Multi-Platform Marketing Strategies to Maximize Thanksgiving Sales

This year will be the shortest online shopping season with only 27 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. By comparison, there were six more days to shop in 2012. However, National Retail Federation expects sales in the months of November and December to marginally increase 3.9 percent to $602.1 billion, over 2012’s actual 3.5 percent holiday season sales growth. The forecast is higher than the 10-year average holiday sales growth of 3.3 percent.thanksgiving pic2

Due to the short holiday season and evolving shopping habits, marketing efforts of businesses will be fiercer and will involve mobile and social media. Shoppers will be incentivized with more shopping hours on Thanksgiving Day and amazing deals available on multiple shopping channels.

Print governed by Thanksgiving ads:

This singular day marks the beginning of holiday period and can be marked as the most significant revenue event for all the industries for the entire year. It is, in fact, so important that newspapers across the country have special expanded distribution of their publications that week and Thanksgiving Day circulation is the largest circulation day of the year. A large number of consumers turn to local newspapers and advertising pre-print inserts for information on the best deals.

As shared by IBISWorld, more than two-thirds of Thanksgiving revenues come from spending on food and drink for family gatherings and festivities; this category is expected to increase 5.1 percent from last year. Celebrating the year-end holidays with loved ones remains an important tradition for many Americans, so spending on consumables is not expected to suffer much, despite poor confidence.

87.8 percent of US households are expected to celebrate Thanksgiving by having families and relatives gathered around the turkey this year. The average household will spend $52.75 on Thanksgiving dinner and $31.23 on turkey alone. Other, more discretionary expenses such as greeting cards, gifts and decorations are not anticipated to grow much this year, increasing only 0.7 percent over 2012 figures.

A few years back, NAA (Newspaper Association of America) ran this ad to remind the readers how newspapers play a big role in making special occasions even more special.


Online sales expected to rise:

The late start of holiday season this year will result in a surge in online sales growth on Thanksgiving. According to a report by Adobe, “Pent-up consumer demand will translate into strong year-over-year online sales growth on Thanksgiving, which is expected to break into the “billion-dollar-day” club with online sales up 21 percent to $1.1B. Although many retailers have announced that they will be open, very few families come out to shop as they prefer to stay home and spend time with relatives on Thanksgiving, but they surely don’t want to miss out on the deals. This makes Thanksgiving a natural online sales day for couch surfing mobile users to get a jump on their shopping. Brick-and-click retailers will benefit most from online shopping that day as they receive the lion’s share of online spend early in the season.”

Many stores and retail stores use online ads to serve as ready-to-use coupons for their customers. So, viewers can just print these ads and redeem them to avail discounts in the stores or ordering online.

Jumbo Foods online Thanksgiving ad

Another online shopping trend that is quickly becoming the preferred option is referred to as “ship to store,” “click and pickup,” and “click-to-brick,” which allows customers to shop at their leisure on their computers, and pick up their purchases in a physical store at their convenience. This saves online shoppers both shipping time and shipping charges.

Most stores open on Thanksgiving:

As shopping appetites of young consumers grow, more and more retailers are planning to keep their stores open on Thanksgiving. Chief Industry Analyst Marshal Cohen of NPD Group says, “Online retailers had Thanksgiving all to themselves so now brick-and-mortar retailers are going to make their sales days Tuesday and Wednesday” of Thanksgiving week.

More than 100 Simon Malls will open at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving Day. Last year, none of its malls opened that early. Target, JC Penney, Macy’s, and Kohl’s are each opening at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Gap Inc. will have approximately 1,300 stores across its brands open at various hours on Thanksgiving Day. The list also includes brands like Kmart, Walmart and Best Buy, who say they’re merely responding to consumers who would be shopping online if they didn’t have the option to hit the stores.

In this ad, Kohl’s announces their Thanksgiving store timing along with some cool discounts and offers.

