Retail Marketing Strategies for the Holidays

Monday, November 09, 2020

The holiday season always seems to start a little sooner than expected, but have no fear, there’s still plenty of opportunity to drive retail traffic. Whether your focus is in-store, online, or both, we’ve got the retail marketing strategy you need to drive sales, engagement, and momentum into the new year!


Considering that The National Retail Federation (NRF) revised its annual forecast for this year, projecting that retail sales will now grow between 10.5% and 13.5%, you need to be intentional in planning your retail marketing strategy.

Retail marketing strategies for the holidays:


Private Shopping Party

With many people these days not wanting to visit a shopping mall or other potentially crowded retail outlet, there’s never been more need for creative commerce. Why not give your top customers that unique experience through small, private events — allowing them to shop without crowds and get personalized attention from your sales associates. It will make them feel elite and offer you and your team a valuable opportunity to express gratitude for their patronage and a chance to get more customer insight into their current shopping habits and preferences.


To pull off this retail marketing strategy, leverage your point of sale’s CRM to create a list of your top customers by spend and frequency. Craft invitations to your top customers that are personalized and give them a clear understanding of the exclusive experience you’re inviting them to.


Wish Lists


Your best customer’s loved ones may not know what gift they really want for the holiday. Have customers fill out a wish list. Add desired products into their profile in your retail POS system. With the customer’s permission, reach out to the contact(s) they specify, letting them know you have their spouse, child or parent’s wish list ready to go, making their gift shopping experience super easy.


12 Days of Gifts With Purchase

Everyone likes to get something for giving something! GWPs are a win-win. Not only does the customer leave feeling like they received a unique gift and experience, but this kind of promotion encourages upselling and differentiates your business. Always require a minimum spend, so your margin doesn’t take a significant hit.

If you’ve done gift-with-purchase promotions in the past, revisit that sales data to confirm that they were, in fact, incentivizing traffic and sales. If not, see if there is something that can be optimized.

Shopping Gift Guides

Gift guides are vital to making gift shopping quicker and more accessible, so create multiple based on your brand’s offerings: gifts for her, for him, for the traveler, teacher, techie, under $50, etc. You know your customer, so get creative! Share these as blog posts, Pinterest boards, tweets, Facebook posts, and shoppable collections on your website.

If your budget allows, recruit local influencers to curate their own gift guides and share the links with their followers.

And since more and more people are doing at least part of their holiday shopping online, be sure to have a retail digital marketing strategy. Deloitte is predicting that online holiday sales will be up this year by 11-15%

E-Commerce Easter Egg Hunt

Try a virtual egg hunt! Each day, choose an item to discount online deeply but don’t advertise what it is. Customers will have to comb through your website to find that day’s deal, and in the meantime, will likely add a few other things to their cart.

Unwrap Your Deal

Design a “mystery deal” email campaign that prompts customers to “unwrap” their unique discount code. Create landing pages for 10, 20, and 30%-off codes, then clone the email, so there are different versions of the email that link to each page. Split your mailing list into thirds, then watch the orders roll in.

Bounceback Coupons

Here’s a great way to upsell and guarantee yourself some repeat shoppers in the new year: Advertise that for every, say, $100 someone spends in December, they receive a $20 coupon to use in January. Customers almost always spend more than the coupon and the extra sales will help you stay in the black during returns season.

Shopping Cart Abandonment Emails

Customize your website’s shopping cart abandonment emails for the holidays. Embed real-time countdowns to dates like Black Friday, Giving Tuesday, and the many holidays that inspire gift-giving at the end of the year. Don’t forget to provide shipping deadline reminders to instill a sense of urgency.

Targeted Personalized Emails

Contact customers who shopped with you during Q4 last year — pull a report from your POS — and offer to help with any of their current gift shopping needs. The personal outreach will catch their attention, and you can offer a small discount as an extra incentive.

As the holidays approach, have some retail marketing strategies ready to move merchandise and optimize your sales season.

Flash Sale

Nothing lights a fire under shoppers like a limited-time flash sale. Don’t feel you have to offer an aggressive store-wide discount; you can apply it to select categories, like outerwear or stocking stuffers. Then, set up a promotion rule in your POS so that all products in the “outerwear” category automatically ring up at 20% off. 

Don’t limit this to in-store—offer the same promotion online!

Go Mobile

Both consumers’ mailboxes and inboxes tend to overflow this time of year, leaving many advertisements unopened and ignored. If you have money left in your marketing budget, invest in text advertising, aka SMS advertising — it’s much harder to ignore a ping on your phone than an email.

E-Gift Cards

Last-minute shoppers are challenged to think of gift ideas. Your final few email or text messages of the season — especially after shipping deadlines have passed — should heavily push gift cards. Give shoppers the option of either emailing their gift digitally or printing so they can still “wrap” it. Offer some creative ideas to wrap those printed gifts. 

Come January, prepare a series of targeted emails reminding customers to put those gift cards to use!

The Case for Curbside

Finally, stress the ease and convenience of buy-online, pickup in-store, or curbside pickup. If your e-commerce site isn’t set up for BOPIS, offer the option to place a curbside order over the phone.

Great marketing starts with insightful data. Heartland Retail POS solution gives retailers the data and flexibility they need to run creative and sophisticated retail marketing strategies. Our retail systems can be customized to fit the needs of your retail business. Don’t let the holidays catch you unprepared.


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