Ramping Up Influencer Marketing Efforts This Holiday Shopping Season

Archana Mishra
Senior Content Writer.
September 14, 2022
7
min read

Preparations for the holiday shopping season have already started. With Amazon planning to hold a major holiday shopping event in October and Walmart offering more price "rollback" than in previous years on a wide array of toys, brands expect the market to remain competitive ahead of the holiday season. In fact, it can be attributed to inflation-strained shoppers spreading their purchases this time. 

At least 37% of customers, in the wake of inflation, will start their holiday shopping earlier, reveals a survey by Salesforce conducted in June. Last year, 31% of U.S. shoppers started their holiday shopping by June. Google's 2021 consumer insight data reveals that 37% of shoppers who shopped last holiday season wished they had started earlier.

Particularly, with Covid-19 changing shopping behavior, businesses anticipate the demand for eCommerce to remain high. At the same time, footfall to the brick-mortar store will soar with more chances of people gathering for the first time in 3 years for holiday shopping. According to marketers, the expected new norm could be Omnichannel Shopping - the merging of online and offline shopping. 

Shoppers will look online to find nearby shops for buying gifts. It happened last season when Google Maps noticed this trend of "gift shops near me" rising globally by over 60% yearly. Brands cannot wait till autumn to start their marketing activities for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Diwali, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, and New Year.

To stand out, brands must create anticipation and excitement among the target audiences. It is possible by supercharging your marketing campaigns with influencer marketing. Let shopping influencers or shop style influencers talk about your products, holiday discount offers, coupon codes, special hampers, etc., on social media channels and drive engagement and conversions. All you need is sufficient time by your side to spread word of mouth, even if it is a day-long or a month-long sale. 

Holiday Shopping Season:  Post-Pandemic and Rising Inflation 

In 2021, despite supply chain problems, rising inflation, labor shortages, and the Covid-19 omicron variant, retailers closed the year with outstanding annual retail sales and a record holiday season, according to the Washington-based National Retail Federation. Data shows that retail sales, including online and other non-store sales, in November-December 2021 grew 14.1 % over 2020 to USD 886.7 billion. Since the price hike has hit a 40-year-high across different countries, purchasing patterns will impact. Such as, 

1. More experimentation with buying products

Consumers will experiment with buying products like apparel, toys, gift cards, home goods, home electronics, and jewelry. Instead of going with the usual ones, the chances of buying a product from a new brand remain high. Need-based giving will be the strong driver of new-brand purchases, holding a massive opportunity for brands to gain people's attention and get high conversions through precise targeting. 

2. Online marketplaces to thrive more 

Online marketplaces - where a third party can list and sell their products- will capture most of the eCommerce spending. Due to discounts, holiday offers, and timely delivery services, marketplaces like Amazon gain more traction during holidays. A 2021 Bain & Company holiday shopping survey shows that 77% of U.S. consumers plan to do at least some of their holiday shopping online, of which 90% plan to buy from Amazon. Marketers are estimating the same trend to continue this year. 

3. Consumers to spread out their purchase 

Amid the price hike on all consumer goods, shoppers have been stretching their budgets. People will start purchasing the products early, a few months before Christmas. Those with disposable incomes will start shopping early and spread out their purchases over a longer period. It will help them buy products without going beyond their dedicated budget. 

4. Omnichannel Shopping

Many market experts envision the future of shopping to be personalized, uniting social media, in-app, and brick-and-mortar stores. The trend has already started. Customer Insight by Google in 2021 shows that only 4% of U.S. holiday shoppers did not use any digital channel for shopping. Mobile is turning out to be the most effective channel for reaching omnichannel shoppers. 

5. In-store

Since 2021, there has been a noticeable increase in shopping traffic. According to Yahoo Finance, footfall is still 44% lower than during the pandemic, but it has increased since 2021. Instead, small businesses have seen a 53% increase in traffic nationwide, according to market research. Experts are monitoring the trends in foot traffic to brick-and-mortar stores, though.

Marketing During The Holiday Shopping Season

 

1. Social Media

Social media is essential if any brand wants to prosper over the holiday season. TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Snapchat are already fierce competitors for the title of next-generation tool for product discovery. With nearly 57% of the world's population likely to join social media by 2025, brands still have a massive opportunity to promote their holiday specials, share gift ideas, and increase traffic to their physical and online stores using these platforms.

Read More: Why TikTok is the new product discovery tool? 

