For many retailers, the upcoming festive season is the most lucrative time in their marketing calendars.
Not only are consumers busy shopping for Christmas gifts and decorations, but they’re snapping up bargains on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Come the end of the year, the marketing stakes are high.
With its growing user base of engaged fans and convenient eCommerce conversion features, Instagram has become an essential part of the marketing mix. Yet many brands will miss out on maximising their return on investment by leaving preparations too late. With shoppers starting (and finishing) earlier than ever – and influencers getting booked up by competitors – there’s no time to waste.
1. Shoppers start early
‘Last-minute Christmas shopping is a thing of the past’ declared The Australian Retailers Association last year, citing research that 9 in 10 Aussies had already done their Christmas shopping by 13th December. It seems shoppers are getting organised earlier every year, hitting the shops in November and earlier. In the UK, a third of people say they have started their Christmas shopping by mid-November (35%) and one in 10 have finished the majority of their Christmas shopping (11%).
This trend continues into online shopping too, as the Australia Post’s 2019 eCommerce Industry Report revealed that the five weeks from 11th November to 15th December accounted for almost 15% of all eCommerce transactions for the year. Considering lengthy overseas delivery times, it makes sense.
If buying is in full swing by early November, you can be sure that consideration on what to purchase it starting even earlier. It’s important to remember that many consumers use Instagram as a brand discovery tool, so you want to be getting into the hearts, minds (and Instagram feeds) of your customers in the months leading up to the big day to drive consideration.
2. Social is your shop window
This Christmas, many shoppers will swap the busy stores, long queues and obligatory festive soundtrack for shopping from the comfort of their homes. 2019 will be Amazon’s third Christmas in Australia and we can expect to online sales across the board continue to rise. Already in the UK, online shopping counts for 42% of consumers total Christmas spending.
With this shift, a customer’s primary experience of a brand will take place online and on social media. Your presence there should benefit from the same attention you give your visual merchandising. Your social feed is your new shop window.
That means there’s never been a more important time to fill your social channels with engaging, thumb-stopping content. Positing consistent, high-quality imagery will help your brand stand out in the Christmas rush. Use appropriate hashtags and geotags to enable discovery and Instagram’s shoppable tags and ‘swipe up’ features to streamline the path to purchase. Instagram marketers serious about driving conversion this Christmas need to bring their A game.
3. Influencers are in high demand
Influencer marketing is a powerful channel to optimise this Christmas. Having brand partners mention and tag you boosts brand visibility – as well as your place in the algorithm – introducing your products to new audiences. Plus you benefit from authentic, high-quality branded content that can be reused elsewhere in your marketing efforts, amplifying your ROI.
The magic ingredient for effective influencer marketing is relevancy. That is choosing the influencer that aligns best with your market, brand and values. Someone with an audience which matches your customers base. With 60% of marketers increasing their spend in the channel this year, it is becoming an ever more competitive space and there is only a limited amount of real estate on any influencer’s Instagram feed. This is the busiest season for them too, so if you don’t strike up your perfect partnership early doors, you might miss out on your first choice.
Customers are getting ahead with their Christmas shopping and marketers should follow their lead when it comes to campaign activity. Early planning allows you first pick of creative collaborators and time to refine a considered strategy which will make you front of mind for your customers come shopping time.
Get in touch today to start planning your Christmas campaign.