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Tackle Holiday Marketing & Payments in 2016

Posted, by Deborah Merkin
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In the heat of the holiday shopping season, merchants ask themselves things like, “How many consumers are shopping on mobile?,” or “What will my omnichannel mix look like this year?”, and “How do we balance the quantity and timing of discounts and promotions?” Let’s take a fresh look at each of these questions:

Mobile Payments and Coupons

Mobile coupons and mobile marketing will play an increasingly important role in holiday marketing plans this year. According to a BDO Retail Compass Survey, 58% of CMO’s are planning to leverage mobile in their marketing strategies this holiday season. This jives well with a study completed earlier this year by Valassis, which indicates that 38% of consumers are planning to use more mobile coupons than in previous years. Also, 72% of consumers indicated using mobile devices to search for coupons or discounts while in-store. This gives merchants the power to incorporate in-store mobile coupons into their promotional calendar as a secondary layer of promotions to gain momentum mid-season. However, since most merchants or groups of merchants are not focusing on in-store mobile promotions, those that do use this tactic will have an advantage in the market. 

Is Omnichannel Still Relevant?

In a word, yes. Omnichannel shopping is still relevant for consumers. Many consumers will research in one channel, while looking for discounts, promotions or coupons in another, and then even shop in a third. It is extremely important for merchants to deliver a cohesive shopping experience to engage consumers. The BDO survey respondents indicated that 64% of marketers are familiar with omnichannel marketing tactics and about 33% are planning to use omnichannel strategies to adjust their holiday tactics mid-season. Clearly this 33% have a significant advantage over the competition. Planning secondary promotions across channels could change your bottom line this holiday season.

Balancing Promotional Calendars

This is the holy grail of holiday marketing. When do you discount? When do you put out your best promotions? What channel(s) do you use? According to PYMNTS.com, about one third of merchants will focus their marketing strategy on targeted ads, with the same number putting their spend into social media apps, advertising on Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook. 20% will use branded apps, and only 12% will focus on flash sales. 80% of those surveyed worked for merchants who were planning to focus on consistent pricing. This is worth mentioning, as it differs from the usual strategy of deep discounting. It is possible that a better economy, coupled with a consistently low unemployment rate, will allow merchants to keep prices steady and still keep sales strong.


The 2016 holiday season looks promising for merchants, with some retailers predicting as much as a 5% increase in sales over last year, the largest in recent years. Ensuring you have the right mix and the right timing to reach consumers and be heard over the rest of the holiday marketing noise can make or break your year. Are you ready for the home stretch?

Topics: Gift Card Trends, Omnichannel, Retailers & Merchants, Holiday

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