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2023 Holiday Shopping Season Planning – Get It Done!

By Deborah Kurfiss, Umbrella Content Marketing Director on Sep 22, 2023

Nobody needs to tell you that the holiday season is the most important time of the year for retail, both ecommerce and walk-in stores. If you have a client with a retail business, it’s past time to start planning for the 2023 holiday shopping season. This isn’t the time to slack off! Planning is critical to success for the season.

1. Review Last Year’s Performance

A necessary step to excel in the 2023 holiday shopping season is to analyze your client’s data for what worked and what didn’t last year.


What approaches, creative and messages resonated with your client’s audience and motivated them to buy last year? What fell flat?

Popular and Not-So-Popular Products

We can’t always predict what’s going to be a hit or miss. What was popular last holiday season and what wasn’t? Has that changed throughout the year and why? Are sales on an item increasing or declining since last holiday season?

Customer Feedback

Check your client’s customer feedback regarding compliments and complaints. Did customers complain about shipping or receiving goods on time? Are there testimonials you might be able to use from satisfied customers? Did some products run out while there was still high demand?

2. Analyze Changes in Your Client’s Customer Base

Check to see if your client’s customer base has changed and track those demographics. If so, the products you promote need to change with the clientele. This is a good time to update your clients’ customer personas (customer avatars). Then be sure to segment your marketing according to your different types of customers and where they are in the sales cycle.

3. Understand Your Client’s Market in 2023


Although your client’s data about what worked for them last holiday season is important, you also need to stay on top of what is happening in the market and the world. Keep up with the times and don’t assume last year’s big seller will be this year’s hit.

Market changes can happen quickly. Retail is heavily influenced by popular trends. Movies are forgotten, music fades in popularity and what was in last year can be a fashion don’t the next year.

The Competitors

Competitors also change their tactics, so you need to keep an eagle eye on them. Let’s consider Amazon for 2023. If you’re an ecommerce retailer, you need to know that Amazon is planning to host a Prime Day October 10 to 11 in 2023. You also need to know that Amazon may be telling their sellers to offer their holiday discounts and deals earlier this year.

This means your clients should not wait too long to offer discounts if they plan to do so. If they wait, they may find that their prospects have already bought the same merchandise at a holiday discount from Amazon sellers. The same may be said for other deals such as bundles, gifts with purchase, exclusive deals for loyal customers and the like.

4. Prioritize Social Media for Holiday Shopping 2023

People are increasingly using social media such as Instagram and Facebook to shop. Today, almost half of the world’s population are social media users, and that percentage increases every year. Shoppers are shifting their search for the perfect gift to social media platforms. And as they get more socially savvy, they’ll want higher-quality content and smoother buying experiences.

If your client has a brick and mortar shop but no ecommerce presence, they should still be posting to social media and advertising on social media.  According to Salesforce, half of consumers went to a brick and mortar store that they found on social media.

In fact, Salesforce predicts that “Social media advertising will drive 10 times more online holiday shopping visits than traditional marketing” for the 2023 holiday shopping season.

5. Offer Superior Shipping Options and In-Store Pickup

People want to feel secure that their items will arrive timely and intact when they order online. Offering expedited shipping, free or very reasonable shipping and in-store pickup (if you client also has a brick and mortar store) can often tilt the customer towards making a purchase. And remember, people don’t want to get a deal on a purchase just to be expected to pay a relative fortune for shipping.

If your client has both an ecommerce site and a brick and mortar store, keep in mind that if you offer a buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) option, many shoppers will buy more while they are at the store for pickup. Other shoppers specifically look for a BOPIS option before buying, which is particularly attractive to last minute shoppers.

6. Be Flexible with Returns

Along with the product itself and shipping policy, a company’s return policy is extremely important to customers. 93% of consumers check out a company’s return policy before taking the plunge. But when they do make a return, if the experience is bad, 81% of customers never buy from that brand again.

Return policy is so important that you shouldn’t keep it buried on your website. You may even want to talk about your great return policy in social media posts and email. Nordstrom has become famous for theirs.

7. Be Strategic with Your Email

It’s important that you strategically plan your email rather than just bombard your customers.

  • Plan a series of emails leading up to the holiday season, highlighting deals, gift ideas, and reminding customers of shipping deadlines.
  • For returning customers, personalize email recommendations based on past purchases.
  • Less can be more. Work on making your email stand out with enticing subject lines, creativity, value and offers rather than bombarding customers with too much email.
  • Take time with your subject line. You will find a very useful took at that will evaluate your email subject lines for free.
  • Be mindful of customer segments and sales funnel when crafting emails.

8. Brainstorm How to Incorporate Video

We’ve said this many times now. Video is hot, and it grabs customer attention. It encourages engagement. People on average watch short form videos for over 40% of their duration, and 30% of people watch over 81% of videos according to a Hubspot study. Use video in your comprehensive social media strategies that include organic content and paid ads as well as on clients’ websites and advertisements.

Keep in mind you can sell directly on many social media platforms these days such as by adding shoppable tags in Instagram Reels and Stories.

Need Help with the 2023 Holiday Shopping Season?

To schedule a free consultation, complete the form here or call us at (866) 760-2638.

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