This is the latest installment in a tutorial series that breaks down everything retailers need to do for a successful 2019 holiday shopping season. 

When I was in retail, we spent a lot of time figuring out how to attract shoppers to our brand’s physical and digital properties. Regardless of what we did or what we offered, we knew they would always come to us, within our brand’s four walls. But the tables have turned. Today’s shoppers expect brands to come to them — across any platform and from any device.

It makes sense given that shoppers spend more time than ever using social media, apps, and voice assistants. That’s why a consistent, seamless, and personalized brand experience is crucial for success this holiday shopping season. Tailored engagements across your channels will foster lasting relationships — a gift that stands the test of time. 

Keep reading to uncover all the ways to connect with shoppers everywhere. 

  • Embed commerce on all touchpoints
  • Leverage social as a transactional tool
  • Prioritize mobile shopping
  • Create emails that stand out in every inbox
  • Get more out of your digital ads
 

1. Infuse commerce into every channel of engagement 

Imagine a connected experience from the moment a shopper finds the perfect gift for a loved one while scrolling through Pinterest as you guide them all the way through to purchase. 

It’s possible with application programming interfaces (APIs) that connect third-party platforms to your core commerce platform. MuleSoft for Commerce Cloud makes integration seamless with pre-built API designs and omnichannel-specific implementations that layer on top of existing retail processes and system APIs. They give you the flexibility and agility to reach shoppers anywhere with the best experiences. 

 

2. Turn social into a one-stop shop 

In 2018, social was the breakout star of the holiday shopping season as traffic growth from social channels increased 34%, and social traffic share increased 22% year-over-year

Convert followers into shoppers on any social channel with exclusive offers that build loyalty, such as early access to holiday season sales and brand collaboration sneak peeks. With the advent of Shopping on Instagram, brands can use the platform for the entire shopping journey. 

If you have brick-and-mortar locations, your stores can also create their own social pages to promote store-specific holiday events that attract local shoppers. As a bonus, you can repost event images shoppers post as user-generated content (UGC) to drive further engagement. 

Lastly, make sure your marketing and service departments are connected to your social channels and ready to resolve issues as soon as they arise. Also, note that social listening is not only a tool for understanding brand sentiment; it helps you understand what shoppers are saying about your competitors.

 

3. Create a two-way relationship on mobile

Mobile is where the shopping journey starts — and increasingly ends. Case in point: Mobile traffic surpassed desktop for the first time on peak shopping days last year. It’s more important than ever to optimize your site for mobile shoppers: 

  • Anchor the search bar at the top of the page at 44 x 44 pixels and follow site search best practices to surface the most relevant results
  • Keep the add-to-cart button sticky at the top of every page so shoppers can easily add items
  • Indicate how to alternate between product images with arrows — not dots — on the product detail page
  • Include one-tap ordering at checkout with mobile payment options and default keyboards

Make the most of the opportunity to reach out to shoppers on mobile — through SMS, push notifications, or messaging apps like Facebook Messenger — and communicate the value of your mobile program upfront. Leverage it to share timely news, personalized offers, shipment status, and password resets. 

Finally, ensure your customer support team can act quickly if a shopper responds to a mobile message with a problem or complaint. They can jump into the same message thread and resolve the issue. SMS programs can actually increase productivity for service agents who can handle multiple messages, conversations, or cases simultaneously.

 

4. Deliver dynamic seasonal emails

Retail and consumer goods brands get a $45 return for every $1 they devote to email. Every email should be mobile-optimized, personalized, and consistent with brand messaging. Infuse dynamic content that varies based on the subscriber’s product and category preferences or loyalty program status. Add special holiday design elements, highlight select products, and emphasize special holiday shipping dates. And before deploying emails, always perform quality assurance to understand subscriber flow by device and ensure proper rendering.

 

5. Make ads as intelligent as possible

Your data will reveal the most-clicked images, best performing copy, highest-performing channels, and overall ad impressions so that you can create the most effective ads this holiday season. AI can help by analyzing this distilled shopper data to create personalized ads based on product browsing history that will boost performance and drive more shoppers to your site.

 

What’s next

Put your holiday plans into action. Catch up on what else there is to do in our holiday readiness tutorial series: 

Get a full picture on everything you need to get holiday-ready with our 2019 Holiday Readiness Guide. Visit the Holiday Readiness Headquarters for a monthly look at the tools and strategies marketing, commerce, service, and tech teams should put in place.