Grabbing Those Last-Minute Holiday Sales


According to a survey by the National Retail Foundation (NRF), 55.8 percent of holiday shoppers will splurge on themselves and/or others for non-gift items. So one of the fun challenges toward the end of Q4 is that your demographics might start to blur a little bit.

If you’re a retailer, the people who are typically in your target market aren’t the only people you want to target — you also want to make sure you’re capitalizing on the people who want to buy them gifts.

Brand Searches

Branded searches become even more valuable during the holiday season. Consider this: You need to compete for the people who are buying gifts for your loyalists. Why? Because if competitors bid on your brand terms, a non-loyalist may not be able to distinguish your value from a competitor’s, especially if the other brand is recognizable or is perceived to be a better deal.

Conversely, a competitor bidding strategy can be valuable. If you sell similar products and boast a stronger value proposition, you may be able to nab some sales.

Gift Keywords

What better way to pick up those extra sales than to capture people who are so far behind that they don’t even know what they are buying yet.

Normally, these shoppers would be considered to be early in the buying cycle, but that ticking Christmas clock translates into low-hanging fruit for retailers.

Check out the 2015 Google Trends graph for gift-related searches. Look at all the potential!


Try to be as specific as possible with your gift keywords and ad copy. For example, the keyword “gift for teenage brother” gives you more information than “Christmas gifts.” Not only do you know who the gift is for, you also have some insight into who it is coming from, so that you can write your ad copy accordingly. Bonus points if you pair this with a useful on-site strategy that assists customers in the decision-making process.

Target’s on the right track with this strategy. The search “gift for teenage brother” serves a relevant ad, which routes to a gift selection page with categories. Clicking into the “Gifts for Him” section allows you to filter your selection.


Shareable Content & E-Gifting Made Easy

A great way to help increase sales throughout the holiday season is to ensure that your pages are conducive to sharing. Help your customers share their gift preferences and, in turn, build audiences based upon the consumers that come to the site as a result of receiving shared content. Some examples of useful features include:

  • Wishlist Creation & Sharing
  • Coupon & Promo Sharing
  • Product Sharing
  • Referrals

You can build audiences in Google Analytics based upon traffic sources (among many other criteria) so that you can add recipients of shared content to the appropriate lists for holiday RLSA and remarketing.

To take the ease of gifting one step further, e-gifting is a great way to take the hassle out of the holidays. Allowing customers to buy and email gift cards means that they don’t have to worry about shipping or wrapping.

Plus, they can easily get a gift to someone who doesn’t live nearby. Macy’s really kicked it up a notch this year, allowing customers to buy gifts online — but allowing the recipient to change the color or size before finalizing the order.

Remarketing Lists For Search

Your loyalists have to buy gifts, too, ya know! For starters, remarketing lists for search can be a pretty useful way to reduce the risk on the gift-related keywords because you know your audience is already familiar with your brand.

Moreover, remarketing lists can be valuable in capturing audiences that you’ve determined to be shopping for gifts. As mentioned above, you can build audiences based upon shared links, and you can also build audiences based upon people who have visited gift idea pages.

On the flip side, audiences can be used to create exclusions for people you may not want to pay for over and over based upon on-site actions. For instance, you might want to exclude people if they’ve made a recent purchase or if they immediately bounced within a few seconds of reaching your site. This can help you preserve budget for more lucrative searchers.


Appealing To Consumers

It’s the holiday season, and consumers are looking for a bargain — but whether or not you are running a sale might not be the most important deciding factor. The later in the season it gets, the more important convenience becomes. These research findings give you things to consider when writing your holiday ad copy:

  • According to the previously mentioned NRF survey, 46.5 percent of consumers intend to take advantage of retailers’ buy online, pick up in-store deals.
  • The same survey found that free shipping was the most anticipated promo, and a different study from Deloitte found that consumers prefer free shipping over faster shipping options.
  • Second to free shipping, consumers were looking for stores that offered flexible return policies.
  • The likelihood that consumers will search digitally for promos and deals varies by age and gender. Based upon an eMarketer study, females are more likely to seek out deals than males, and consumers ages 18–34 are more likely to seek out deals than consumers age 34 and up.

Make sure your messaging aligns with the people you are targeting, whether they’re your typical target market or the people who are shopping for them.

There’s Still Time To Bring People In-Store.

Next Saturday, the last Saturday before Christmas, tends to bring in the most foot traffic of the holiday season for many stores. A Google study shows that, while electronic stores and cell phone stores top out on Black Friday, department stores, shopping malls, superstores and dollar stores tend to have higher in-store foot traffic on the last Saturday before Christmas.

As mentioned above, 46.5% of consumers intend to take advantage of ship-to-store features. Thirty-five percent say that they will shop for other items while in-store. For tips on bringing customers in-store, check out this article.

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