Market leaders’ strategies for the final shopping journey

As retailers and brands head into the final stages of the holiday shopping season, they are faced with thrifty shoppers waiting for discounts and looking for deals. This makes it challenging for companies to maintain margins and move inventory.

WWD asked solution providers, fintech companies and brands to suggest some ideas and tactics to boost sales and maximize conversions. Here are their observations.

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Prerna Bhushan, senior vice president of growth marketing at cart.com

Brands that offer expedited 2-day shipping for last-minute shoppers as a higher purchase point promo, i.e. ‘free 2-day shipping with $100 purchase’, or in combination with other discounts to encourage a larger shopping cart or “buy more and save” offers should see solid ROI in the final weeks of the year.

It’s also a good time to shift the message from gift giving to “now that you’re done shopping for all your friends and family, give yourself a gift” and offer an additional gift for yourself with a new purchase at the brand. This tactic works well to keep customer acquisition efforts going while consumers are still in the buying mindset.

Brands have spent a lot of money collecting customer acquisition data throughout the fourth quarter and this is allowing them to maximize their ROI on campaigns – whether it’s PMAX for Google, Adv plus for Meta, TikTok stores or other dynamic remarketing efforts. This is a great option for brands that can’t or don’t want expedited shipping.

Kristen D’Arcy, head of marketing at True Religion

Don’t underestimate influencers as powerful drivers for new customer acquisition. Delivering engaging content across social channels, DTC touchpoints and in-store can reach new audiences and increase last-minute gift purchases, just like we’re seeing here at True Religion.

It’s also critical for retailers to keep shoppers engaged with compelling brand content and messaging during key shopping times, such as the holidays.

Rohan Deuskar, Founder and CEO of Stylitics

This time of year, people are looking for a cheat sheet: what to wear for the holidays, the upcoming trip, etc. Even if you don’t have any clothing recommendations, your content on social media, in email, and on landing pages should tell a ‘bear it with’ story.

Show products in the context of occasions. If you can create custom collections, tie products to end-of-year occasions and themes.

Will Eadie, Chief Revenue Officer at WorkJam

Staff shortages and employee engagement remain huge challenges for the retail industry.

Retailers who invest in technology and training designed specifically for their frontline workforce see double-digit improvements in productivity and customer satisfaction and reduced absenteeism by up to 16 percent.

The best solutions have an app-based offering that connects the front line to headquarters and provides real-time communication in each employee’s native language, digital training and development, rewards and recognition, flexible scheduling with rapid pay, and task management tools.

By 2023, these solutions will help retailers bridge language barriers, create a more inclusive and productive work environment, and accelerate the training, development and advancement of their frontline workforce.”

Purva Gupta, co-founder and CEO of Lily AI

Retailers can leverage the speed of AI to assign trend-based themes to every item across the entire product catalog, so that when a customer visits the site and searches for the latest TikTok trend, they’re ready to quickly inspire and convert with a highly relevant, AI-curated range. Finding the perfect gift also reduces the chance of returns.

Don’t forget the gift of giving to yourself. When your products are properly tagged with customer-facing features and she visits your site looking for the classic “office party outfit” or “New Year’s Eve dress,” you can close the deal quickly.

Nandan Sheth, CEO of Splitit

The holiday shopping season is a marathon, not a sprint. Retailers must have a plan to acquire last-minute shoppers and maximize their sales potential. Retailers can ensure a successful holiday season by offering attractive deals and highlighting fast shipping options.

At this point in the holiday shopping cycle, two critical components to success are fast and accurate shipping options and late-stage discount offers. It’s important for late holiday shopping consumers to know they’re still getting a good deal and that it will arrive on time.

Neha Singh, Founder and CEO of Obsess

More than two-thirds of today’s consumers play video games and expect all their digital interactions to be gamified. Retailers can incorporate quick-win gameplay elements into their holiday sales strategies, whether that’s by adding an additional loyalty incentive or creating a digital scavenger hunt for exclusive gift items. Last holiday, Obsess created a virtual store for a fine jewelry brand in which visitors were 10 times more likely to add something to a cart after playing a game within the experience.

Where content used to be king, context has taken over – and brands must strategically surround their holiday products and promotions with images that add context to why consumers need them now. For example, immersive 3D retail environments allow brands to present their products and content in a highly visual, educational way (i.e. a skincare brand can show the long-term effects of sun damage during holiday vacations by virtually delving into layers of the skin).

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