As early as October, a sense of preparation sweeps over consumers as they gear up for the year-end festivities. Whether it’s for the Christmas dinner, decorations, or the gifts they plan to give to their loved ones. While some wait until the last minute, an increasingly large majority opts for an early approach, mindful of optimizing their tight budgets.
In any case, they all share the same goal: to have a wonderful holiday season. With this perspective in mind, they expect brands to accompany them on this journey. Therefore, to maximize sales and increase brand recognition, it is important to meet this need by infusing a dose of Christmas magic into your retail locations and brand image.
In this article, we will provide you with some ideas to help you build your strategy for finishing the year strong and entering the new year with a solid customer base.
Create a Gift Ideas Page on Your E-commerce Website
The first action to implement for your customers and all visitors to your e-commerce site is a dedicated page for gift ideas. Today, 62% of consumers visit e-commerce websites for their Christmas gift, meal, or decoration searches.
By giving them a helping hand in their searches, they will be more inclined to choose to purchase from you. Don’t forget to list your gift card service if you have one, as 41% of gift card sales are made during the Christmas period.
Create a Special Gift Search Engine
In addition to the gift ideas page, you can further enhance your support for successful year-end celebrations by creating a special gift ideas generator search engine. Provide the option to refine the list of relevant gift products based on the recipient of the gift. Ask for information about the recipient: who the gift is for, their age, their interests, and their budget. This enables an initial sorting of suggestions and allows for a more personalized response to the customer. One more step towards making the purchase.
Two brands with well-constructed gift engines are Nature et Découvertes and BHV Marais.
Offer Additional Services for Christmas
When it comes to purchasing a gift, customers seek to add that magical touch that makes each gift special, especially during the Christmas season. Whether it’s beautiful gift wrapping or a small note, personalization is a significant part of the gift, just as much as the joy of seeing a loved one unwrap their present.
For e-commerce websites, offering personalization services such as gift wrapping, greeting cards, or other customized elements presents a significant opportunity to enhance the customer experience.
Zara and Sephora excel in this regard. Zara offers the option to create a personalized video that accompanies the product. Sephora, on the other hand, provides a gift wrapping service with a customizable message.
In addition, Sephora has also improved its e-gift card service. The visuals are adapted for Christmas, and customers have the option to use their own photo or video and write a personalized message. This is a strategic move considering that gift cards are among the top 3 requested gifts.
Provide a Personalized Gift Card Service
As mentioned earlier, gift cards are among the most popular gifts at Christmas, especially in recent times when gift cards are a practical, quick, and budget-friendly option. Both buyers and recipients are delighted. However, the brand should make some effort to enhance its gift card service:
- Christmas-themed visuals
- Christmas-themed order page
- Customization features (gift registry, personalized photos, mobile wallet integration)
- Digital gift card delivery via email in under 5 minutes
- Reassurance elements
- Visibility on the e-commerce site and externally
Offer Reassurance for the Holiday Season
Consumers need reassurance about the quality of the products they purchase. When buying online, they want to see comprehensive product photos. Additionally, 58% pay attention to reviews and comments.
They want reassurance about product availability and delivery times. The guarantee that the product will be delivered before Christmas and that they can track the delivery in real time carries significant weight when making a choice.
Showcase Products with a Touch of Christmas Magic
When a consumer buys a gift, searches for holiday table decorations, or plans a Christmas meal, they greatly appreciate product presentations. On product pages, it is relevant to add photos of the product with a Christmas theme. For example, if you sell chocolate, show a photo of a Christmas chocolate log. If you sell Christmas candles, stage the candle on a table set for guests. If you sell Christmas trees, include a photo of a decorated tree.
Creating posts on social media featuring these staged products is also valuable. When combined with social shopping, these posts provide an additional sales channel. A majority of French consumers turn to social media for their shopping research.
Communicate with Your Customers
You already have an established relationship with your customers, and they love your brand. All signals are green for launching multiple email campaigns targeting your customer base. Create a special bond for Christmas and help them organize a successful holiday season.
Take advantage of this to suggest gift ideas, introduce them to your gift card service, and offer them benefits (private sales, promotions, extra loyalty points, etc.).
Get on Gift Idea Lists
Numerous websites, social media pages, or blogs offer lists or top gift ideas. There are also online group gifting platforms that have their own product catalogs. Additionally, there are Christmas wish list systems that people can send to their loved ones, which also have their own catalog of referenced products.
If you have products that are commonly given as gifts, try to promote them on these channels to gain visibility. Use your gift cards as an ideal means to access your entire catalog.
The general idea is to be present multiple times on the omnichannel consumer search journey. The more you appear, the more likely they are to buy from you.
Establish Partnerships with Influencers
In order to successfully highlight your products or brand for Christmas, influencers are a relevant channel. Several actions can be taken, from the most common, such as testing a product, to organizing a contest or posting product-staged photos. For contests, digital gift cards are the simplest, quickest, and most flexible reward.
In all cases, the choice of the influencer according to your target audience and the mechanics according to your objectives are essential for the success of the operation.
