Study: Holiday Selling Themes Falling Short
As holiday planning approaches, a new Motista study suggests retailers should look beyond the traditional themes of family and giving and instead be working on establishing better connections with consumers.
Motista didn’t highlight any other newfangled holiday approaches, but implied that traditional holiday schemes that drive awareness only increase consumers’ familiarity with retailers. The goal should be to engage emotionally, something Motista found retailers aren’t doing a great job at.
According to its ongoing study, the average overall “awareness” and “familiarity” of the ten retailers it tracks (Aeropostale, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Best Buy, Crate & Barrel, Gap, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Pottery Barn and Walmart) were high, at 90 and 71 percent, respectively. But only 18 percent of consumers indicated they had an “emotional connection” to their retailers and only 24 percent of consumers indicated they would make their next relevant purchase with the retailers they frequent today.
Spelling out the advantages having connected consumers, Motista noted that the study found:
- Consumers who feel emotional connections to their retailers are four-times more likely to shop those retailers first when relevant needs arise, as compared to consumers who are simply familiar and satisfied with their retailers.
- Connected consumers shop their retailers’ websites via mobile devices ten-times more often than consumers who are simply satisfied. They also follow their retailers on social media networks like Facebook and Twitter, four-times more often.
- Connected consumers are 50 percent more likely to advocate for the brand and recommend the retailer to others.
“The long-term takeaway for retailers is the importance of establishing more relevant connections with their customers,” said Alan Zorfas, co-founder and CMO of Motista, in a statement. “What’s really motivating them beyond expected themes? We see connection driving higher levels of purchasing and advocacy across a multitude of industries, and the brands that act on this data are able to execute successful marketing campaigns that motivate their target audiences more effectively.”
The study comes as some articles in recent years have heralded the return of fuzzy holiday themes. In October 2009, an Associated Press report noted that holiday marketing had shifted in the earlier part of the decade to “whimsical and splashy,” including an upside-down Christmas tree fad in 2007, cartoon-themed characters, and stockings adorned with mermaids and elephants. But with recession-weary consumers seeking comfort amid the downturn, traditional approaches – gingerbread houses, Santa, angels, tartan plaid, etc – had returned for the holiday 2009 season.
“When the world feels upside down, you don’t want your tree to be,” said Kit Yarrow, professor of consumer psychology at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, at the time. “Nostalgia is a way for people to feel safe.”
- Retailers Must Look Beyond Awareness and Traditional Themes to Drive Sales This Holiday Shopping Season – Motista
- Traditional, comfortable holiday themes are back – The Associated Press/Cape Cod Times
- Retailers Bet on Warm and Fuzzy Holiday Themes – Women’s Wear Daily (sub. required)
Has traditional holiday-themed marketing become increasingly irrelevant in connecting with consumers? What fresh ways should retailers be looking to engage holiday shoppers?