6 Tips for Marketing to Last-Minute Holiday Shoppers

6 Tips to Attract Last-Minute Holiday Shoppers

With fewer than two weeks left before Christmas (and Hanukkah, which starts on December 24 this year), brick-and-mortar retailers have a massive opportunity to capture last-minute holiday shoppers. There are plenty of them out there: Last year, more than 35 percent of consumers planned to wait until Christmas Eve to finish their shopping.

As the countdown to gift-unwrapping ticks down, who wants to risk an online gift order getting lost or arriving late? There’s no better time of the year to get people into your store. Here are 6 tips to help your retail store capitalize on last-minute holiday shoppers.

How to Attract Last-Minute Holiday Shoppers

1. Help Those in a Hurry

Last-minute shoppers are frantic to find gifts. Ease their worries by providing a simplified selection they can run in, pay for and rush out the door with. For instance, your store could display gift packs of bundled products for different types of recipients, such as White Elephant gifts, teacher gifts or gifts for Mom. You can even pre-gift wrap presents for ultimate convenience. Promote your one-stop gift selection on your website’s homepage to lure customers in.

2. Promote Gift Cards

If you sell store gift cards, now’s the time to promote the heck out of them! Not only are gift cards the perfect last-minute gift grab, they’ve also been one of the most-wanted gifts for a decade, according to National Retail Federation statistics. No wonder more than half of holiday shoppers plan to buy gift cards this holiday season.

3. Think Mobile

Consumers in a rush turn to their smartphones to find products and stores, which means opportunity for your business. According to Google, 64 percent of consumers use mobile search to get ideas for products to buy, and 76 percent of mobile shoppers have changed their minds about where to buy after conducting a search. Make your business website mobile-friendly, promoting special offers, sales and gift suggestions on the home page. Use the keywords “cool gifts,” “best gifts” and “unique gifts” liberally — Google reports these are popular search terms right now.

4. Check Your Local (Search) Listings

According to Google, mobile searches using the term “near me” spike 55 percent at Christmas Location matters to harried last-minute shoppers, so your business listings on local search directories must be up-to-date and detailed. For instance, if you have special holiday hours, include them in your listings. Successful searches pay off for retailers: More than three-fourths (76 percent) of people who search for something nearby on their smartphones visit a related business within one day.

5. Show Your Social Spirit

Social media influences holiday purchases for one out of three consumers. What do consumers like to see most on businesses’ social media pages this time of year? “Holiday cheer” tops the list, followed by sales/promotions. Help frazzled last-minute shoppers by sharing lots of gift ideas with photos of the products along with special offers. You can get even better results by using social media advertising. Facebook is a natural place to start, since it allows you to target prospects very narrowly based on things like their location, interests, demographics and past interactions with retailers and retail ads.

6. Market with Mobile

Mobile marketing with SMS text messaging is a powerful tool to convert last-minute shoppers. Reach out when shoppers are near your store with special offers, gift ideas and limited-time promotions. A desperate shopper dithering about what store to hit next can easily be lured in your door by a timely text message promising the answer to their gift-giving problems.

Shopping Photo via Shutterstock

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Rieva Lesonsky Rieva Lesonsky is a Columnist for Small Business Trends covering employment, retail trends and women in business. She is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her blog, SmallBizDaily, to get the scoop on business trends and free TrendCast reports.

One Reaction
  1. Rieva: I do X-mas shopping Just-In-Time, so your post comes handy! 😉

    It is interesting to see that gift cards are still popular. It is a very convenient way of getting gifts.