16 Tips for Marketing to Last-Minute Holiday Shoppers

6 Tips to Attract Last-Minute Holiday Shoppers

To attract last-minute holiday shoppers, brick-and-mortar retailers must seize the opportunity presented during the bustling final stretch of the holiday season. A significant proportion of consumers, often more than 35 percent, are known to delay their holiday shopping until the very end, including Christmas Eve.

This tendency offers a crucial window for physical stores to appeal to these procrastinating shoppers who might be wary of late deliveries and lost packages associated with online orders.

To make the most of this opportunity and draw customers into your store, here are 16 strategic tips tailored specifically for attracting last-minute holiday shoppers.


6 Tips for Marketing to 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.

6 Tips for Marketing to Last-Minute Holiday Shoppers

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.

6 Tips for Marketing to Last-Minute Holiday Shoppers

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.

6 Tips for Marketing to Last-Minute Holiday Shoppers

7. Showcase Unique and Exclusive Products

Feature unique or exclusive items that can only be found at your store. This exclusivity can attract shoppers looking for one-of-a-kind gifts that can’t be found elsewhere.

8. Offer Last-Minute Delivery Options

Provide last-minute delivery options for online shoppers to ensure gifts arrive on time. This convenience can be a crucial deciding factor for customers making late purchases.

9. Host In-Store Events

Organize special in-store events, such as meet-and-greets with local celebrities or artists, to draw in more customers. These events can create buzz and significantly increase foot traffic during the holiday rush.

10. Curate Last-Minute Gift Guides

Create diverse, thoughtful gift guides covering various price ranges and recipient types. This helps shoppers quickly find the right gifts, streamlining their decision-making process and enhancing their shopping experience.

11. Offer Extended Store Hours

Cater to a broader audience by extending your store’s operating hours. This is especially helpful for those who may not find time during regular hours due to busy schedules, providing them with more opportunities to shop.

12. Enhance In-Store Ambiance

Make your store more inviting during the holiday rush by decorating with festive elements, playing seasonal music, and offering complimentary refreshments. A warm and joyous ambiance can significantly improve the shopping experience.

13. Implement Easy Returns and Exchanges

Assure customers that last-minute gift purchases can be easily returned or exchanged. This policy encourages confident buying decisions and reduces purchase hesitations.

14. Provide Personal Shopping Assistance

Offer personal shopping assistance by having knowledgeable staff members guide shoppers to the ideal gifts. This personalized service minimizes stress and enhances customer satisfaction.

15. Collaborate with Local Businesses

Partner with neighboring businesses to create joint promotions or discounts. This fosters a sense of community and encourages customers to explore multiple stores.

16. Utilize Countdown Promotions

Use countdown promotions to highlight the limited time until the holiday, creating a sense of urgency. This strategy motivates shoppers to make immediate purchases.

Additional Tips for Retail Success During the Holiday Rush

In the whirlwind of the holiday season, retailers have a unique opportunity to elevate their strategies and make the most of this bustling period. To ensure a seamless and unforgettable experience for both the store and its last-minute shoppers, consider the following tactics that are designed to further amplify your efforts:

  • Curate Last-Minute Gift Guides: Craft thoughtful and diverse gift guides that encompass a range of price points and cater to various recipient types. This approach not only sparks immediate ideas but also streamlines the decision-making process for shoppers.
  • Offer Extended Store Hours: Extend your store’s operating hours to cater to a wider audience, capturing those shoppers who might not find time during regular hours due to their busy schedules.
  • Enhance In-Store Ambiance: Elevate the in-store atmosphere by infusing it with a festive spirit. Decorate your space with holiday cheer, play joyful and seasonal music, and offer complimentary refreshments to create an inviting and joyous ambiance.
  • Implement Easy Returns and Exchanges: Mitigate shoppers’ hesitations by assuring them that any last-minute gift purchases can be easily returned or exchanged, promoting confident decision-making.
  • Provide Personal Shopping Assistance: Allocate knowledgeable staff members to act as personal shopping assistants, guiding shoppers swiftly toward the ideal gifts. This thoughtful gesture minimizes stress and maximizes satisfaction.
  • Collaborate with Local Businesses: Forge partnerships with neighboring businesses to create synergistic promotions or discounts, fostering a sense of community and encouraging cross-store exploration.
  • Utilize Countdown Promotions: Cultivate a sense of urgency by orchestrating countdown promotions that highlight the dwindling days until the holiday. This entices shoppers to seize the moment and take advantage of the limited time.
Curate Last-Minute Gift GuidesCraft diverse and thoughtful gift guides covering various price points and recipient types to simplify decision-making and provide immediate gifting inspiration.
Offer Extended Store HoursExtend operating hours to cater to a broader audience, capturing shoppers with varying schedules who may not have time during regular hours.
Enhance In-Store AmbianceElevate the in-store atmosphere with holiday decorations, joyful music, and complimentary refreshments to create a warm and inviting ambiance for shoppers.
Implement Easy Returns and ExchangesProvide shoppers peace of mind by assuring them of hassle-free returns or exchanges for last-minute purchases, fostering confident shopping decisions.
Provide Personal Shopping AssistanceAssign knowledgeable staff members as personal shopping assistants, guiding shoppers swiftly towards ideal gifts and minimizing stress while maximizing satisfaction.
Collaborate with Local BusinessesFoster community engagement by partnering with nearby businesses to offer joint promotions or discounts, encouraging shoppers to explore and support local stores.
Utilize Countdown PromotionsCreate a sense of urgency with countdown promotions that emphasize the limited time until the holiday, motivating shoppers to seize the moment and make timely purchases.

