Marketing Strategies for the 2021 Holiday Shopping Season

Laptop with holiday shopping on screen

Last year, holiday shopping was stifled because of the pandemic, and many businesses had to improvise to meet consumer needs. But this year’s holiday shopping won’t be like last year because the world is making a post-pandemic comeback. Deloitte predicts that holiday retail sales will grow by seven to nine percent, and eCommerce sales will increase by up to fifteen percent this year. As a result, there will be new opportunities and new challenges for businesses to overcome. Read ahead to learn some marketing strategy that will help you grow your ecommerce business!


While consumers are eager to do some shopping, the retail industry has become more complex. There are new industry standards concerning user’s privacy and third-party data. For example, iOS 14.5 and iOS 15 have made it harder for businesses to collect third-party data. This invariably makes it harder to acquire new customers.


Another challenge business must battle this holiday season involves increased marketing competition in the industry. Venture capitalists and other private investors are happy to invest in consumer startups. This results in startups spending more money on marketing. Here is where the concept of supply and demand comes in. If more businesses are increasing their spending, costs rise with the demand. In the end it becomes more difficult for businesses that have smaller budgets.


Considering these two concerns, many businesses will find it difficult to survive in the current eCommerce atmosphere. However, you don’t have to panic because here are three effective strategies that can help you take advantage of 2021 holiday shopping and end the year feeling lucky.

1st Marketing Strategy: Combine 1st-Party and 3rd-Party Data

The talk about third-party data and privacy concerns has been going on for years. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Apple with iOS 14.5 and iOS 15 will cancel cookies. A cookies-less eCommerce industry means that marketers will almost no longer collect third-party data from random internet users. As a result, it is now harder to create and distribute personalized marketing content.


Now is not the time to give up because consumers are still ready to shop this holiday season. You must start taking advantage of first-party data, which is the data customers willingly share with you. While first-party data doesn’t give insight into what your target audience searches for or insight into their shopping behavior generally, it is legal. Put more effort into collecting first-party data from your customers and target audience. Ask for their emails, contact details, age, location, etc. use along with their transaction data to create personalized marketing campaigns. Coupled with the third-party data you already have.


Most businesses already have the third-party data of their target audience. Therefore, while you may not be able to collect third-party data anymore, you can still use what you have. Combine your third-party data with your first-party data to understand your buyers better, their personas, spending power, shopping behavior, interests, etc. Once you have something tangible to work with, create your holiday shopping campaigns with it.

2nd Marketing Strategy: Build Genuine Relationships

For more than a year now, eCommerce has earned the larger share of consumer spending compared to in-store shopping. While it might seem like consumers don’t particularly need to connect with a brand or with a merchant before making a purchase, genuine relationships still matter. It just has a different approach. Now, consumers can make quick decisions about a brand, and it won’t cost them anything to close the shopping window and move to a competitor that is more relatable.


Once they suspect that the brand they are interested in doesn’t share their ideals or the shopping experience is not all that impressive, they will leave. It is different for in-store shopping since the buyer is already in the store, and therefore, is more prone to make impulse buying and overlook minor discrepancies.


During this holiday season, put more effort into building a genuine relationship with your customers. Don’t spare a moment to show your brands personality and share your ideals. Tell creative stories that convey your brand to consumers. Although it is harder to get user data with the new privacy and third-party data limitations, you can use the data customers willingly share with you to create personalized content and recommendations.

3rd Marketing Strategy: Quality Over Quantity for Customer Acquisition

One of the mistakes businesses make during the holiday season is getting carried away by the shopping frenzy. They tend to target too many types of consumers at once. It is easy to hope that the eagerness of buyers will make them buy any and everything. They will hope to get lucky if you find a way to draw in massive traffic. This method is a quick fix that won’t last long, nor will it give you the best possible gain.


Instead of targeting new customers who often fall into the category of one-time buyers, start targeting high-quality leads that you can convert into loyal customers. Start seeing every shopping season as an opportunity to gain more long-term loyal customers. So, don’t focus on targeting marketing demographics because other businesses are doing the same rather, seek out customers with a high customer lifetime value (CLV).


One-time buyers are great for making quick sales, but the new limitations surrounding third-party data make it hard to use ad targeting to reach the types of buyers you want. Hence, you can’t afford to generate a high traffic of buyers who will not be there by January.


Use data analytics and business intelligence to your advantage to fish out these high CLV customers.

Over to You

The holiday shopping season is upon us, and this year’s holiday season is the first time since 2019 that buyers will have the freedom to move about, even though there’s still some caution. The atmosphere of this holiday season is warmer than last year, and it will be a disservice to let the changes surrounding third-party data stop you from benefiting.

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