Mother’s Day founder, Anna Jarvis, never imagined, nor wanted, her beloved holiday to be the moneymaker it is. She’d marked the day as a tribute to her own mother, who’d given her time to so many. Anna’s hope was that other children would, like her, use the day to visit with and thank their moms for all they’ve done. So, it may come as no surprise to learn that, to her, its commercialization was a disgrace. She fought it tooth and nail, burning through a large inheritance and even petitioning to have the holiday abolished. That was until it landed her in a sanitarium. The ironic twist? The companies that benefited most from the rise of Mother’s Day paid for her care.
Today, Mother’s Day takes third place among U.S. retail holidays, and it is just around the corner. But first, 87% of Americans will celebrate Easter, also a top-five retail holiday. Is your retail marketing strategy poised to take a share of the upcoming spending sprees associated with Spring holidays?
The “Other” Retail Holidays
With St. Patrick’s Day just behind us, we know the Irish holiday was expected to bring in a record $5.3 billion in retail sales. This number is up almost $1 billion over last year. The youngest generations were expected to do most of the spending, Millennials and Gen Z. So, does its success signal good news for our more traditional retail spring holidays, like Easter, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day?
In 2016, Easter and Father’s Day broke 13-year National Retail Federation (NRF) survey records at $17.3 billion and $14.3 billion, respectively. And, Mother’s Day held steady with previous year’s sales at $21.4 billion. For 2017, Kiplinger predicts an almost 4% increase, though recent numbers for some retailers, like Urban Outfitters and Express, may signal otherwise.
Urban Outfitters’ CEO says the problem is an “overabundance of retail stores.” The competition led to deep discounting, giving way to lower margins. These promotions, combined with slower mall traffic, are concerns for the CEO of Express. So, how can retailers drive traffic and stand out without minimizing revenue?
6 Retail Marketing Strategy Ideas for 2017 Spring Holidays
Based on previous NRF surveys, 75- to 80-percent of shoppers will visit a physical retailer to make their Easter, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day purchases. Many will look to department stores, while others will shop discount and specialty stores and local or small businesses. Be the one they choose with one or more of the following retail marketing strategy ideas.
1. Engage an influencer.
There’s good reason 84% of marketers plan to invest in influencer marketing over the next 12 months. Consumers trust these experts to guide them in purchases. And that makes their partnership beneficial to a business’ bottom line. In fact, Twitter reports almost 40% of its users have made a purchase because of an influencer’s tweet. Let your organization reap the rewards, too, when you bring a relevant influencer in-store in the weeks before a holiday. Entice them to spread the word with their followers. Then, “staff up” to give increased shoppers the one-on-one attention they need.
[Tweet “Retailers must stand out & drive traffic while protecting revenue. Event mkting is the solution.”]
2. Add value to their visit.
Your retail organization can add value to its in-store experience in many ways. One is by offering rewards or discounts for next purchases or free samples with current buys. Another tactic is to team up with a complementary retailer or service provider. For example, a home goods store may bring in a personal chef for cookware demonstrations. The personal chef helps drive more or new traffic. He or she gains exposure and the opportunity to offer their own promotions. And shoppers gain the confidence they need to purchase the cookware.
3. Make the sale with an experience.
Even when not engaging another company, retailers should always create an experience. If you visited a Best Buy store at Christmas, you likely saw shoppers lining up to take their turn on a virtual reality headset. This is a great example of how getting your products out of boxes encourages your consumers to get hands on. And, according to EventTrack 2015, this kind of simple initiative can make 78% of people more inclined to make a purchase. Other proven methods can include event games, like raffle draws and prize wheels, or VR and technological experiences. Whichever you choose, be sure to incorporate social media to boost your return on engagement (ROE).
4. Combine the power of online with in-store.
A recent survey confirms the efficacy of an omnichannel approach. It reports various “digital touchpoints” get “Generation Z to identify the products they want, before pushing them in-store to purchase.” That’s right; even in this tech-driven world, our youngest consumers prefer to make purchases in person. They want to “see, hold and try on products” and “engage with store associates.” So, tell a compelling story online to get their attention. Then, solidify your personal relationship with Gen Z shoppers when they step through your doors.
5. Rely on technology when possible.
Despite the need to be more personal with shoppers, technology still has its place in store. A survey conducted by the International Council of Shopping Centers found consumers “want more technology integrated into their shopping experience.” This may be for efficiency, such as an app that tells consumers exactly where to find a product. Or, it could be for insight, or even for fun. One example is Bud Light’s virtual fitting room for its new apparel line. Another is Sephora’s Fragrance IQ, in-store technology that gives perfume recommendations based on how a person responds to quiz questions. These methods enhance a shopper’s experience.
6. Put yourself in front of traffic.
If your retail store isn’t in a high-traffic location, a smart move is to get out and get in front of consumers. And, you have two options for doing so – a street team or a pop-up shop. If you have a product that would be a hot gift for women, send brand ambassadors to where the men are. This may be barber shops, sports bars, golf courses or gun ranges. These individuals can engage your target customer and tell them about your offering or even make sales on the spot. On the other hand, a pop-up shop allows you to display multiple products. It also provides configurable space to let consumers get hands on and experience your brand the exact way you want.
Two Important Considerations for Your Spring Holiday Retail Marketing Strategy
No matter the retail marketing strategy you choose to implement, an important first step is to evaluate consumer data. The details you have may reveal preferences or suggestions for improvement. For example, if your customers feel your level of service is low, a fun event may positively impact your relationship. Or, should they find your brand stale, an influencer marketing campaign may refresh their perception.
Another consideration is staffing. Be sure you have enough people to give your shoppers the one-on-one attention you need to keep everyone engaged. If they don’t get the answers or assistance they need, they may look elsewhere. Temporary event staff carefully chosen by a reputable agency can carry out any retail marketing strategy and lend to your success.
EPS has provided event staffing services to retail clients across the country for more than 18 year. Contact us to learn how we can drive results for your retail marketing strategy.