Retail, Strategy, Experience

Reshaping Retail: Insights From the Unwrapping Holiday Success Webinar

BY: Chris Courtney Associate Director of Content

PUBLISHED: 2/7/2024

The 2023 holiday season was truly one for the record books. E-commerce was a force once again, with U.S shoppers spending a record $221 billion online – a surge of 4.9% YoY. The season also saw a historic 11 days with daily spend exceeding $4 billion, as deal-seeking consumers hunted for bargain buys. And for the first time, mobile shopping outperformed purchases made from desktop, accounting for over half of online transactions. 

The rising trend of flexible payment options – including Buy Now Pay Later – also significantly influenced spending patterns, while paid search emerged as the top driver of sales, underscoring the importance of an omnichannel approach in retailers' marketing strategies. 

To help unwrap these trends (and more!), MERGE assembled a panel of industry experts to discuss the key takeaways coming out of retail’s peak season and dive deeper on their implications for the future of the industry at large.

Our panelists include:

- Doug Weiss, Senior Vice President, Digital and Ecommerce, WHP Global 
- Michael McMullan, Managing Director, Berns Communications Group
- Mark Friedman, The Marketing Playbook with Mark Friedman
- Stacey Hawes, Chief Performance and Data Officer, MERGE (moderator)

Key topics featured during the panel discussion include:

- The sales ecosystem is evolving, and one major shift we saw this past season was the growth of social commerce. How can brands bring commerce into the content experience via social media? And what is the role of influencer marketing in driving sales and allowing brands to show with a more varied, diverse brand voice?
- Shoppers expect a seamless experience across physical and digital channels, and they often use a mix of both to scope out products before making a purchase. How should brands go about determining an optimal channel mix for their audience? Is your brand meeting the consumer where they’re at?
- Gen Z and Gen Alpha (aka Gen. A) made an impression on the retail world during the holiday season, and brands are letting these audiences lead the way as they figure out how best to engage these younger shoppers. How are brands breaking through with Gen Z shoppers? And what are brands doing to understand the generational differences when it comes to engaging with Gen Z, Gen A, and Millennials?
- Though AI has existed in retail marketing in recent years, it has become much more pronounced for brands in the here and now. Our panelists discuss the three ways retailers are currently utilizing AI (from customer service, to supply chain, to hyper personalization) and the extent to which AI will impact retailers in 2024 and beyond.

Tune in to the on-demand webinar to access every second of insight from our expert panel discussion.