It’s only a matter of weeks until Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is you’ starts playing on the radio for another year. In this opinion piece, Pinterest AUNZ Country Manager Carin Lee-Skelton [pictured below] runs through her tips for brands preparing for the festive season.
With a flurry of memes alerting us to how few Fridays there are until Christmas, the festive season seems to reach fever pitch earlier each year. While that may evoke groans from some, it’s clear there is consumer demand as people start to search shoppable online platforms for Christmas inspiration as early as July.
Last year, Australians were projected to spend an average of $537 on Christmas shopping – about $11 billion collectively – and many were ‘last-minute’ shoppers with almost one in 10 leaving their purchasing until Christmas Eve (Commonwealth Bank, 2018). Anyone who’s tried leaving gift purchases to the last possible moment knows the pressure that comes from not knowing what to buy. This is a particular moment and mindset where marketers have a big opportunity to inspire consumers.
While Christmas campaigns are kicking-off earlier each year, marketers need to engage consumers right up to the 25th December. This means locking larger-scale, higher budget initiatives early, then building in ways to inspire last-minute shoppers closer to Christmas, which can prove to be just as valuable – if not more so.
Evolving and fine-tuning digital marketing strategies is still a relatively new frontier for many brands. Today’s path to purchase includes more touchpoints than ever before, many of which go beyond the convenience and ease of transacting. There’s a new emphasis on creating experiences that inspire consumers and in our new world of one-click purchases and instant delivery, it’s easy to forget that people still love to browse and want to experience the magic of shopping. Sparking inspiration that drives desire and an interest in exploring possibilities – that is what ultimately fuels new purchase behaviours.
Even in the online environment, brands still need to bring the magic of shopping to life – replicating the feeling of walking into a mall filled with the world’s best ideas – because people visit shoppable online platforms to be inspired, and connected to the source of that inspiration. Platforms are introducing improved personalisation capabilities that enable people to discover products they will love by connecting ideas that inspire them with products that match their taste – a unique role in today’s consumer journey, especially for gift buying. Content is increasingly curated to individual user tastes so that feeds can become personal stylists and shoppable wishlists.
We know this to be particularly true for Christmas, when shoppers go online to discover new ideas. Ninety-two per cent of Australian Pinterest users search online for a product or service they want to buy, while 66 per cent say it provides last-minute Christmas ideas and 87 per cent say brands help them find the right products when planning for Christmas (Toluna, Winter holiday survey, March 2018). These people have purchasing power and intent – they are 39 per cent more likely to be active retail shoppers, and when they shop, they spend 29 per cent more than people who don’t use Pinterest (Oracle Data Cloud May 2017).
Brands investing in digital marketing for the holidays need to excite audiences with rich content that illustrates how their products fit into shoppers’ everyday lives, highlighting unique features and making those products more discoverable and informative. This type of more immersive experience and deeper brand story is easier than ever before to create thanks to evolving digital platform features.
As Christmas planning and shopping becomes an increasingly online experience, brands have an opportunity to evolve traditional holiday campaigns to include new platforms, tools and content that capture and inspire the holiday season purchasing mindset. Consumers are using shoppable online platforms at an increasing rate to plan their Christmas shopping and festivities, and are seeking inspiration from brands – searching, saving and acting on the brands and ideas that help them tick off their Christmas list. To take advantage of this, brands need to engage consumers on the right platform, with the right content at the right time – from the moment the first piece of tinsel goes up, right through until Santa’s sleigh takes flight.