Holiday marketing trends with beacons: Forecasts and predictions
Sneh Ratna Choudhary
Last Updated:  January 13, 2019
Although the holiday season doesn’t start till the end of November, shopping for the holiday season is already in full force. In a study by Bazaarvoice, 2 types of shoppers were identified – planners and spontaneous shoppers. 59% of shoppers – the planners – start shopping 42 days before the holiday season even starts leaving the 41% of spontaneous shoppers that prefer to shop without a list. However, shoppers in both categories have admitted to making impulse decisions while shopping.
The driving force behind those impulse decisions is mobile searches. Mobile searches have picked up and need to be considered when designing a holiday marketing campaign. 44% of shopperssearch for stores nearby to procure the best products and offers. This statistic also explains why beacon technology is taking off. Instead of leaving the decision to the shoppers, beacon campaigns gently nudge customers towards stores saving a lot of time and effort.
Holiday marketing trends, forecasts, and shopping predictions for 2018
#1.Holiday marketing trend forecast: 83% of shoppers will use their smartphones in-store
Mobile search is dominating all other modes of search. This is one holiday marketing trend that you cannot ignore. Not to mention that there will be an aggressive use of smartphones by shoppers in the store. Businesses that have deployed beacon technology will greatly benefit from this new trend seeing as they can design a customer experience using beacon campaigns. From the minute a shopper walks in till the time they walk out, beacons can gently nudge them to specific deals, aisles, and products.
One of the primary reasons shoppers use their smartphones during holiday season shopping is to be able to get the best deal. That includes being able to compare products. BLE beacons making comparing products a breeze. Scala’s Lift and Learn technology turns the smartphone into a second screen and shows the two products’ feature comparison.
Shoppers look for better deals and discounts on their smartphones and beacons are the most optimal way to deliver these coupons. Attaching a different beacon for every aisle or product ensures that the deals are relevant to the customers.
Holiday marketing trends indicate that 52% of consumers are influenced by a family member’s recommendation
Cash in on this holiday marketing trend by using beacons. Beacon campaigns can be used to direct shoppers to a businesses’ social media pages to either leave positive reviews or like the page. Improving the in-store experience for shoppers by asking for feedback, offering coupons and a cashier-less experience, they are extremely likely to recommend the store to their friends and family.
One of the reasons for cart abandonment and a poor customer experience is the long lines at the checkout counter. Given that the footfall nearly doubles during the holiday season, the lines become longer too. That is a prime reason why consumers have taken to e-commerce shopping. But, using BLE beacons can help businesses who are losing their customers to e-commerce. Turn this holiday marketing trend on its head by deploying beacons in the store. That will allow customers to pay from anywhere in the store solving the problem of standing in long lines forever. This is of major significance given the threat that Amazon Go and Zippin pose in the physical retail landscape. (How to design an Amazon Go experience to make sure you don’t become a victim of this holiday marketing trend)
Customers, especially millennials, like the idea of scanning products with their smartphones and having the products delivered to their homes. Amazon Go primarily works on the same concept. Decathlon is also testing out this concept in Bengaluru, India. Make the most of this holiday marketing trend with BLE beacons. BLE beacons, when tied to a compatible app, can be used to implement this feature.
In a bid to attempt to avoid long queues, customers also like ordering online and then picking up their products at the store later. This system can be easily facilitated with the use of BLE beacons. Beacon technology can send a notification to the employees at the store that the customer is approaching to pick up their order and have it ready so that no time is wasted.
#3. Holiday Marketing Trends: In-store vs. e-commerce
While e-commerce may be preferred early in the holiday season, consumers flock to stores when shopping late. This can be primarily attributed to the recent trend of deliveries getting delayed. Armed with that knowledge, beacon campaigns can be fine-tuned to address the late shoppers offering them coupons and rewards.
Holiday marketing trends indicate that Black Friday is the top shopping day both online and offline
Consumers shop in-stores as well as online on Black Friday. Cyber Monday is a close second and is climbing steadily. Businesses can schedule campaigns to run on Black Friday and Cyber Monday driving up their ROI on both these days. Make the most of this holiday marketing trend by nudging customers on Thanksgiving.
30% of customers intend to try their hand at online shopping this year but in-store visits are not off the cards. This spells great news for businesses that do have an online-only presence.
#4. Holiday marketing trends forecast: What consumers are looking for?
46% of millennials plan on gifting an experience rather than a physical gift and 42% of parents are going to opt for experiences for themselves and their children. Small business owners that deal in art and crafts have the most to gain from this as craft-related experiences are the most popular experiential gift. In order to lead customers to their store, small business owners can use beacon technology in a plethora of ways.
#5. Getting the holiday marketing trends right: Targeting customers
It is vital for businesses to understand who their customers are and how they make their purchase decisions. Social media commerce, AI and voice assistants are emerging holiday marketing trends that will soon change the face of retail.
Instagram is an up and coming holiday marketing trend and will influence buyers’ decisions
Social media channels are already seeing a major spike in sponsored content. On Instagram, the most popular content is products. In 2018, it is expected that Instagram will supersede all other social media channels in driving traffic to a store. Don’t let this holiday marketing trend slip your notice. Deploy beacons at the store that redirect customers to your Instagram page.
Holiday marketing trends indicate that 35% of the revenue will come from AI-based product recommendations
Personalization is the No. 1 expectation that shoppers have from retailers. And, with AI shoppers are expected to be bombarded by recommendations based on their shopping history. Beacon technology can also be implemented to help personalize offers with a compatible app. BLE beacons can also store information about previous store visits and use that to tailor recommendations to shoppers. Take this holiday marketing trend to the next level by asking customer feedback on your inventory.
Another emerging holiday marketing trend in the retail industry is the power of voice-enabled shopping. This also means that businesses have to ensure that their websites are mobile-friendly. Third-party app developers enable voice assistants to learn new ‘skills’ which can help voice assistants connect to Bluetooth beacons and tags. This, in turn, can mean that a customer in the store can use their voice assistant to ask for product recommendations, compare two products and look up reviews.
Customer-backed inventory is the latest in the long line of Amazon’s experimentation in the physical retail landscape. The 4 star indicates that all the products in the store have either been rated 4 stars and above, sourced from a top seller or are new and trending on Amazon’s website. The digital price tags reflect the fluctuating price and the rating of the product.
A similar setup can be designed with Bluetooth beacons by placing them in the aisles of a store and asking customers to leave feedback on products using interactive forms. This process also has an added advantage of procuring leads that can be retargeted later on Facebook and Google.
Holiday Marketing Trend: The busiest days ahead
Shopping has already started for the upcoming holiday season and we have identified the busiest days ahead so that businesses can schedule their campaigns – beacons and otherwise – accordingly.
Sneh is a Content Marketing Manager at Beaconstac. When she’s not obsessing over customized QR Codes, she can be found fawning over dogs or bingeing on Netflix. To discuss content marketing or anything else under the sun, reach out to her on Twitter or LinkedIn.