2. Search Engines 

Search engines are always the best choice for new items or holiday gift suggestions. Online searches for "gift ideas" spike in November and December, making it all the more important for companies to have elaborate gifting ideas and well-planned inventory lists. Plus, an engaging content marketing strategy can boost traffic from organic searches by helping websites rank on Google pages.

3. Paid Advertising

Studies show that product advertisements on social media help brands become known. Above all, it helps them connect with potential customers who might buy their products. At least 40% of social media users spend at least $50 on advertisements to buy gifts, according to a 2019 study by Smartly.io, a social media advertising automation platform.

4. Free rewards

Who doesn't like free stuff on holiday? Rewards can be anything, a gift for one or many shoppers. Hosting a giveaway is a way to incentivize your subscribers. You could hold a contest where participants tweet about the item on their wish list and mention your brand. But as a brand, you should be selective about what you give.

5. Email

Consumers often buy something as a result of receiving marketing emails. According to data, a brand can expect an ROI of $36 for every dollar spent on email marketing. These emails are more effective when personalized as a quick method of contacting customers. Brands can advertise holiday gift guides, gift-specific category pages, and more through their email campaign. 

6. Festive Discounts

Festive discounts for this year's holiday season have already started. According to a report by CNN Business, marketers at Best Buy, Ultra, Gap, and other top chains anticipate a shopping season full of sales. Discounts on clothing, televisions, beauty products, sporting goods, and other goods will be available to shoppers, making the market more competitive this time.  

7. Gift cards

The craze for gift cards, which allows customers to redeem them for valuable goods or services online or in stores, is soaring every year. According to Square's 2021 holiday retail report, e-gift card sales increased by 29%, while physical gift card sales increased by 46%.

8. Influencers

It is indisputable that brands turn to holiday influencers, shopping influencers or shop style influencers as a top option to boost engagement and ROI. Suppose you've never used influencer marketing before to reach out to a target audience on social media, engage with them, drive sales, and develop a following. In that case, we detail how you can plan and execute it. An influencer marketing platform like affable.ai helps you find and manage influencers and measure their effectiveness. 

Influencer Marketing To Reach Target Audience 

Influencer marketing is now more important than ever. Meta's 2021 Seasonal Holidays Study by YouGov found that 30% of holiday shoppers surveyed are more likely to trust a brand that partners with a trustworthy creator. The Creator economy got supercharged during the pandemic, which gave rise to a new generation of shopping influencers. The creator economy is booming, with influencer marketing spending in the U.S. reaching $4 billion this year. Influencers are now a mainstay of marketing budgets.

"Considering influencers are an integral part of marketing, social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram have upped their game by introducing creator marketplaces to ease the collaboration between influencers and brands. Even Shopify, an eCommerce store, recently introduced Shopify Collab to build upon integration.  

There can be multiple ways to run an influencer marketing campaign. It can be done manually, via an agency, or through an automated tool to run various campaigns. AI-driven tools have a global database like affable.ai has 6M+ profiles. It streamlines the campaign workflow, from sending the campaign proposal to product gifting, fixed payments, and content rights. The tool also collects necessary data like engagement and sales to measure the success of your campaign.

For holiday campaigns, it is ideal for a brand to outreach long-term brand partners. But an influencer marketing campaign has to be strategized months before upcoming festivals for precise targeting. Second, shopping influencers, too, will spend time with their family during the peak holiday season, so they won't be available. And third, achieve lower conversion costs and create a loyal customer base. 

There are different influencer marketing strategies you can adopt to run campaigns.  

Different Influencer Marketing Strategies

1. Discount Through Affiliates

Running an influencer affiliate campaign is a good idea because many people prefer social media and rely on word-of-mouth advertising. You can give discount codes to each influencer chosen for the campaign through the affiliate program. This process is made simpler by connecting your online store to influencer marketing platforms like affable.ai. Discount codes are generated automatically for each influencer. Through these codes, brands can keep track of sales and make it simple for you to pay a commission to each one.

2. Run Giveaways

You can collaborate with shopping influencers to promote holiday giveaways. You can request that they follow your social media page or share the announcement post on their specific channel via posts or stories. It will increase the number of people who visit your physical store. You can develop a unique giveaway or freebies for customers who visit your store, which these influencers will advertise. Your engagement rate and overall traffic will rise, both online and offline.

3. Social Media Takeover

Social media takeover happens when you collaborate with an influencer in your niche and grant them access to your company's social media pages. In a broad sense, you give an influencer posting rights and let them post what, when, and how they want for a brief period. It could be for a few hours, a day, or longer on Instagram, Snapchat, or other social media sites. It increases reach to new audiences and followers, raises engagement, and raises brand awareness.

