2016 Holiday Predictions for Retail Marketers

Make More in Q4

Listrak's retail experts weigh in on the hottest trends and our top forecasts to help you prepare for the 2016 holiday season.

2016 Holiday Predictions for Retail Marketers
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Retailers in the U.S. will promote Singles' Day on November 11

Ross Kramer

Co-Founder, CEO

Cyber Monday and Black Friday combined in the U.S. will still be dwarfed by Singles' Day in China. In 2015, it made 4x more revenue than Cyber Monday."

Aaron Pearson

Product Manager

Singles' Day will come to the U.S. because of the huge amount it produced in China."

Andrew Wingle

Deliverability Strategist

This year we will find many more U.S. retailers marketing on the Chinese holiday Singles' Day. It occurs on 11/11 every year and is the biggest online shopping event in the world. Besting Cyber Monday by more than $10 Billion in 2015, retailers have an opportunity to target a diverse market with a growing spendable income. More U.S. retailers will look to expand on their international sales and Singles' Day offers a great chance for marketers to hit a large demographic expecting to search out the best deals. Email volume in the U.S. on 11/11 will equal Thanksgiving Day volume and total orders will be about 3/4 of Thanksgiving Day."

Holiday promotions will continue to shift towards October

Ross Kramer

Co-Founder, CEO

Retailers will continue to pull the holiday forward towards Halloween as they have the past few years. Sales from these promos will shift revenue forward in the calendar and perhaps lessen the revenue attributed on the actual Black Friday or Cyber Monday dates."

Art Tschopp

Regional Director

Inventory control and distribution strategies will be almost as important as communicating with customers and keeping their contextual purchasing habits managed. Keep those shelves stocked for holiday starting October 1. Everybody knows the holiday season starts earlier and earlier each year and 2016 will not be any different."

Mobile will dominate

Ross Kramer

Co-Founder, CEO

Sales on mobile devices will hit an all-time high."

Carly Povilaitis

Director, Client Services

Mobile will take center stage this holiday season. It will be increasingly adopted in many different forms with leading roles including: mobile apps, beacon technology, SMS, mPOS, and click-and-collect."

Andrew Wingle

Deliverability Strategist

The more traditional marketing holidays will see mobile engagement and purchases outpace desktop by more than 50%. While the majority of recipients currently open on a mobile device, more purchases are completed through a desktop client. With the majority of retailers sending responsive design messages that allow a smooth transition from email to mobile optimized sites, recipients will be better suited to complete their orders on the same device."

Aaron Pearson

Product Manager

Retailers will bridge the gap between responsive sites and responsive emails. Last year, 87% of retailers had responsive sites but only 25.5% of those also had responsive emails. With new technological advancements like Listrak Composer, retailers can easily create responsive emails to deliver the appropriate shopping experience on mobile devices, helping buyers go from click to purchase effortlessly. The email world has been behind the times in terms of mobile optimization. 2016 is the year to put that to bed and start optimizing the mobile experience."

Retailers will deliver a seamless omnichannel shopping experience

Tawnya Amdor

VP, Client Services

Stores are getting more traffic than they have in past years. Retailers need to leverage this trend to drive customers to stores with emails. Create a reason for customers to visit your stores – such as events or giveaways. Then, arm your store associates with iPads so they can search online inventory for expansion of size, color options that may not be sold in the store, or out of stock items. The endless aisle is an added convenience for shoppers while ensuring you get the sale."

Andrew Rotteveel

Director, Product Strategy

Omnichannel retailers that that truly focus their efforts on access to merchandise will win this holiday season and beyond. Today’s consumer expects options for next day delivery with same day processing (even if orders are placed in the later hours of the day), reserve online and pick up in store and order online and ship to or from store. They expect this process to be seamless across channels, with confirmation within minutes, not hours. Retailers that offer more convenience in a timely and efficient manner will have a leg up on the competition in creating brand loyalists."

