The holiday shopping season is well upon us; and while there's no doubt sales events seem to continually blur the lines of when it's OK to put decorations up, brands should be well into their 2017 season planning. Department stores and malls aren't the only ones who are eager to get a head start: The National Retail Foundation in its 2017 holiday survey found more than half of U.S. consumers start researching gifts they plan to buy in October or earlier. Most plan to purchase sometime in November.
Knowing this, brands have to have a cohesive strategy set in place they can carry out over the months-long period that can make or break a business's year in many cases. For online brands that sell their wares through a number of different channels, it's important they present a unified image and message throughout the holidays. So how can that be accomplished? Start with product branding.
"The holiday shopping season is just heating up, and brands need to be prepared."
Make a list and check it twice
It's worth it for brands to take a page out of ol' St. Nick's book. After all, the guy is a model of efficiency and how to maintain a well-respected brand. Companies can mirror his tactics by taking pains to create a comprehensive list to refer to during the entire holiday season: not one of naughty or nice children (that'd be weird), but of products and all their details and specifics. Continuity is highly valued by shoppers during the holidays. Imagine what happens when a product that a consumer researched in October appears with a different description and new title in December. They might not be able to find it, they might think it's an entirely different product and choose an alternative, or they might go with another brand because of the dissatisfying experience.
In any case, brands have to operate with uniformity, and this can be made possible by creating a centralized resource for all channel partners to refer to. Having all the product listing titles, descriptions, images and miscellany available in one place affects a continuity that holiday shoppers can depend on during even last-minute sprees.
If you have a theme, make sure it's known
Many business like to tweak their branding during the holidays to fit with the season. Starbucks' red cup is one example, while Hershey's Kisses with green or candy cane-striped foil wrappers are another - and while these attempts don't 100 percent fit with what e-commerce brands do, they do demonstrate the opportunity for enhanced branding available during the holidays. Just remember, if you're a brand that wants to utilize a holiday theme to branding, make sure it comes off consistently across all channels.
Much like Hershey's has to ensure it has the right holiday-themed products on shelves, e-commerce brands have to be certain their seller partners are displaying the correct holiday-optimized listings the brand has crafted. Consumers often look for holiday-specific listings when searching online (especially if they're pressed for time) and having products that are advertised in such a way can gain brands a lot of attention. However, all this goes for naught if channel partners don't have the right directions, or simply are checked up on to ensure compliance.
"Continuity is highly valued by shoppers during the holidays."
Have the right branding tools
Santa has his reindeer and brands need their own assets to pull off a successful holiday season. For e-commerce brands, this means having solutions that can help the business support its holiday efforts across all different channels, and with a uniform approach. Given the disparity in compliance many brands find themselves dealing with when it comes to sellers, it can be hard to gain the type of insight and visibility needed to convey a united holiday message.
That's why PriceSpider has developed a tool for these exact times. Brand Monitoring can be used by brands as a one-stop portal for all things having to do with seller compliance. It allows users to create a single source for product descriptions, for example, that can be leveraged for brand continuity throughout the holidays.
Though snow may soon be falling, the holiday shopping season is just heating up, and brands need to be prepared.