By seamlessly integrating these supplementary strategies into your holiday retail playbook, you can elevate the overall shopping experience, cultivate heightened customer satisfaction, and craft enduring memories that will resonate with shoppers throughout the festive season.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the holiday season crucial for brick-and-mortar retailers?

The holiday season, with less than two weeks remaining, presents a significant opportunity for brick-and-mortar retailers to attract last-minute holiday shoppers. Many shoppers prefer to make in-store purchases to ensure timely delivery and avoid potential online order delays during this festive time.

What percentage of shoppers wait until Christmas Eve to finish their shopping?

Last year, over 35 percent of consumers planned to finalize their holiday shopping on Christmas Eve itself. This highlights the substantial market of last-minute shoppers that retailers can target effectively.

How can retailers cater to hurried last-minute shoppers?

Retailers can cater to these shoppers by offering simplified gift options that are easy to pick up and pay for quickly. Displaying pre-packaged gift bundles and providing gift-wrapping services can ease their shopping experience and attract them to your store.

Why are gift cards a valuable option for last-minute shoppers?

Gift cards serve as convenient last-minute gifts, and they have consistently been a sought-after choice for over a decade. Statistics from the National Retail Federation indicate their popularity, with more than half of holiday shoppers intending to purchase gift cards.

How can retailers leverage mobile platforms to reach last-minute shoppers?

Mobile devices are pivotal for time-pressed shoppers seeking products and stores. Retailers can optimize their websites for mobile viewing, including special offers and gift ideas on the homepage. Utilizing popular search terms such as “cool gifts” and “unique gifts” can enhance visibility.

What role do local search listings play in attracting last-minute shoppers?

Local search directories play a crucial role as mobile searches using the term “near me” increase significantly during the holiday season. Retailers must ensure their listings are accurate and up-to-date, including information about special holiday hours.

How can social media be leveraged for attracting last-minute shoppers?

Social media influences holiday purchases for a third of consumers. During this season, consumers appreciate “holiday cheer” content followed by sales and promotions. Retailers can share gift ideas with product photos and exclusive offers. Social media advertising, especially on platforms like Facebook, allows precise targeting.

How effective is mobile marketing with SMS text messaging?

Mobile marketing through SMS text messaging can significantly impact last-minute shoppers. Sending timely text messages with special offers and limited-time promotions when shoppers are near the store can drive them to make impulsive purchases.

What is the advantage of using targeted mobile marketing strategies?

Targeted mobile marketing strategies, such as SMS text messaging, cater to shoppers’ immediate location and needs. By offering solutions to their gift-giving concerns at the right time, retailers can successfully attract shoppers into their stores.

Conclusion: Seize the Moment and Delight Last-Minute Shoppers

As the holiday season reaches its crescendo with Christmas and Hanukkah just around the corner, brick-and-mortar retailers stand on the precipice of a remarkable opportunity. With a substantial number of shoppers waiting until the eleventh hour to complete their gift-gathering quests, the stage is set for retailers to embrace these last-minute holiday seekers.

In a world where online orders can evoke uncertainty in delivery times, the allure of in-store shopping shines even brighter. The tangible experience of selecting gifts, along with the assurance of immediate possession, resonates profoundly with hurried shoppers.

The strategies outlined above offer a comprehensive toolkit for retailers aiming to capitalize on this bustling season. From providing simplified selections to the strategic promotion of gift cards, embracing mobile platforms and local search optimization, to weaving a social media tapestry of holiday cheer, each tactic plays a crucial role in driving foot traffic and satisfying last-minute shopping needs.

Moreover, the power of targeted mobile marketing through SMS text messaging emerges as a beacon, enticing shoppers with personalized offers and solutions at their doorstep.

As time ticks away to the joyful unwrapping of presents, retailers have a unique chance to transform hurried shopping into a gratifying experience. By aligning strategies with the immediate desires of last-minute shoppers, retailers can create a lasting impact that resonates far beyond the holiday season. So, seize the moment, embrace these tips, and welcome the flurry of last-minute shoppers with open doors and open arms.

Shopping Photo via Shutterstock

More in:

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.