What Communicators Can Learn from Week One of the Holiday Shopping Period

Only one week into this holiday season and the retail sector has already seen impressive highs and unnerving lows. Perhaps to no surprise, Amazon had the biggest Cyber Monday of all time, confirming what many analysts claim to be the best kick-off to the holiday shopping period in history. Mother Nature even pitched in with tame weather on Black Friday across the U.S.

For communicators representing retail brands, now is the time to turn up the volume by amplifying content to connect with shoppers. Here’s why…

retail pr

People are shopping this season.
Upwards of 164 million consumers (approx. 1/3 of the U.S. population) were predicted to shop during the period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, per National Retail Federation data. With 22 days left until the end of the holiday shopping season, how can you make your brand the place to shop? Create an experience in-store, talk about (or, more importantly, demonstrate) the quality of your customer service or showcase that you’re a destination for the products everyone wants.

A sale is a sale regardless of channel:
It is clear, the brick and mortar brands with a large physical presence and a functioning e-commerce arm are finally winning share-of-wallet this season. The opportunity to illustrate online how your brick and mortar store is an extension of your brand through influencer engagement will break through the clutter.

Mobile has solidified its role as the primary channel:
Black Friday online sales jumped 23.6 percent from a year ago, to $6.22 billion, setting a new e-commerce record, per data from Adobe Analytics. Of those online sales, 33.5 percent of e-commerce sales came from mobile devices, compared to 29.1 percent in 2017. Mobile is king, and your social and digital strategy should be mobile-first to ensure your customers have a seamless shopping experience through the end of December.

Disruption continues:
The iconic Lord & Taylor Fifth Avenue Store in New York City is shutting its doors, no national toy retailer, and the recent news of Sears bankruptcy, continue to make headlines. Are the brands you represent staying current with the times? How are you sharing those stories?

Only time will tell if this early rally continues and if sales lead to sustainable growth (or in some cases, survival) for retailers. What we do know is that retail moves fast, so as soon as the “surprise retailer of the 2018 holiday season” is revealed, brands will have their sight set on winning the next sales period. It is our job, then, to apply communications learnings swiftly and nimbly to keep pace with our clients’ business.

Stay tuned…

Ketchum clients have trusted this communications leader for strategic and creative counsel since 2004 when he joined Ketchum. Today, as partner, managing director and portfolio leader, Peters leverages his 27 years of public relations experience in the ever-evolving retail sector by working with client teams to drive feet to store (brick and mortar) and clicks to sites (e-tail). Engagement ranging from product and brand launches, media relations, franchisee & employee engagement, store openings, corporate reputation & crisis management and path-to-purchase messaging.

Peters is a retail expert, having collaborated on projects in grocery, food service and dining, QSR, general merchandise stores, convenience and gas stations, home improvement, health and personal care, electronics and e-commerce.

Peters is a self-acclaimed barbeque connoisseur and chef. He and his wife do their best to raise their teens in Dallas, along with a wily five-year-old Catahoula hound dog.