4. Creating  a Brand Community 

A community gives buyers the confidence to pull the trigger. Generally, customers look for others who can vouch for the product. And the community instills that spirit to go ahead with the purchase. A community is like a customer service extension for a brand that shares best practices, increasing the potential customers' knowledge. Influencers help brands get traction from people who like your products or services and help create a community. 

5. Live-stream shopping event

In July 2022, YouTube partnered with Shopify to enhance the social media users' shopping experience. It allows shopping or shop style influencers and retailers to sell goods directly through live streams, helps engage new customers, and gains customer loyalty and trust. Although Meta and TikTok gave up on their live-shopping plans in the USA and Europe, the practice is still popular in Southeast Asia.

5 Brands That Used Influencer Marketing  For Holiday Shopping Season

1. Calvin Klein 

                                                 Source: Calvin Klein Instagram Account. 

Calvin Klein, a lifestyle brand, ran an influencer marketing campaign in 2019 to assist holiday shoppers in finding the ideal presents. Because word-of-mouth advertising encourages people to buy a product, C.K. collaborated with specialized fashion and lifestyle influencers to produce a series of video gifts for its Instagram community. C.K. also planned a gathering in New York City for influencers. 

To increase organic reach, they created holiday-specific content to post on social media. Influencers tried their products at the event and gave guests a reason to believe in their brand. The company also added product tags to make it easier for users to purchase their favorite items in-app.

2. Look Fantastic

                                                   Source: Look Fantastic Website

An online British beauty boutique - Look Fantastic - #BeautyinWonderland campaign recreates the Mad-Tea Hatter's Party from Alice in Wonderland. Each influencer dressed as a different character for the special gathering, where the table was laden with cosmetics, such as straighteners dangling from branches around the table and candlesticks used to hold lipsticks. Influencer Camila Thurlow transformed into Alice, and the look was created using products like Show Beauty and MAC. 

Influencer Chloe Lewis took a starring role as the Queen of Hearts alongside AJ Odudu, and Meg Says. The advertisement used eight micro-influencers and a mix of well-known and lesser-known influencers to raise brand awareness and help current and potential customers connect with the brand.

 

3. Milton and Goose 

 

                                                  Source: Milton and Goose Instagram Account

Milton and Goose, a company based in the USA that creates wooden play kitchen sets and accessories, launched a campaign in 2021 to gain the trust of prospective customers by giving away items and offering discounts. In conjunction with the holiday marketing campaign, they desired to reward their customers. 

The company ran an influencer marketing campaign to generate user-generated content for its advertising campaign because it understood that consumers took a lot of time researching deals before making a purchase decision. The business aimed to attract new clients using social proof and discount coupons. They collaborated with influencers to run a $300 Instagram giveaway to draw holiday shoppers. The company benefited from increased customer loyalty and higher conversion rates.

4. Lego 

                                                  Source: Lego Instagram Account

Lego's #BuildToGive campaign has been running for the past five years. The company works with mom and family influencers to build a star out of Lego blocks. The LEGO Group donates a set to children in need, including those in hospitals, children's homes, and vulnerable communities, for each star built and shared on social media using the hashtag. 

The company gave away over a million sets in 2021, and this year they want to help 8 million kids worldwide during the Christmas season. Mommy influencer Maddie Moate, who has 145K YouTube subscribers, published a video detailing her children's enjoyable experience participating in this campaign. She shared a video explaining how to create snowflakes out of Lego blocks.

5. Daniel Wellington 

Source: Instagram

Daniel Wellington has done a great job of establishing a market for itself through influencer marketing. The brand collaborated with influencers in 2019 to promote holiday sales during the Christmas season. 

To boost ROI, they made use of affiliate marketing's power. Influencers created touchpoints with online customers by sharing the message of getting 50% off on certain items, free accessories with a watch purchase, or an additional 15% discount using the promo code. Influencers asked customers to indicate whether they planned to treat themselves or a loved one during Black Friday to personalize the experience.

Wrap up

It might not be the case that customers will wait till Black Friday or Cyber Monday to begin shopping this holiday season. Customers fear that prices will increase close to the December holidays and poor availability of products on stacks. The motivation to shop early can be varied for customers this time. But the brand's interest is to make its customers do holiday shopping beforehand. 

Companies can push their marketing strategy using influencers, one of the easiest ways to create a buzz around the holiday season offers. An influencer management platform like affable.ai will support you in finding the perfect shopping influencers in your niche, managing every step without letting you get buried deep down into spreadsheets and measuring conversions- all in one platform. To learn more about us, get a free trial!

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