Avoid These Ten Biggest Mistakes This Shopping Season

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With 38% of shoppers planning to utilise hybrid shopping options like curbside pickup or same-day delivery this holiday season, brands need to

eliminate friction points in the customer journey quickly or deal with an avalanche of backlash.

In 2017, the then British Prime Minister Theresa May criticised Cadbury’s advertisement campaign and called their egg hunt ‘ridiculous’ after the chocolate maker dropped the word ‘Easter’ from its packaging.

In another holiday marketing attempt going haywire, Coca-Cola earned the wrath of its Russian customers after its ad campaign wished Russians Merry Christmas with the image of a Russian map on the backdrop minus the controversial region of Crimea. After witnessing a landslide of rage from Russians, the beverage company rushed into action. It launched fire-fighting measures by adding Crimea to the map, only to upset its Ukrainian consumers, who resorted to flushing the beverage down the toilet. 

With a resolve to serve its customers better in holiday rush hours, Kmart – an Australian retailer- opened its shops early on Thanksgiving Day and remained open through Black Friday. The step aimed at earning brownie points from their customers backfired after the retailer got deluged with criticism from customers blaming it for being hard on its employees by denying them an opportunity to be with their families during the festive season. 

These stand-alone holiday marketing mistakes were unintentional but had the capacity to put a damper on the brand’s reputation in the long run. Data shows that such errors have cost heavily and played a roadblock in marketers’ efforts to boost brand sales during the holiday marketing season. So, retailers and luxury brands worldwide pay closer attention to avoid such glitches.   

“During the holiday season, customers are willing to spend, which is a boon for marketers. As a result, marketers try and maximise the period. They use their martech stack to their full potential. However, not all practices are considered best,” says Kunal Badiani, Senior Director and Head of Expansion, META, MoEngage.

Here is a list of mistakes marketers can learn from;

Absence of a Landing Page

A Gartner marketing survey shares that only 10 per cent of consumers are planning to shop more than the previous year, so ushering visitors to the holiday landing page is a must for brands to convert them into customers. The landing page needs to be free from inconsistent designs. Considering the eye-tracking movement of online visitors, inappropriate banners missing the strategic spots on the website will be a big mistake. Another blunder is missing proper navigation links directing users back to the homepage. 

Solution:

  • Having a specially-designed landing page is a must, as it is an integral part of the sales funnel. Online visitors click on advertising links placed on Google ads or social media ads, which directs them to the landing page.
  • On this page, consumers find out more about deals with urgent deadlines and a call-to-action link that takes them to the store’s product or collection page and closer to the final action – i.e., the actual purchase. 

Friction on Omnichannel Platform 

Experiencing friction while searching for an item on a wish list or witnessing gaps during the conversion process, like facing challenges at the checkout stage, drives customers away from the brand.

Solution: 

  • Brands need to check all components of their CX journey to ensure a seamless customer experience on both the website and mobile app before the promotional period begins. 
  • Brands should finish any alterations or changes before launch. If SEO is the top priority to ensure adequate traction on the brand website, brands need to plan their SEO well in advance and make sure the website surfaces in the top ten search results. 

Badiani says omnichannel will rule this year, “Since the onset of the pandemic, ecommerce growth has been unprecedented. Although many consumers are returning to physical stores or malls this holiday season, the BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store) and curbside pickup methods will remain highly popular and will be preferred for their convenience and speed,” he adds.

Lack of a Mobile-first Approach

Holiday shopping is often a last-minute decision for many consumers, and as a result, several consumers end up shopping on the go. Therefore, not having a mobile-first approach is a costly mistake for any retailer who is out to make a mark. 

Solution:

Ensuring flawless customer experience on mobile sites ensures a high propensity to boost conversion rates. Having a hassle-free CX on a mobile website is a must. If not done correctly, consumers will likely choose another brand for their holiday shopping.   

Missing Delivery Deadlines

In 2015, FedEx earned the reputation of being the “Christmas Grinch” for failing to deliver holiday packages in time when storms blasted its air hub in Memphis before Christmas. But even before the storm, FedEx struggled through a high volume of deliveries.  

Missed Christmas deliveries are a classic way to hit the headlines, and that too, for all the wrong reasons—brands not meeting delivery deadlines is the quick recipe for failure. A brand that guarantees delivery during holiday rush days and then fails to deliver it on time attracts negative feedback from its customers.

Solution:

  • Brands need to have a delivery mechanism and inform customers about expected shipping and delivery dates—even if they are not always favourable for the brand.
  • It is better to set and meet expectations than leave customers unsatisfied. Real-time shipping estimation at checkout helps brands give their customers a clear picture of when to expect delivery.

Running Out of Inventory

Customers get frustrated when brands fail to deliver heavily promoted products.

Failing to restock high-demand items is a ghastly mistake. Loyal customers turn to their preferred brands for the love of their products or services. So cutting sales short due to low-balling inventory is something that brands can easily avoid during the holiday season. 

Solution:

Anticipate demand based on ‘ previous sales data and replenish stock/inventory ahead of time.

A Gartner marketing survey revealed that inflation will serve as a top concern for consumers in 2022, prompting 48 per cent to shop early and 16 per cent to shop year-round.

  • One-third of consumers are planning to spend less. 
  • Twenty-one per cent of shoppers are planning to shop more in-store as compared to the previous year. 
  • Thirty-eight per cent of shoppers are planning to utilise hybrid shopping options like curbside pickup or same-day delivery.  
  • For online shoppers, free shipping is the most preferred option, but 26 per cent of respondents shared they are willing to pay more if it guarantees or expedites on-time delivery.

Improper Testing of Campaigns

Not testing campaigns properly before making them live can be costly. Gartner has reported that only 18 per cent of the brands have been able to master their extensive martech stack, so testing their campaigns before the actual launch using the right technology is a must. 

Lack of Segmentation

Marketers need to utilise their martech stacks to identify and understand each of their customer cohorts and target them better and in a personalised manner. Lack of segmentation can lead to undesired results. 

Absence of Curation

Lack of curation can lead to disengagement. It’s important to direct your customers to what they should be buying on the site. Curate gift guides and staff picks to help your customers find what they need. You can also create a holiday-specific Q&A page to handle common customer questions, so they don’t have to ask.

No Real-Time Tracking

Failure to track campaign progress in real-time can lead to complications. Since the sales period is usually limited to very few days, it is crucial to know how brand promotions are being received by your customers every moment.

Absence of Cross-Channel Visibility

Not having cross-channel visibility will create roadblocks in leveraging offline channels with the brand’s online sales. Integrating offline and online channels lets brands have complete visibility of their stocks. In case of suppliers run out of requested stock and retailers have already initiated online orders, they can redirect offline inventory and successively fulfil your online orders.