The Complete Guide to Attract Last-Minute Holiday Shoppers (1/3)

how to attract last minute holiday shoppers

Imagine that it’s only one week away to the end of the holiday season, but your sales are still far below the target. The first thing that you should do is stop panicking. Keep in mind that as long as the holiday season is still going, you can secure a spike in revenue by specifically targeting the last-minute buyers.

“90% of customers still have to shop for holiday gifts few days before the holiday ends. The  reason why they are doing last-minute gifts buying is because they are still figuring out what to buy (44.8%), collecting wish lists from friends and families (28.8%), waiting for last-minute holiday sales (22%), and simply procrastinating (20.8%).” – 2015 Holiday Consumer Spending Survey by National Retail Federation

The second thing to do is to understand who exactly are these customers. What are their characteristics? What are they looking for? And the most important thing: what is their shopping behavior?

Most of the last-minute holiday shoppers are in a rush, because they are racing against time. In such a stressful situation, they will prefer a store in which they can browse, buy, and pay in the most convenient way possible. Retailers can make their life easier by reducing the time needed to select and buy gifts. For example, having a tailor-made landing page for holiday sales, offering free gift wrapping, or selling pre-made gift baskets. In order to reach these consumers, retailers should be highly proactive as these shoppers will not have time to look for you. Retailers need to reach out to them first, by sending out email marketing, posting on social media, or making their website more visible.

After knowing their shopping behavior, it is obvious that the key to win their heart is to make everything quick and simple! So… here are a few things that should be included in your holiday campaign if you want to lure in last minute shoppers!

What to do

1. Free expedite shipping day

According to Accent, an omni-channel customer engagement technology vendor, 88% of customers will be more likely to purchase a product from an online shop that offers free shipping. In the case of last-minute holiday shoppers, creating a free expedite shipping day would drive even more traffic as these shoppers want to get their products immediately. Depending on your marketing budget, you can either offer an all day (or weekend) free express shipping to all customers, or limited to customers who have spent on a certain amount of money.

Kiehl's last minute holiday promotion

One week before Christmas, Kiehl’s gives free express shipping, free deluxe duo set of Kiehl’s favorite, and 3 samples for order minimum $50

Additionally, offering gift wrapping service may increase the number of last-minute holiday shoppers flocking to your business. Offering this service for free will add value to the product, while offering it specifically to only customers with purchase above (for example) €50 will create incentives to order products with higher value.

2. Surprise sale

A great reason why retailers should consider including surprise sales into their marketing campaign is because many shoppers deliberately postpone their holiday shopping until nearly the end of holiday season, hoping that retailers drop prices further (National Retail Federation Survey, 2015). Customers know that retailers may want to clear up their inventory for the upcoming products and thus throw more discounts at the end of the season.

Kate Spade surprise sale coupon for last minute holiday shoppers

Kate Spade is one of the brands that annually throws a surprise sale to pamper their customers

However, discount calculation should be done carefully so it will not eat up the profits. For example, offering bigger discounts for items that are not selling well and smaller discounts for popular items. In order to bring in more last-minute holiday shoppers, retailers can try to offer bundle discounts as it is easier for customers who are planning to buy a bunch of holiday gifts in only one place. It is also important to set a limited period of time for the deals, because it will create a sense of urgency for customers. Thus, they are triggered to shop immediately.

3. Gift cards giveaway

Gift cards are gaining popularity and there are plenty of reasons for both retailers and (last-minute) holiday shoppers to love them! Gift cards not only help retailers to drive more sales from new and repeat customers, they also prevents customers from buying unwanted gifts for their friends and families.

“Gift card is the second most popular gift that consumers plan on giving (46%) and it ranks as the number one gifts that customers would like to receive (38%).” – Deloitte’s 2015 Holiday Survey

For retailers, gift cards can bring more customers through the door even if it is not holiday season. It encourages recipients to go to your store, browse products, and eventually spend their money. A study in 2015 by First Data shows that 69% of customers shopping with a gift card in-hand end up purchasing more than their gift cards’ value and the amount overspent is steadily increasing over the last three years. It is often the case that customers will choose a product that has the same or a slightly higher value to ensure that they get every penny they deserve. Resulting them to pay the remaining balance with their own money. As many of the retailers said, once you pop, you can’t stop!

For customers, especially last minute holiday shoppers, gift cards can save a lot of time spent on choosing the perfect holiday gifts. As these shoppers would not put a lot of thought into gift giving, they will prefer to buy gift cards to specific gifts. It makes the gifting task so much easier and worry-free, because recipients will have freedom to purchase the products that they desire. Hence, customers could never go wrong when buying gift cards as a present!

Check out our blog next week to know how to do all of those cool stuffs above the right way! 

Alifa Shabrina

Alifa is Countr's Marketing Specialist. She is on a mission to help retailers run their business better with her articles. She mostly writes about trends, tips and tricks, or any retail-related topics!

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