Ecommerce vs. brick and mortar holiday online marketing strategies

Holiday Strategy Gifts

The Point It offices are starting to heat up (cool down?) with our retailer holiday strategy preparations.  My team of in-house marketers have been trying to keep up with all of the smart strategies being flung over the ping pong table.  So far, we’ve put together an article on 2016 Holiday Best Practices, launched a digital marketing strategy wizard that spit out customized strategies for various retail verticals and written about SEO for the holiday season.  And today, I had the pleasure of being the hostess for a virtual workshop with Katy Tonkin, our VP of Digital Strategy and Sean Van Guilder, our Director of SEO.  It was one of those action packed sessions that barely left time for questions!  I love sitting on the sideline watching two of our experts collaborate.

If you couldn’t join us, or you’re just looking for the TL;DR version of our coverage of the situational goals and strategies section, I’ve got you covered.  Here I walk through the key points for those folks focused on brick and mortar locations, ecommerce stores and organizations with both.

Before we get into the good stuff, I just want to share that our experts are saying that planning ahead is a key driver for digital marketers looking to see success this year. Nielsen reports that 36% of US consumers are already shopping for holiday gifts.  It’s time to get rolling.

Holiday Retail Goal Strategies

Whether you’re online, brick and mortar or both, choosing holiday online marketing strategies that will serve your customers and your bottom line are key to long term success. Katy and Sean explored the specific strategies for each of the retail scenarios.  Here are some of those highlights:

holiday snowflake

How do I use digital marketing to drive revenue for brick and mortar store locations?

Katy and Sean shared a few key points to help achieve your brick and mortar store locations.  Here are a few of the key ones:

  • Make sure to put together strategic online offers to drive traffic to be redeemed in-store.
  • Establish a solid SEO foundation. Check for user experiences like location pages for your local stores, product reviews, and related content marketing articles that target key personas.
  • Fine tune your local marketing strategy. Double check your schema markup and directories to ensure your local information is up to date. Make sure that your paid media buys are tactically segmented to drive the right audience to your stores.
  • Mobilize traditional and non-traditional ad buys to target across the generational spectrum. Where a native ad might be a better fit for the millennials, a radio ad might be a better target for boomers.

grey-snowflake2How do I drive revenue with digital marketing for my ecommerce store during the holidays season?

When our experts think online store, they think great tracking.  But there’s always pitfalls to be had with online stores.  Here is the holiday checklist for your ecommerce store!

  • Have a great user experience. It should take your user less time to check out than it took them to find the product page. Sean saw a client’s site increase their conversion rates by ~50% just by implementing this tip.
  • Utilize audience segmenting so that you can provide your customer with a targeted and relevant buying experience.
  • Free offers are key to success! Free shipping, free returns and great prices coming back. Thanks to companies like Amazon, expectations are higher than ever and it’s an expectation.
  • Consumers love loyalty programs and special deals for particular behaviors. Make sure to utilize these human motivators to collect first-party data. That deterministic data will help you make accurate and economical media buys.
  • Getting visitors but not the conversions? Bring them back with retargeting ads across your digital marketing strategy.

grey-snowflake1What’s a good digital strategy for a company that has both an online store and store locations?

Having both an online store and store locations can be a daunting task.  That’s why Katy and Sean came up with a few checklist items to simplify your efforts.  If you do anything, do these things:

  • Setup your locations to be a showroom for consumers to touch, feel, poke, prod, roll, and play your products. It’s likely they’ll go online to make the actual purchase, but your organization can use the in-person interaction to build loyalty through customer service and experiential marketing.
  • Have an attribution model, but don’t sweat it. Pick and attribution model that you can verify and stick with it. Aiming for perfection in the space will lead you down the rabbit hole.  Just find something that helps guide your future decision making with solid data.
  • Creating subscription programs to capture first-party audience data. As we talked about for the online stores, this is an incredible way to make smarter and more efficient choices with your money in the future.
  • Establish who your high value customers are. Where are they spending more: in-store or online?  Take that learning and apply deals and promotions that entice them to the higher converting space.

It’s only/already September, and there’s still time to ensure that your goals and strategies are in place to crush your Q4 holiday goals.  As your craft your strategy keep these tips in mind.

What’s Next?

Have you tried our digital marketing holiday wizard? With just a few clicks you can get a customized digital marketing strategy that is tailored for your situation, budget, and vertical. TRY IT NOW >> 

Get Involved!

Do you have some great holiday tips?  We’d love to hear them.  Share them in the comments!

Maureen Jann About the author
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