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Ecommerce Opportunities Abound For Brands As Brick-And-Mortar Retailers Limit Holiday Hours

July 30, 2020 Sarah Cavill

Target and Walmart recently announced that they will not be open on Thanksgiving Day. In a statement about the change, Target said: “Let’s face it: Historically, deal hunting and holiday shopping can mean crowded events, and this isn’t a year for crowds.” The move comes at a time when health and safety are major concerns around the world, and brands want to be perceived as caring about their workers and putting socially responsible behavior ahead of sales. 

Being closed on Thanksgiving Day also aligns with the increased adoption of ecommerce by consumers of all kinds. Less brick-and-mortar shopping over the holidays suggests the need for all brands to amplify their digital presences leveraging creative multichannel strategies and mobile-first optimizations. The holidays will be different this year, but brands and retailers can still be a part of new traditions and behaviors.

Digital Marketers Can Reach Consumers Enjoying Quieter Thanksgivings This Year

Shutterstock_325949822 Beautiful woman at home at the warmth of the fireplace, shopping online

The decision by retailers to close on Thanksgiving is reflective of the quieter holiday that consumers will be having overall, with less travel and fewer gatherings due to people still observing social distancing guidelines. Last year, shoppers spent $4.2 billion shopping online during Thanksgiving, so digital marketers should seize the opportunity to leverage their ecommerce capabilities, many of which have been refined over the last several months due to the pandemic. 

The Increase In Ecommerce Sales Allows Brands To Embrace Multichannel Marketing Strategies

When Allbirds found their brick-and-mortar business disrupted by COVID-19, they quickly pivoted to an omnichannel solution that benefited their employees, their brand and their customers. The brand was able to deploy their retail employees to ecommerce roles, add live chat options and feature in-store displays online. The new digital tools were so effective for Allbirds that they plan to continue many of the online implementations even when regular business is restored. Allbirds is just one example of how retailers can effectively combine brick-and-mortar capabilities and digital solutions to meet changing consumer behaviors. These kinds of user experiences and sales integrations are likely to be an important part of Thanksgiving strategies for brands straddling ecommerce and the busy shopping weekend.

Mobile Usage Offers Digital Marketing Strategies Likely To Convert For Retailers During The Holidays

Shutterstock_794105284 Happy smiling hipster girl using smartphone device while chilling at home wearing cozy knitted sweater, attractive young woman chatting with friends at social network while sitting on sofa at home

Last Thanksgiving, “nearly half the revenue on Thanksgiving Day came from smartphones, a 24.4% increase from last year [2018],” according to CNBC. Despite the change in circumstance many shoppers will experience this year, retailers shouldn’t shy away from aggressive mobile marketing strategies. In fact, there are likely to be many ansty shoppers passing the time on their phones this Thanksgiving, and brands can reach them with smart mobile tactics, including:

  • Websites that are mobile optimized, fast and ready for increased traffic.
  • Frictionless purchasing experiences, eliminating cumbersome check-out procedures that can lead to cart abandonment.
  • Free or discounted shipping and alternative payment methods like “buy now pay later.” 
  • Helpful, meaningful and fresh content marketing that speaks to the new and unusual holiday experiences consumers are having.
  • Targeted campaigns that reach and engage tightly defined audience segments via attractive, concise and clickable SMS and email messaging.
  • Sales and promotions that integrate brick-and-mortar capabilities, like buy online pick up in store (BOPIS).

A Holiday Like No Other Could Be A Silver Lining For Digital Marketers

Despite tightened budgets and uncertainty about the future, different can be good for marketers. The holidays won’t be the same as in years past, and neither will the marketing campaigns. Families may be looking for new ways to celebrate, shop and gather, which marketers can help facilitate through effective strategies that authentically and effectively meet consumers where they are. 

Effective holiday marketing campaigns will require brands to stay agile, as Helen Normoyle, Boots' Chief Marketing Officer pointed out: “We’re dealing with a set of questions and circumstances that we’ve never had to deal with going into Christmas, and that’s why flexibility will be key.” Adding, “We’ll be looking for flexibility to move our creative assets and messages across to different channels.” Brands that are ready and willing to meet this novel retail challenge and adapt as necessary, may find silver linings to the upcoming holiday season. 

Are You Looking For New Ways To Transition Your Media To A More Digital Approach?

Digital Media Solutions® (DMS) helps brands flourish by offering calculated engagement, deploying a robust database of consumer intelligence to develop scalable and reliable digital performance marketing campaigns that engage consumers and grow businesses.

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Senior Marketing Communications Writer, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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