Is your social marketing strategy ready for the Christmas season?

Tuesday November 19, 2019 - Posted by:

For many retailers, the Christmas season is the most important time of the year and it can prove highly beneficial for businesses to give themselves time to prepare for the seasonal spike in consumer demand ahead of Christmas, by ensuring they have a bulletproof marketing strategy to appeal to customers.

One specific aspect of media planning that is becoming increasingly significant for retailers with each passing year is social media marketing. If you want to get maximum return on your investment in this space, it pays to plan ahead and have a focused strategy for the Christmas season.

Understanding the value of Christmas

Getting your marketing strategy right at Christmas could prove critical to the overall success and profitability of your business. Research has emphasised the potential revenue gains available to retailers at this time of year, even when wider industry conditions and economic factors are not necessarily in businesses’ favour.

Brexit has caused a lot of uncertainty for consumers and companies across the UK and the EU in recent years, but this didn’t stop Christmas sales volumes from growing consistently between 2016 and 2018. According to the Centre for Retail Research, overall Christmas spending increased by 1.4 per cent in the UK between 2016 and 2017, and by the same amount from 2017 to 2018. Germany witnessed even bigger jumps of 2.3 per cent and 2.1 per cent respectively, while France recorded spending growth of 1.8 per cent and 1.7 per cent.

Online sales growth has been even more pronounced, reaching 10.1 per cent in the UK, 12.5 per cent in France and 12.6 per cent in Germany between 2017 and 2018.

To take full advantage of this steadily growing consumer demand, retailers need to come up with focused Christmas marketing strategies and plan as far ahead as possible.

Changing Christmas shopping trends

One reason why it’s so important to prepare in advance is because consumers appear to be starting their Christmas shopping earlier than ever before.

Facebook IQ commissioned three major studies of seasonal consumer trends around the world and identified a “slow but steady shift towards early Christmas shopping” in all of the international markets it surveyed.

There are several potential reasons for this, including increasingly complex purchase funnels and the globalisation of sales events like Black Friday and Singles’ Day, in which recently generated $38.4 billion in sales and attracted half a billion customers.

Facebook also noted that the rise of mobile-first shoppers – people who do most of their Christmas shopping on mobile devices – could be contributing to earlier buying. Almost a quarter (24 per cent) of mobile-first shoppers said they make their first Christmas purchases before November, more than those who prefer to buy in-store or on a PC.

The rise of social shopping

GlobalWebIndex has highlighted how the use of social media has evolved in recent years, from purely social activities such as sharing photos and communicating with friends, to more “practical and purpose-led” functions, like shopping.

Retailers, in comparison to other businesses, gain the most from a strong social media strategy and it is important it is to build a strong brand and earn engagement on social platforms during the vital Christmas period. An effective social media marketing strategy during the fiercely competitive Christmas season could put you on course for ongoing growth and profitability.

The firm’s research indicated that nearly half (47 per cent) of internet users in North America and Europe can now be classed as social shoppers.

Furthermore, the annual Shopper Experience Index from marketing software firm Bazaarvoice showed a 38 per cent increase in the number of consumers who attach a lot of importance to the ability to discover and purchase products directly through social media platforms.

Joe Rohrlich, chief revenue officer at Bazaarvoice, said: “The retail landscape has continued to shift over the last year, as modern consumers seek unique shopping experiences, new engagement and purchase channels and an increased level of brand and product transparency and authenticity.”

There are parallels to be drawn between this mobile-first consumer mindset and the growing importance of social media as part of the shopping experience. Of the nearly 3.5 billion people using social media this year, the vast majority (3.26 billion) have accessed their favourite networks on mobile devices.

If your plans for the coming months include engaging customers in foreign markets, Locaria’s international social media marketing services can help you increase your chances of success through strong local understanding and effective communication.

To find out more, give us a call on +44 (0)20 3948 6800.

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