merchants. Buy-online-pickup-in-store was a huge boost during the pandemic, but that was only the beginning. Look to integrate digital elements into every phase of the in-store experience. This can range from cross-channel loyalty programs to “store modes” for websites and apps to Buy-in-store-ship-to-home. This channel convergence can unlock significant competitive advantage for brands.
B2B Companies - Pure play B2B companies are often spared the mad rush that comes along with the holidays. However, it’s important to maximize revenue across existing customers. Many B2B customers, particularly those in governmental organizations, have “use it or lose it” budgets tied to their fiscal year. Use this to your advantage. Ensure you are tracking per customer spend throughout the year. For those that have fallen short against previous years’ benchmarks, create and run campaigns early in Q4, which are designed to extract any budget surpluses before that spend goes to competitors.
Please reach out to us if you have any questions or want to dive deeper on any of these topics. Here’s to an amazing 2023.