Kohl's Thanksgiving store open ad

Use social media to attract potential shoppers:

Social media is a parallel universe of shoppers waiting to be tapped. Advertisers need to know which customers they want to target, design the right marketing strategy, push their ads to the right place, and use the right metrics to capture ROI. The 3 tips that help in successfully utilizing this media are:

  • Preparing in advance by tracking social media sites most visited by your target audiences
  • Planning your campaigns to go live at the right time, thereby, capturing your prospects’ attention
  • Being patient and persistent  in your social media efforts while trying varied approaches, testing variations in landing pages and constantly keeping an eye on the latest trends in the market

According to a blog post by Nanigans, Inc., A comparison of ads placed in October, November and December 2012, showed that Facebook ads placed one to three weeks before Thanksgiving attracted customers who delivered the highest ROI over time — loyal customers with consistent purchasing throughout Q4 and beyond who yielded the highest ROI contributed by lifetime revenue return.

Many businesses are using Facebook as an additional sales vehicle sharing their best deals and promotions.

Thanksgiving FB ad

Mobile and multiscreen shopping to rise:

As part of IBM’s Smarter Commerce initiative, the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark revealed the following trends for Thanksgiving 2012:

  • Consumer Spending Increases: Online sales on Thanksgiving grew by 17.4 percent followed by Black Friday where sales increased 20.7 percent over last year.
  • Mobile Shopping: Mobile purchases soared with 24 percent of consumers using a mobile device to visit a retailer’s site, up from 14.3 percent in 2011. Mobile sales exceeded 16 percent, up from 9.8 percent in 2011.
  • The iPad Factor: The iPad generated more traffic than any other tablet or smart phone, reaching nearly 10 percent of online shopping. This was followed by iPhone at 8.7 percent and Android 5.5 percent. The iPad dominated tablet traffic at 88.3 percent followed by the Barnes and Noble Nook at 3.1 percent, Amazon Kindle at 2.4 percent and the Samsung Galaxy at 1.8 percent.
  • Multiscreen Shopping: Consumers shopped in store, online and on mobile devices simultaneously to get the best bargains. Overall 58 percent of consumers used smartphones compared to 41 percent who used tablets to surf for bargains on Black Friday.

Since many businesses are focused on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you could consider an aggressive sale on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. While many families are busy planning their Thanksgiving meals, there are many who are starting to look for deals on their smartphones. So, this could be a good time to present them with an offer they can’t resist without waiting until Thursday or Friday. The promotion needs to be aggressive and crisp: “3 day sale” or “Save 25% if you order before Thanksgiving” to register instant responses.

“Mobile strategy also needs to consider the physical factors of the shopper. Whether they are in-store, at home or on the go, the consumer will have different experience values in each of these situations, and the mobile presence must take this into consideration to create the optimal experience.” says Derek Bonney, Managing Director of Manifest Digital.

Send emails more aggressively:

During the holiday shopping frenzy, sometimes the stores that win most customers are the ones that stay top of mind and influence buying decisions. It pays to increase your email frequency and volume during the holidays that is proportionate to the increase in your sales volumes. So, a 20 percent expected increase in sales volumes should drive you to send at least 20 percent more emails during this time. Make sure your email are optimized for mobile and assist shoppers to reach far down the purchasing path as possible. Buyers are looking for best possible deals and sales this time of year. Make sure your offers are compelling enough to draw visitors. It’s good to keep an eye on the type and frequency of competitors’ emails. Above all, take time to thank your loyal customers and offer a special holiday greeting. You could give it a personal touch by sharing pictures of your team members working behind the screens or the community service initiatives undertaken by your company.

How are you employing different media vehicles to attract buyers this Thanksgiving?

About Kriti Adlakha
I have been working in the field of marketing and brand development for more than eight years. My experience ranges from hospitality to media and IT products to outsourced services. During my journey, I have worked with print and new-age media and have enjoyed developing content. I have also learnt and worked on marketing tools like adwords marketing, analytics, CRM and the list is steadily growing. Having acquired post-graduate diploma in business management from IIM, Calcutta, I love new challenges and learn from each experience. In my blog, I share marketing strategies that enable small and medium businesses to market in a small budget. I also discuss how to use different online tools that can help businesses to monitor returns of their marketing investments. Above all, I love to hear back from my readers!

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