It’s Not Too Late to Win the Holiday Shopping Season with These 5 Strategies

For U.S. retailers, the holiday season can make or break their year, and the competition continues to heat up with increased investments across all marketing channels. Retail ad spend hit an all-time high during Q4 of last year, reaching a staggering $1.8B—up 22% from the same time in 2020.

In addition to an increased presence from competitors, this year will be particularly challenging for many brands and retailers, as approximately 1/3 of shoppers are planning on spending less this holiday season than they did last year. Retailers will have to work smarter and differentiate even more to match 2021 holiday sales levels.

Midsummer is generally the best time to start planning integrated advertising, media, and commerce strategy in order to maximize your ROI during the holiday shopping season—even marketers are human. We all blink and somehow it’s early November, and there are still plan refinements to be made, assets to produce, and budgets to firm up.  

The good news is that it’s not too late to impact your holiday marketing plan. Here are five strategies you can still implement this holiday season.

Treat Yourself Messaging & Targeting
With 57% of U.S. shoppers saying they plan to treat themselves this holiday shopping season,*** creating specific messaging strategies that speak to the self-shopper is a great way to drive incremental sales. Even though it may be too late to create dedicated campaign assets for these consumers, advertisers can still update their programmatic DCO, social, and marketplace ads with self-shopper copy points.  From a targeting perspective, Millennials and men (of all ages) are the audiences most likely to shop for themselves this season, and they should be prioritized to receive this messaging.

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Don’t Forget Your Brand
With a laser focus on driving online conversions this season, it’s often easy to deprioritize brand-building activities. This is a huge wasted opportunity. Due to high levels of overall reach and product detail page (PDP) impressions that most brands will see this season, it’s important to position yourself for long-term brand growth as well. Optimize your PDPs to be “product-first” but make sure to include “the why” of your brand as well. Why is your brand worth their time, money, and effort? Why are you better than your competitors? Why are you a brand worth believing in?

Sell Subscriptions
Many of the best deals to be had are on physical goods—things to be unwrapped and assembled, and may require batteries that aren’t included. But don’t forget to offer deals on your subscriptions as well. These subscriptions could be memberships, subscription boxes, or even discounted rates on Amazon’s “Subscribe & Save” for household or commodity products.  Subscriptions are the gifts that keep on giving—for both the seller and receiver.


Shiny Objects
As marketers, we’re often told that our innate love for shiny and stunty marketing tactics is frivolous and ill-advised during critical sales seasons. While it’s mostly true that time-tested performance marketing tactics should be the pillars of your holiday plan, shiny objects can also help you stand out among all the noise. Once you have your base plan set, we recommend you think through how live-stream shopping, brand and influencer collaborations, or time-limited product drops could help garner special attention from shoppers and the consumer press.

Social Companion Campaigns
Social media continues to be a huge referral engine for online marketplaces by driving brand and product discovery. With consumer rallying calls like “TikTok Made Me Buy It” popping up everywhere, it’s important to run companion campaigns on social media that drive traffic to your online and physical stores. These campaigns should feel native to the content on the social platforms while communicating the top reasons to buy.

It’s never too late to optimize or evolve your holiday strategy with the right low-lift strategies that don’t require a long lead time. The consumer shopping journey gives brands and retailers hundreds of potential touchpoints to get it right. So, keep on pushing.

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