This post was contributed and sponsored by RetailMeNot.
We're in the final countdown toward what promises to be a busy holiday shopping season. According to RetailMeNot's 2018 Holiday Insights Guide, consumers plan to spend more this year, and 60% of retailers feel optimistic that they'll outperform their holiday 2017 performance.
While many shoppers are already buying gifts, the season kicks off in earnest with what's become known as Cyber Week, which spans Thanksgiving (November 22) through Cyber Tuesday (November 27). These shopping days are anticipated to be among 2018's busiest.
Ahead of Cyber Week, there's still time for retailers to make some final tune-ups to ensure they're ready to make the most of an active season.
No. 1: Share shoppers' enthusiasm. Marketing messages should speak to consumers who are ready to savor the holidays—and to spend. The 2018 holiday retail survey by Deloitte projects that total retail sales will jump by 5% to 5.6% over 2017, with an even more dramatic increase of 17% to 22% in online sales. On Black Friday weekend alone, shoppers plan to spend $60 more than they did last year ($803 vs. $743), according to the RetailMeNot survey. What's the source of these high spirits? Both RetailMeNot and Deloitte found that shoppers feel good both about the overall economy and their own finances.
No. 2: Attract millennials with deals. Reaching millennials is likely a big goal for retailers’ Cyber Week marketing efforts. Fifty-seven percent of retailers surveyed by RetailMeNot say this generation is the audience they are focusing on the most this holiday season. One of the best ways to earn their attention is through offering deals and discounts. Ninety-three percent of millennials say they'll be looking for deals this holiday season, compared with 87% of shoppers overall. For brands targeting millennials, it's also a good idea to take a look at the overall mobile experience. Sixty-five percent of millennials say they'll make at least one purchase on mobile this holiday season.
No. 3: Promote free shipping. For online retailers, free shipping should be front and center in promotions for Black Friday and the rest of Cyber Week. Offers and discounts are a big deal, but they're not the only things that online shoppers pay attention to. Sixty-one percent say they won't buy something online during the holidays without free shipping. And 64% say free shipping would make them more likely to spend more with a retailer.
No. 4: Shine on social media. With consumers feeling excited about the season and eager to find deals, many are already planning their purchases for Cyber Week. To reach them—especially those all-important millennials—retailers are focusing heavily on social media marketing. They're targeting two networks in particular: 90% plan to reach shoppers via Facebook, and 76% cited Instagram.
Even as preparations for Cyber Week are underway, start looking ahead to the rest of the season. For online retailers, the next dates to target are December 1, 8, 15, 16, 17 and 22 (mobile) and December 10-13 (desktop). For more data on Cyber Week and beyond, download the full 2018 Holiday Insights Guide from RetailMeNot.