Retail Therapy: Creating WOW moments for customers

3 ways to optimize CX during the busy holiday shopping season

PUBLISHED: 11/10/2022

Creating WOW Moments During the Holidays

May spirits be merry and bright this holiday season — even amidst inflation, supply chain woes and sustainability issues. 

Sounds easy, right?

While 60% of U.S. consumers say finances have factored heavily into shopping decisions, the spirit of the season will still be there. Families will gather and friends will celebrate, because it’s not the gift that counts but the thought.

Last year during the Cyber 5, brick-and-mortar growth outpaced eCommerce growth for the first time on record — this tells us that consumers still desire  an in-store shopping experience, but only if it is worth it (eMarketer).

Learn 3 key ways below on how retailers can make the buying experience a memorable one this holiday shopping season. Plus, make sure to get on our list to receive MERGE's latest  insights for retail brands!

Bridging the online and offline worlds for a "phygital" experience

No matter how many WOW moments brands create in-store, let’s face it — holiday shopping can be stressful and unpleasant at times. Therefore, it’s vital that retailer’s digital experiences enhance the path to purchase and foster convenience. 

Adding “buy online, pick-up in-store,” “same day pick-up” and “buy now, pay later” options are opportunities to reach buyers who may have originally been hesitant to make the trip to the store or even purchase. But if brands have no online visibility, none of these options matters. Brands must manage changing inventory updates and utilize local SEO to appear within “in stock, near me” searches. 

Making shopping personalized through email marketing

“Brands that have their own stores or are featured in a larger wholesale network should personalize email campaigns by location.” says Chief Performance Officer Cindy Brown. “This lets subscribers know what stores are within 50 miles and invites them to come in-person to receive holiday recommendations for their gift lists.” 

Having a great email marketing program is critical for retailers during holiday promotions, especially when advertising spend and budgets continue to shrink. A simple welcome email has an average conversion rate of 52.9% and cart abandonment emails average at 39.7% (Insider Intelligence)!

Here are a few of our favorite holiday email examples:  

The interactive countdown timer for shipping cutoff is a great reminder for subscribers to act now.

Listing out what days to shop helps a variety of audiences, including the last-minute shopper.

This personalized discounted prices help push subscribers down the path to purchase

Connecting the brand story to the consumer

In addition to deploying campaigns around promotions, shipping and inventory updates, brands should also prioritize showcasing the product’s value. Consumers want products that last as they are trying to make their dollars stretch this season. 

In the home and electronic market, the product specs are important but it is secondary to the experiences they facilitate. From home movie nights to gaming competitions with friends, what story does the product inspire? Creating a compelling narrative around the product creates distinction when consumers are exploring options. 

In such a saturated market, it’s important for brands to deploy differentiation throughout their online presence. 

“On average, all available products are sold at no fewer than 8 online retailers and our research shows that if a consumer sees the same product description and images across more than 3 retailers, they are less likely to purchase that product,” says our SVP of Group Marketplaces Eli Gurock. “Help your customers not just choose your product, but which retailer they are purchasing from by differentiating content per retailer.”

Retailers should aggregate behavior, customer and product data to personalize ads across digital platforms. For big box retailers, capitalize on current search trends and conduct a competitive analysis of products, price points and listing key words to ensure branded products are relevant to the consumer.

The 2022 holiday shopping season is already in full swing. Delivering memorable experiences are critical to attracting and retaining customers into 2023. Customers are more choosy and less loyal to brands due to rising inflation, with 46% of consumers purchasing more items on sale and 22% buying less from favorite brands (Retail Dive). Retail therapy is real and is generated by brands for their consumers through seamless shopping experiences.

At MERGE, we have over 20 years of experience helping retail and consumer brands, merging storytelling + technology to make spirits bright. Don't hesitate to reach out if you are interested in making some magic!