Thanksgiving comes extra late this year (on the 28th) which means there are only 25 shopping days between Black Friday and Christmas Eve. That’s almost an entire week less than last year, when retailers had a luxurious 30 days to woo shoppers. Now, harried holiday shoppers will have to accomplish all their gift buying in 4 weekends instead of 5. Last time we had it this short? 2014
That time crunch will put extra pressure on manufacturers and publishers to get products into the pipeline early, and may prompt retailers to start running their holiday ads even earlier than usual. According to an Experian Marketing Services survey of marketing executives’ cross-channel marketing plans, 49% of retailers will launch their holiday campaigns before Halloween.
And this won’t just affect B2C sales. Fourth quarter is usually strong for B2B sales too, and now B2B purchasers will be rushed trying to get their orders in before year-end as well.
What does that mean for your Q4 planning? We predict that the shorter cycle will crunch even more of ecommerce sales into the last two weeks before December 25th. Last year we looked at 200 channels with over 150,000 items during the Christmas rush. Even without next-day delivery these channels showed significant increases in visits and revenue in the last two weeks before Christmas.
You can also expect to pay more for paid search and display ads, as Google and Bing take advantage of the scarcity of available pre-Christmas impressions. But it will be worth it; ShopperTrak, which monitors traffic and sales at major malls and retail chains, predicts that in-store sales will slow this holiday season and foot traffic will actually fall 1.4%, as consumers increasingly prefer the online shopping experience to fighting the crowds at the mall.
So is this the year to put all your efforts (and budget) into ecommerce? Not so fast. Consumers still think of your “store” as a combination of both your online and physical presence, fluidly moving between store visits and online shopping. Manufacturers and retailers who dig into their data to understand how their customers interact with their brand both online and in the store will be able to better serve their customers, and therefore get a bigger piece of the Christmas pie.
As an online manufacturers rep, Yeoman helps you understand your online sales channels, making sure that you or your partners have the a sales presence in the ones that make sense for your business. This will ultimately increase sales, margins and brand equity, giving you better control over your products and your brand image all year long. Contact us to find out how we can help boost your online holiday sales.