Holiday Season Marketing Strategy
Some of the case studies of major U.S. retailers who have launched specific initiatives to attract customers to their stores during the holiday season involved Walmart, Target, and Best Buy. Some of the best practices that these retailers apply to get shoppers to buy at their physical locations include providing sneak previews of their holiday offerings and decorating their stores to make shoppers feel the holiday shopping spirit.
Brick-and-Mortar Stores' Holiday Campaigns: Case Studies
Walmart, Target, and Best Buy: Case Studies
- Walmart and Target defied the trend of a calmer black Friday in 2019. The two stores experienced solid "in-store foot traffic" even if shoppers are now mostly visiting online stores to buy products.
- The two companies were considered as major ones since they are part of the Fortune 500 list.
- The two stores were also able to get more people to shop in their brick-and-mortar stores compared to the industry average.
- People went for electronic products and toys in these stores. TVs accounted for the bulk of electronic products that the shoppers mostly bought.
- Walmart, Target, and Best Buy were seen by analysts as the ones that were best positioned to catch those customers before they transfer to online channels.
- Best Buy is also a major company as it is part of the Fortune 500 list.
- The success of these three retailers during the holidays was attributed to their massive product assortments which gave the consumers more options.
- Their enticing deals also sweetened the pot for customers who wanted to save more during the holidays.
- The stores' "strong omnichannel capabilities" also helped them gain more customers from various channels who eventually found their way into their brick-and-mortar stores.
- As an example, Walmart's strategy is to ensure that convenience starts at its physical stores. The company then complemented this with technology-powered solutions to make it easier for consumers to shop at both its brick-and-mortar stores and on its online e-commerce site.
- Walmart and Target also employed the "buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) orders" that also drove traffic to their brick-and-mortar stores. They have invested heavily in this option.
- According to analysts, the strategic use of BOPIS can technically lengthen the holiday shopping window by almost a week.
- The BOPIS option is also seen as a solution to satisfy the consumers' need for instant gratification.
- Target also set up a karaoke section in some of its stores to set the shopping mood with some music.
Lululemon Case Study
- Another brick and mortar store who found success during the holiday season rush is Lululemon.
- Lululemon’s recent revenue is $3.29 billion.
- Lululemon increased its inventory by 70% since last year. It also added a large number of clearance racks in its stores to generate more interest from customers.
- Lululemon's marketing initiatives were seen as more strategic during the Black Friday holiday in 2019.
- According to an analyst, she saw an unprecedented number of crowds in the company's store during the 2019 Black Friday holiday sale.
Nordstrom Case Study
- The Nordstrom store, a Fortune 500 company also won big during last year's Black Friday holiday sale.
- The store also relied on its special deals to up its game and make its merchandise more appealing to consumers.
- The store also provided a wider array of products on its stores to provide more options for its shoppers.
- Nordstrom also launched a new pop-up campaign called "Happiness Is" prior to the Thanksgiving holidays.
- The pop-up concept allows consumers to stumble upon unique gifts in certain portions of the store.
- For these brick-and-mortar retailers, they also made additional measures in 2019 to make up for the shortest Black Friday and Christmas holiday season that year since 2013.
- These stores started their marketing campaigns in the first few days of November.
- Some of these retailers even started earlier in October.
- They also made an unprecedented move of opening their stores on Thanksgiving.
- Their brick-and-mortar stores were also kept operating for 24 hours during the weekend prior to Christmas.
Holiday Marketing Best Practices for Brick-and-Mortar Stores
Improving Physical Store Experiences
- The brick-and-mortar point of sale is still the most comfortable option for shoppers. Using their hands and eyes to evaluate the actual product is known to be a crucial part of the purchasing experience.
- As most of their shopping trips were done during the holidays, these consumers are anticipating higher levels of shopping experiences.
- Retail stores are then urged to ensure that they provide their shoppers with a well-thought-out retail experience during the holidays. This can help these shoppers to fully enjoy their time at these stores and entice them to spend more.
- Based on a survey of 11,000 customers, these shoppers mentioned that the ambiance and the retail experience inside the stores are their primary motivators for shopping in brick-and-mortar stores instead of on online channels.
- Visits to brick-and-mortar stores are also known to give people a sense of instant gratification. They can immediately get hold of their items after paying for them at the cashier instead of waiting for the items to arrive when purchased via online channels.
- Consumers are also known to consider a trip to a physical store as an outing or an event.
- By providing more fulfilling experiences in their physical stores during the holidays, retailers can engage more deeply with shoppers and motivate them to purchase more in these stores.
- Having an enjoyable experience inside physical stores can also enable shoppers to form bonds with these stores. This can then help drive loyalty and return business.
- Establishing an environment that emanates positive vibes instead of the typical holiday rush madness feeling can motivate shoppers to buy more.
- Some of the retail stores that are applying this best practice include Target.
- The retailer has made large investments to make its physical stores more attractive during the holiday season.
