Social Media is Changing How We Shop for the Holidays

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If you’re looking for ways to save money on your holiday shopping, social media offers several ways to help you stretch your personal budget. On the same token, if you are a company looking to market to consumers who are doing their holiday shopping online, there are several ways to reach them through social media. 

First, there are several statistics that show how huge online shopping during the holiday season has become:

  1. Double-digit growth is expected early on Cyber Monday (up 15 percent) and Black Friday (up 17 percent), while Thanksgiving will be the fastest-growing online shopping day (up 21 percent) in 2013.
  2. This year will be the shortest online shopping season with only 27 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. That’s six days less to shop than in 2012. While online sales are still expected to grow by 12 percent, the abbreviated season will cut a whopping $1.5 billion in potential online sales for retailers.
  3. Ninety-four percent of consumers polled said that discounts will be important to their purchase decisions this holiday season, 20% plan to spend more on gifts this year over 2012. In fact, 46% expect to exceed their 2013 holiday budgets.
  4. Ninety percent of 2013 U.S. holiday retail sales will occur in brick-and-mortar stores. But don’t discount digital. Online holiday sales are expected to hit $82 billion this year.
  5. More consumers (42 percent) plan to shop more on their smartphones or tablets this year compared to a year ago. But not a lot of the mobile activity will happen in the store, with a majority (84%) using their smartphones or tablets to research a purchase. And 39 percent will use mobile to search for product coupons.
  6. When it comes to spending, more than a third of consumers (35 percent) will spend $250 or more using a mobile device, while a smaller number (17 percent) will spend more than $500.
  7. Sixty-three percent of holiday shoppers will engage in “showrooming” this holiday season, the practice of entering a brick-and-mortar store only to gander in person at items that they will likely return home to find at a better price online.
  8. One in seven shoppers (14.3 percent) have already started buying presents for the holidays, and another 11.8 percent plan to start before Thanksgiving. (Abramovich, 2013)

Ways to advertise promotions with social media.

 Twitter:

Many retailers are offering discounts to their social media followers, who get the feeling of inclusiveness when getting deals that other customers aren’t getting.  Don’t stop following or advertising there, though. Follow your favorite coupon and deal sites as well. They’ll do all the work to help you find the best deals for all your shopping needs. They can help you combine coupons, locate rebates, and tell you were to get items for the lowest price.  Pinterest is also a great place to check for digital coupon sharing.

Facebook

Because Facebook has a more robust platform for marketers, there are many ways to sign up and receive deals.  First is to see if your favorite retailers offer discounts just for following them. Secondly, see if the Facebook page has a form that will allow you to submit information (which could subject you to email blasts) that will trigger discounts and inside information on promotions.

Here are some successful campaigns that have used social media:

Michael’s Stores (Facebook page has 1,556,111 likes, while @michaelsstores has 108,034 followers), the go-to place for craft supplies, posted a coupon – and Facebook offer – 30% off entire purchase valid only from 4pm on Thanksgiving until 2am Black Friday. Coupons are another traditional way to promote a business and this one, with a limited time frame – got a great social response. The posted offer received 3,874 likes, 909 shares, 274 comments, 23,399 claimed. (Abramovich, 2013)

Marshalls, T.J.Maxx & HomeGoods Tri-Holiday #TheGifter Twitter Contest. The cross-brand contest between Marshalls (Facebook page has 1,944,049 likes, while @Marshalls has 102,027 followers), T.J.Maxx (Facebook page has 1,988,561 likes, while @TJMaxx has 172,476 followers), and HomeGoods (Facebook page has 1,481,811 likes, while @HomeGoods has 110,137 followers) uses a video promo (you’ve seen #TheGifter commercials, right?) and social media to encourage shoppers to chime in to win.

Each week #TheGifter poses a new question, and shoppers just include the hashtag and one of the twitter names in the response. (Shoppers need to follow at least one of their Twitter feeds.) Six weeks, six questions, six winners. This week, naturally, had a black Friday theme:

HomeGoods ‏tweeted: How do you outsmart #BlackFriday madness? Tweet w/ #TheGifter for a chance to win a $500GC @TJMaxx @Marshalls http://youtu.be/Bvj3NwAdAaQ (Abramovich, 2013)

This promoted tweet received 42 retweets and 62 favorites. The correlating Facebook post – “Tell us how you outsmart Black Friday madness? If you’re on Twitter, tweet your answer using #TheGifter for a chance to win a $500 gift card. Official rules: http://www.tjx.com/gifterrules” – received 849 likes, 48 shares, 208 comments

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References

Abramovich, Giselle.  November 13, 2013.  15 Mind-Blowing Stats About Holiday 2013. Retrieved on December 13, 2013 from http://www.cmo.com/articles/2013/11/11/15_Stats_Holiday.html

Eckerling, Debra.  November 29, 2013. Holiday Shopping & Social Media: 5 Fantastic Campaigns.  Retrieved on December 13, 2013 from http://socialtimes.com/holiday-shopping-social-media-5-fantastic-campaigns_b138152

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