Seasonal Stats: Using Market Research to Make Strategic Holiday Plans

Business.com / Sales / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Armed with market research gleaned from recent years, capitalize on the high traffic of the season and build your marketing with these tips.

The holiday season is a time when businesses can catch up on any slumps they’ve experienced throughout the year, and use the renewed attention of their customers to drive up seasonal sales.

As brick-and-mortar shops begin to give way to an online presence where customers can reach out to make a purchase at the touch of a button, marketing plans begin to take on a whole new dimension.

Armed with market research gleaned from recent years, businesses can capitalize on the high traffic experienced during busy seasons and build marketing strategies that play into their user’s online shopping habits.

Related Article: Entrepreneurs Love These 13 Tools for Conducting Market Research

The Importance of Data

Historical analytics are a vital part of building a strategic marketing plan for the upcoming holiday season. Data from previous years can highlight information such as: the most popular platforms used for shopping, industry-specific statistics, print marketing versus online marketing success, and brick-and-mortar storefront popularity versus an online company’s shopping trends.

This data can be incredibly helpful for a business looking to strategically plan for the upcoming year. For example, according to Luth Research’s ZQ Intelligence tool, women currently corner the online shopping market, making up 63 percent of PC shoppers and 71 percent of smartphone shoppers. In addition, the most popularly visited sites are internet and telecommunications sites, followed by online communities, arts and entertainment, computers and electronics, and shopping websites.

Knowing the basic demographics of shoppers and their most popular categories can help businesses gear marketing efforts towards the areas in which they will be most applicable and effective.

This research also reveals the top visited websites during the December shopping period of 2014. These websites include big names such as Amazon, Walmart, eBay, Target, Best Buy, Groupon, and Retail Me Not. Of this particular data, the last website listed could be considered quite telling. This information suggests that most shoppers are actively looking for bargains in the form of discounts and coupon codes during their online holiday shopping ventures.

Out of the mobile user base, most of their time is spent in online communities, meaning that bargains offered via social media should be quite effective. This type of data can help companies tailor their marketing to the season by offering exclusive offers, promotions, and coupon codes to their customer base both during and ahead of the holiday season.

Trend Evaluation

Data collection helps reveal trends that can push marketing plans in the right direction and allow companies to get a good deal of marketing traction in return for their efforts. For example, as mobile commerce trends upward, retailers across all industries are responding in kind. As user engagement rises, the online shopping experience has taken over as a leader in generating holiday sales, and marketing campaigns that lead users to their smartphones and other mobile technologies have become a popular and almost mandatory addition to any modern-day holiday marketing plan.

Mobile trends have also revealed that push notifications have gained the lead on the mobile marketing communication front, garnering a 50 percent higher open rate than their e-mail marketing counterparts. Mobile access to shopping has also meant that businesses have gained the opportunity to market to customers throughout the holiday season, instead of on the two historically critical shopping days, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Without this critical information about mobile shoppers, businesses would be missing out on the opportunity to expand their marketing to reap the full benefit of the active holiday shopping season.  

Related Article: Unwrapping Success: 4 Online Sales Tips to Make Your Holidays Merry

Applying Trends

Spreading information digitally is much easier than printing out and mailing flyers. And when it comes to online advertisements, a business has a much better chance of catching their consumer’s eye with a multi-pronged approach that includes search engine optimization, push notifications, visitor overlays, e-mail marketing campaigns, special promotions, and exclusive deals. And spikes in online visitors are a great indication of when such marketing will be most effective.

Online shopping continues to grow in popularity, and data trends prove that consumers have begun their holiday gift purchase perusal much earlier in recent years, meaning retailers that begin marketing early can get themselves on the shopping list much sooner in the season.

And with holiday sales making up a hefty percentage of a retailer’s total sales for the year, strategic revenue-generating marketing plans are vitally important to helping pad a company’s bottom line. As consumers switch from brick-and-mortar stores to online PC and mobile purchasing, this trend should be quickly convincing marketing teams to focus their campaign efforts heavily on digital campaigning.

Market research can provide every unique business with the ability to strategically plan for the next holiday season by applying last year’s metrics to this year’s marketing strategy. Understanding and applying seasonal statistics to the new year’s strategy can help a business explore new possibilities and see where they can use relevant trends to their advantage for the upcoming season.

Among other strategies, businesses can leverage seasonal promotions, exclusive deals, free shipping, and the ability to save and return to their online shopping carts for later purchase to help them get the most out of their holiday shoppers. Presenting an effective online shopping experience is a major factor in a company’s ability to reap rewards available during the busiest shopping days of the year. And those retailers who are data-driven will continue to procure the greatest rewards through successfully adjusting their strategy to match the holiday shopping trends of their consumers.

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