For example, Comptoir des Cotonniers effectively used this channel. With fashion bloggers TheBrunettes and PaulineFashionBlog, the brand created the series ‘A Cozy Christmas by…’ in which influencers staged Comptoir des Cotonniers’ products. A good way to gain visibility and associate your brand with the Christmas spirit.
Launch Special Christmas Promotions
Promotion (48%), Price (41%), and Quality (33%) are the top three criteria for Christmas shopping. With the existing economic context and increasingly tight budgets, consumers are looking for a good deal.
To maximize sales, increase the average order value, or boost foot traffic in physical stores, promotions are a suitable strategy. Today, there are several promotional mechanics that can help achieve a brand’s objectives without affecting profitability or image.
One approach is reward-based marketing. Instead of reducing the product’s price, reward-based marketing encourages a future action. For example, to increase the average order value, you can offer a €10 gift card for every €100 spent and a €20 gift card for every €200 spent. In either case, the customer leaves with a gift card that encourages them to return to your brand. If you play with the validity date wisely, it’s likely to be before Christmas.
Engage Your Community with Fun Experiences
Energize your community, especially on social media, by offering Christmas-specific contests or an advent calendar mechanism. This creates a recurring connection with your brand.
For instance, Starbucks annually hosts a Christmas contest: ‘Starbucks for Life’ from November 29 to January 1. The lucky winner gets a free drink every day for 30 years. It’s a must-attend event for brand enthusiasts.
Add a Social Dimension
To promote your brand and link it to the spirit of sharing that Christmas embodies, you can set up an initiative to donate to charities.
For example, Taco John’s, a US taco fast-food chain, launched an operation to donate a portion of their revenue from their flagship dish (Nachos Navidad) to charitable organizations.
Jack Daniel’s, on the other hand, donated all the sales from their barrels to the YMCA, an organization that helps deployed US military personnel return home for the holidays.
Engage in Co-Creations
Christmas is the ideal opportunity to create unique or limited edition products. Consumers appreciate these types of products as they add extra value to the gift. For instance, the perfume brand Nina Ricci regularly launches products in collaboration with creators. In 2016, Deezer partnered with a DIY blogger, youMAKEfasion, to create a special Christmas playlist.
Customize an Iconic Product
As a brand, you likely have a flagship product, an iconic item. What if Christmas were the occasion to refresh it by creating a new version? If you don’t have an iconic item, the holiday season provides an opportunity to create goodies related to this festive time.
For example, Starbucks releases a new collection of special Christmas mugs every year. They promote it in advance, ensuring sufficient stock is available in all their locations. It becomes an annual emotional gathering for their customers. Often, users and influencers promote their collection, multiplying the campaign’s impact.
Another example is Adidas. Last year, the sportswear brand humorously reintroduced a special Grinch-themed pair of kids’ sneakers.
McDonald’s releases a new collection of Christmas socks every year featuring their products.
Offer Unique Packaging
An alternative to creating Christmas-specific products is designing dedicated packaging and bundles. For example, you can create a gift box with a set of products. Or, you can enhance your physical gift card by packaging it with one of your brand’s products in another bundle.
Here’s another creative example: Transavia showcased round-trip plane tickets for two people to sunny destinations inside a classic Christmas snow globe. This was a limited edition with only six snow globes. It’s a novel way of gifting to rejuvenate sales.
Create Content to Help Prepare for the Holidays
One of the simplest ways to engage with your audience is through content that aids in holiday preparations. For instance, providing recipes using your products, as Picard does perfectly. Gamm Vert, a gardening supply store, published an article last Christmas titled ‘Alternatives to Christmas Trees,’ taking the opportunity to showcase some of its products.
Represent Your Brand’s Magic through Short Films
Christmas is also a great time to showcase your brand, its identity, values, and commitments through video and short films. Many brands use this opportunity to align their brand with the magic of Christmas.
For example, Lidl UK’s ‘Lidl Bear’ tells the story of the friendship between a teddy bear and a little girl, emphasizing the importance of family.
Orange leverages this festive time to discuss reconditioning. In their short film, a father and daughter visit an Orange store, and the salesperson tells the little girl that the phones are reconditioned by Santa Claus. This imaginative take on the process helps Orange promote its service.
Launch Unique Campaigns
You can also launch unique campaigns for Christmas. For example, Uber introduced ‘Uber Sleigh,’ offering American app users an alternative mode of transport in Lapland: a reindeer-drawn sleigh, just like Santa’s.
A simpler approach is Waze, the GPS app, offering Santa’s voice navigation for the holidays.
Airbnb, in collaboration with Vacaza and Dr. Seuss Enterprises, once provided an opportunity for people to spend Christmas in a cave resembling the Grinch’s home.
Infusing the spirit of Christmas into your brand can be a valuable strategy to strengthen the connection with your customers, enhance your brand image, and boost sales during the holiday season. Remember to be authentic in your approach, seek unique ways to share the magic of Christmas that align with your brand’s identity, and create a lasting emotional bond with your audience.