Applying Innovative Technologies inside Physical Stores
- Another recommendation for brick-and-mortar retailers during the holiday season is to improve the digital experience of their shoppers while inside their physical stores.
- As digital channels evolved to become an essential part of the buying journey, more retailers were seen to integrate technologies that can provide a more speedy and convenient shopping experience.
- Retailers like Sam's Club are now installing various advanced technologies in their physical locations.
- Sam’s Club’s latest revenue is $59 billion.
- Some of the innovations that they are installing at their facilities include a mobile scan-and-go and an enhanced app that can help consumers navigate their way through the store aisles to find products.
Localized "Drive-to-Store" Approach
- It has been observed that shopping in physical locations is still an important channel for retailers to reach their holiday sales goals.
- However, old marketing strategies that were previously applied in these physical stores may not be effective anymore this season.
- Installing spaces that are more enticing and convenient can still help drive more shoppers to physical stores.
- However, retailers will still need to convince shoppers to step inside their stores first.
- To be effective in actually driving people to get inside stores and buy products, retailers will need to formulate a successful "drive-to-store" approach that will actually increase foot traffic and sales figures in these physical stores.
- In lieu of launching country-wide holiday campaigns, retailers should try to deploy more "localized and relevant" mobile advertisements that can entice consumers to actually set their foot inside the closest physical stores.
- The call-to-actions from these campaigns should also be direct and easy-to-understand.
- Advertisements that can easily be integrated into the user's mobile phone feed and have direct links to a GPS app's map will be a great way to actually lead the users to the closest physical store.
- The Burberry retail store in New York provides a link to a GPS-enabled map in its mobile advertisements to get more people to visit its closest store.
- Burberry earned around £2.72 billion ($3.52 billion) last year.
Sneak Peeks into Holiday Offerings
- Obtaining insider news on the latest holiday designs, styles or trends is known to greatly excite customers. Retailers should then provide advanced peeks and let their shoppers access preview sales to display upcoming products.
- This will also give a chance to new and returning customers to imagine themselves donning or using the new merchandise.
- Retailers can also utilize "geo-fence re-targeting" to reach those who previously shopped at a retailer's store or in their competitor's shop.
- Retailers can also drive more shoppers to their stores by letting them have a sneak peek of holiday coupons or limited-time discounts.
- As an example, Target allowed their most loyal shoppers to have a sneak peek of their Black Friday exclusives.
- They also offered exclusive seasonal deals on in-demand holiday products such as TVs and apparel.
- Best Buy also invites its loyalty card members to "early access sales events" as part of its Black Friday marketing strategy.
Fortify the Frontline
- Frontline employees in physical stores are typically the only touchpoint that shoppers may have with a retailer.
- As part of the holiday rush, shoppers will typically make a beeline for the physical stores as they were usually enticed by holiday-inspired decors, personalized deals, and engaging experiences.
- During these times, these frontline employees are more essential than ever.
- Retailers should then invest in the on-boarding process of these employees to ensure that they are well-trained to interact effectively with customers.
- Well-trained employees are more inclined to provide superior customer service.
- As an example, Target spent around $50 million in payroll in 2019. This is greater than the retailer's 2018 allotment.
- The increase in amount is to make sure that the company has sufficient number of employees to interact with their customers especially during peak holiday seasons.
Build More Followers on Multiple Channels
- As competition heats up for the holidays, retailers are advised to ensure that their offerings are viewable online and on social media platforms.
- Retailers can also launch apps to ensure that their offerings can be viewed on mobile platforms.
- They also need to run promotions and post interesting content on popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat to gain more followers.
- They can also work on launching email campaigns to gain more subscribers.
- Holiday deals and exclusives can then be regularly sent to those subscribers who opted in.
- Through these channels, retailers can also work on convincing their followers to visit their nearby physical stores.
- Companies that applied this best practice include Lululemon. The company sent a massive number of emails to promote its holiday sales events that are happening in its physical stores.
To obtain case studies of major U.S. retailers who have launched specific initiatives to attract customers to their stores during the holiday season, we looked through various articles and reports from major retailers such as Walmart. We also search for these case studies in marketing-related articles from media sites such as the New York Times. We also looked through relevant articles from marketing-oriented sites such as Adweek. Based on the reports found, we were able to compile case studies of major U.S. retailers who have launched specific initiatives to drive customers to their stores during the holidays. We also made sure that we focus only on major retailers such as those that were part of the Fortune 500 list or those that are earning over $1 billion a year.
Meanwhile, to find the marketing best practices that were used to entice consumers to shop at physical stores during the holiday season, we looked through various marketing campaign reports from several marketing companies. We also looked for reports from analysts and from several successful retailers to determine the best practices that they apply to drive more people into their brick-and-mortar stores. Based on these reports, we were able to derive some of these best practices that several retailers have been applying to get more shoppers to buy from their physical stores during the holidays.