A retailer’s guide to Christmas campaign success – Part One Published October 21, 2016 October is the time when many retailers dip their toes into festive marketing. The eagle-eyed among you may have recently noticed the Christmas gifts being discreetly displayed in Boots or the festive category subtly added to the supermarket website. Christmas is creeping in – whether we like it or not. With this in mind, we’ve put together a three-part guide to Christmas campaigning for email marketers. In part one of this guide we focus on laying the foundations for a successful Christmas and gather-up our top tips to give you a head start for the festive season. Set your expectations in October and early November Don’t get too disheartened if it feels as though your mentions of Christmas are falling on deaf ears in October and early November. This is the time when customers are researching, finding inspiration and adding things to their wish lists. Don’t get fixated with how many Christmas products you sell at this early stage. Adjust your expectations – promote wish lists, viral sharing, reviews and online tools for customers to find and share inspiration for Christmas. Take this into consideration and make sure your calls-to-action reflect the fact that customers may want to look but not buy. Your aim for early Christmas campaigning is to get your brand in front of shoppers so you’re front of mind when the time comes. Prepare for big trading days in advance The last thing you want during peak trading is for your website to go down or to find yourself out-of-stock of your best-selling product. It may sound obvious but you’ll be surprised by the number of big retailers who get caught short. Stress test your website, make sure you plan and phase your email deliveries so not everyone is visiting at once, and make sure you’re able to replenish stock fast. Try and predict when your biggest trading days will be and alert your suppliers, logistics and IT departments so they can make sure they’ve got enough resource planned-in. Create a multi-channel strategy Your customers don’t think of your stores, websites and social media as separate parts of your business – neither should you. Make sure they get a seamless experience whichever part of your business they visit. Give them the ability to redeem offers wherever they shop, make it easy for them to order online and collect in-store or find their nearest store. They don’t care about your logistics, stock or systems issues – they just expect good customer service. Play to the strengths of each of your channels – promote the convenience of your website, reassure customers about your availability of stock, secure payment system and the reliability of your delivery service. Impress customers with your store locations, knowledgeable store staff and add-on services such as gift wrapping. Remember that customers don’t interact with one channel alone choosing solely your stores, website, apps or mobile site. They use your different channels together to research, experience, check and inform their purchasing decisions before making the final step. By following these guiding principles you’ll be laying down the foundations for a successful and seamless Christmas campaign. In part two of our guide we’ll be looking at promoting cyber-days, how to approach your last delivery date and how to structure your emails. Until then, good luck with your planning!