Julie Wahl

Director of Retail Solutions

Retailers will continue to try to find greater efficiencies in their marketing channels. Using email as a base to effectively drive repeat and valuable traffic to their sites and stores, then leaning on display, mobile, and social to further engage with shoppers using personalized content at every touchpoint. With all the noise in the retail space during the holidays-it becomes increasingly more important to make sure that your messaging is a 1:1 communication from content to timing to channel preference. If they get it right, retailers can save margin, sell more to their existing customers and reach new valuable customers for their brand."

Karen DiClemente

Director, Strategy Services

Retailers will be focusing less on the transaction and more on the interaction this holiday season. Creating unique customer experiences will go a long way in building brand loyalty and keeping those holiday shoppers around long after the season is over. Stores are evolving from simply being a place where products can be purchased into providing distinctive experiences."

Art Tschopp

Regional Director

Retailers with robust CRM tools and digital personalization strategies will win the Holiday this year. Thanksgiving Day was won by eCommerce last year, but in-store sales grew all around the Thanksgiving weekend. It is imperative to track your customer’s journey as traditional purchase behavior has evolved to Contextual Purchasing."

Kate Lowry

VP, Marketing

Online ordering with in-store pickup will continue to rise. Convenience is king! If you miss Black Friday sales, having a convenient process will be critical to shoppers again this year. Everyone is over-scheduled so the brands that understand that will get the sale."

Megan Ouellet

Director, Content Marketing

Consumers have become the Point of Sale. Retailers will do a better job of not only engaging shoppers in multiple channels but they will also provide a more seamless, easy and enjoyable shopping experience online, in-store, on mobile devices and on social sites."

Retailers will personalize messages across touchpoints

Ryan Ogurcak

Account Director

For many retailers, Browse Abandonment campaigns will drive as much revenue as Shopping Cart Abandonment. Some retailers are already experiencing an equal amount of revenue from their Browse Abandonment and Cart Abandonment messages and I see that only increasing towards the holiday season as retailers see an increase in site visitors."

Karen DiClemente

Director, Strategy Services

Although email volume will still be at its highest this holiday season, more and more retailers are becoming savvy about the different subscriber audiences which are on their lists. Expect to see niche promotions, VIP events and personalized content this holiday season. Gone are the days of the one size fits all holiday sale emails!"

Tawnya Amdor

VP, Client Services

Retailers have longed for the ability to foresee what consumers will buy, but today we have one of the most underutilized opportunities and retailers are taking notice. It’s called consumer browse data. Consumers showing intent to purchase is golden and this holiday more and more retailers will be leveraging this data to better serve products that consumers have interest in."

Kate Lowry

VP, Marketing

Segmentation and personalizing content is still increasingly critical and for those retailers that aren’t doing it, they’ll lose marketshare at the holidays, especially among non-loyalists. Being able to personalize content at the holidays is hard when many shoppers are shopping for others, but being creative with personalized campaigns can help."

Megan Ouellet

Director, Content Marketing

Better shopping experiences will trump sales and discounts. Customers make buying decisions based on emotions, and a great experience that is personal to their needs and behaviors will do more to engage them and keep them shopping than just another discount. And it will help you stand out during the busiest time of year."

Retailers will try new things

Brent Shroyer

VP, Product Development

With the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Playstation VR all available to consumers this holiday season, I’m excited to see virtual reality begin to make its way into the mainstream. My prediction is that 2017 will be the year that experimentation with VR will move beyond gaming and into other realms such as virtual social gatherings, data visualizations and even entirely new ways to experience ecommerce."

Matt Vollmer

Product Manager

An interesting trend to watch this year, especially in the third and fourth quarters, is the continued convergence of content marketing and product marketing in the B2C space. Over the past few years we’ve seen more brands become publishers of unique content that truly benefits their audience. These brands generate more than just repeat purchasers – they create brand loyalists and evangelists."

Email volume will continue to rise

Andrew Wingle

Deliverability Strategist

The most obvious prediction is year-over-year volume. Individual retailers will send 20-30% more email than in 2015. However open rates will remain consistent with last year and in some cases may be lower due to the increased volume and competition. Earlier promotions will continue to pick up orders before Black Friday and Cyber Monday but overall all days will see strong growth. Look for more promotions offering free gifts to entice thrifty consumers to complete their orders."