As expected, retailers have kicked off their Holiday promotion efforts early this year. Rather than wait until Black Friday, most retailers started rolling out sales and promotional efforts as soon as the Halloween candy and decorations were rolled away. Obviously, discounting is going to be prevalent this season as consumers become more deal-driven and tightening their belt. According to recent TNS Retail Forward ShopperScape data, 65% of respondents indicated they planned to take greater advantage of good sales/deals.
Retail TouchPoints staff has been tracking the new holiday promotions both online and offline and our editors have highlighted the following top five trends we are seeing within FSIs, email campaigns and TV spots during the first week in November which address the realities of the challenging economy:
- Communicating Stability: Taking a “Lee Iacocca In The Customer In Box” approach, Bill Crutchfield Founder and CEO, of multichannel retailer Crutchfield Corporation, recently sent a personal message to their valued customers pointing out that “one factor that we all need to consider is the stability of the companies with whom we do business.” Touting the company’s conservative approach to credit and expansion, Crutchfield reminded customers that “we have no debt, a perfect credit rating and a legacy of fiscal prudence. Therefore, we will be around to serve you as we have served millions of customers for the past 34 years and throughout the last four recessions.”
- Gift With Purchase Offers: Target’s first holiday circular was loaded with promotions of free gift cards for customers who make purchases over a certain dollar value. Target was obviously not alone in employing this strategy and it will be interesting to see if the spread of gift card giveaways might cut into the growth of gift card sales.
- Price Point Collections: Bath & Body Works actually rolled out its holiday offers even prior to Halloween, promoting gift offers priced under $25, under $50, etc. This will likely be a more common approach this year, considering that TNS Retail Forward ShopperScape research also showed that 26% of consumers were open to switching their “shopping at retailers that offer lower prices or better deals than retailers where I usually shop.”
- More for the Store: In order to keep pace with trendsetters such as Apple, many retailers have invested more heavily in in-store technology such as mobile devices and digital signage to make the shopping experience more interactive. Retailers are also investing more in in-store events. For example, a Circuit City email campaign How To events offering education and buying tips for digital cameras, TVs, and iPods.
- Continuing The Conversation: Looking beyond the traditional forms of engagement—email, print, TV—more retailers are turning to social media and mobile marketing this season as a way to drive traffic to their websites and physical stores. About a quarter of the country’s retailers who are trying to ramp up online holiday sales plan to create pages on Facebook to promote their sites, according to a recent survey released by Shop.org. The survey found that 43% are adding videos of products and 33% are posting customer reviews.