Going late on Christmas marketing this year could cost retailers in a big way

Christmas shopping Melbourne

Source: Unsplash/Heidi Fin.

Christmas spending habits are not what they used to be and 2021 has changed the lead time on gift buying in Australia. According to the Australian Retailers Association and Roy Morgan, Australians are expected to spend an average of $726 each on Christmas gifts this year and they’re doing it a lot earlier than ever before. 

It’s predicted that 65% of Australians are expected to complete their Christmas shopping by the end of November. 

As businesses face parcel delivery delays, border closures, lockdowns and high-demand, consumers are being forced to either purchase early in the hope their parcels arrive on time or look to physical stores and shopping centres.

Retailers that start their Christmas promotions in mid — late November will be too late.

For those who run e-commerce businesses, delivery delays mean consumers will be looking for safer purchasing options forcing them to consider bricks and mortar retailers for their gift buying instead of online. 

For bricks and mortar businesses, a late campaign runs the risk of missing out on crucial Christmas turnover as competitors who have released Christmas products and promotions in advance take advantage of the earlier purchasing behaviours. 

Generally, Christmas is always a busy time for businesses with higher sales volumes, increased customer interactions and more competition. The last thing that businesses need to deal with at this time is damage control, as a result of delivery delays, especially if it is something that can be considered and mitigated in advance. 

Start Christmas campaigns now

To make the most of this change in behaviour, both bricks-and-mortar and e-commerce retailers need to start their Christmas campaigns now.

And, yes, this can be easier said than done, as retailers themselves fall prey to delivery delays and cautious purchasing behaviour from customers. 

But there are ways that businesses can overcome these obstacles.

If your Christmas products are not ready or have been delayed, it’s a good opportunity tease the product by showcasing the product and encourage pre-orders. This allows you to continue to communicate with your customers about the product availability as well as ensuring sales as well. 

A waitlist sign up is also a great way to build your database as well as to test the interest in your Christmas products and campaigns. By offering a special waitlist offer, you are providing added value for those who open the emails and will purchase online or in store. 

Advertising is also something to consider. Consumers see millions of messages daily, so it’s important to have your name out there at a time when gift buyers are looking. It doesn’t just have to be on social media. There are many ways to help build brand awareness and having a multi-channel marketing plan at Christmas time will achieve this on multiple levels. 

Retailers need to remember that informing customers is a crucial part of staying connected, which in turn establishes trust in purchasing from them. This means your business is more likely to be top of mind when it comes time for the customer to make that important gifting decision. 

Christmas buying in 2021 is looking very different to the past few years, and if retailers do not act upon this now, they run the risk of having a Christmas sales period unlike any other — and not in the way they were hoping for.

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