Features, Marketing

Retail Meets Culture: How Product “Holidays” Can Be Leveraged

RR_Retail Holiday ProductThis summer, Amazon celebrated its third annual “Prime Day” by offering 30 hours of sales on more than 100,000 products on its sites worldwide. It declared a brand day on the calendar as if it were a holiday, which is an increasingly popular marketing trend. There are many examples, from “National Rum Day” and “National Coffee Day” to all of August being declared “National Back-to-School Month.”

With the rise of social media and our sharing culture, the number of “holidays” is likely to continue to grow. With so many holidays to choose from, retailers have the opportunity to DIY a holiday or jump on a trend, just because they can. The real question is, how can brands and retailers leverage these opportunities to create compelling customer experiences and outcomes?

DIY Holiday…or Jump on a Trend?

Amazon Prime Day and 7-Eleven Day are two great examples of retailers creating marketing events to extend their positions and create compelling holidays focused specifically on their brands. In contrast, National Donut Day, National Bacon Day, or any of the other national food days, are usually created and promoted by an industry association (e.g. the National Pork Producers of America) rather than by a single retailer or brand. That doesn’t mean retailers can’t take advantage of them, though.

So which route is best – creating a holiday or jumping on a trend? Leveraging existing holidays should be a light lift and will presumably result in a boost in short-term sales for the retailer. However, if there’s a good premise, creative idea, and the time and resources to pull it off, a branded holiday could prove to have some great long-term benefits. It all comes down to what works best for individual retailers.

First, it’s important to decipher which holidays align with a retailer’s vertical or specialty, and that comes down to the value each holiday will provide customers. As an example, National Donut Day is a good opportunity for a grocery retailer or a brand like Dunkin’ Donuts. Retailers need to use data to define their promotions and offers based on the types of products customers are interested in, and sales trends during that specific time of the year to optimize the results.

Second, focus efforts on holidays that customers will appreciate. For example, a clothing retailer could promote deals for “National Back-to-School Month” perhaps by also donating a percentage of proceeds to a cause related to the holiday (e.g. donating school supplies to those in need). Customers will feel special for participating and retailers will create customer loyalty.

Make it Possible With a Digital Core

Digital transformation is defined as the application of digital technologies to fundamentally impact all aspects of business and society. These product and brand holidays, while potentially a little silly, can have major benefits for retailers and a strong digital core will help ensure success. The concept here is that by fueling operations with a digital core, retailers can take immediate action according to rich real-time data and emerging trends.

By leveraging end-to-end innovations, cloud technology, machine learning, connected business processes, social data and a comprehensive customer dataset, retailers can analyze and adjust customer experiences in real-time, and drive loyalty while managing margins.

As the retail landscape continues to evolve, new methods and strategies appear to move products from carts to hearts, like taking advantage of holidays. To be successful with this method, it’s important for retailers to watch trends, as well as their own customer and sales data. Using this knowledge to create and harness demands for products and services will improve the bottom line and brand awareness.

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