In these harsh economic times, taking advantage of any and every opportunity in retail to tap into the social, cultural or festive events that lead up to the festive season can help achieve sales targets. In an article in Biz-Community Eben Esterhuizen, a FMCG specialist and CEO of OnShelf Pharma believes that planning for Q4 and the Christmas buying season includes having a sales calendar and planning promotions to attract shoppers – be it on-line or in-store.
Whilst we may bemoan the fact that almost every week there is a day dedicated to one thing or another, and that some are promoted simply to push sales, to retailers it is yet another way to get feet into stores, orders online and sales in the bag.
The run-up to festive season sales can start as early October. While social media seems to be the way many retailers are going to drum up excitement about a special event day, it is also worth making the bricks and mortar customer experience inviting having great specials on offer.
According to eMarketer in the USA, “42% of US holiday shoppers said they shopped in-store for the holiday ambiance, and 27% of US holiday shoppers said they shopped in-store to spend time with family.”
Locally, families who haven’t the cash to go on holiday often find shopping in-store a pleasurable way to spend time together, so family-themed events could be a sales magnet for retailers.
Having unusual, well-priced specials advertised from the beginning of October will get customers into the festive mood early and really special deals will get some of the planning and buying early to save. Social media competitions are a strategic way to encourage people to share their email address or cell phone number. It’s noteworthy that free delivery is one of the key incentives for online shopping. In fact, stats show nine out of ten customers consider free shipping the top incentive to shop online.
Some of the important dates that have traction around the world and could be incorporated into the marketing calendar include:
Diwali – around 27 or 28 October 2019:
As Diwali is known as a time of spring cleaning and celebration, there are different types of opportunities for retailers before Diwali including home decor, fireworks, gifts, food, and sweet treats.
Halloween – Thursday, 31 October:
Halloween in South Africa seems to be gaining in popularity with residents in suburbs arranging their own ‘trick or treating’ and schools and fun groups going all out to get into the spirit of the day. Although there aren’t specific products related to it (other than costumes and sweets) it can be used as a ‘tag-line’ to attract customers.
Single’s Day – Monday, 11 November:
Made famous in China where it is a huge shopping day, Single’s Day (Guanggun Jie) becoming (thanks to China’s population) the largest e-commerce event in the world. Last year Alibaba broke sales records, generating $30.8 billion in 24 hours.
The date was chosen as the number 1 symbolises a single person and 11 (November) two people finding each other.
Black Friday – Friday, 29 November:
Last year our local Black Friday was described by the media as a “buying frenzy” and it appeared that way with websites crashing under the strain of great deals and keen customers. Data from Absa bank highlights that two out of three South African consumers participated in Black Friday shopping at some point, so this is a massive opportunity for retailers. Research also shows consumers are holding back on buying durable goods and waiting for Black Friday specials. According to BankservAfrica Economic Transaction Index (BETI) retail sales over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday period most likely “saved” the South African economy in November.
Small Business Saturday – Saturday, 30 November:
Created by American Express in 2010 to stimulate the small business sector, Small Business Saturday falls in between the Black Friday and Cyber Monday – the ideal time to showcase bespoke local products, catching the more discerning shoppers.
Cyber Monday – Monday, 2 December:
A huge shopping day in the USA, when $7.9 billion was spent on this day in 2018 (19,3% up from 2017), in South Africa, according to the BETI report, there was 36.4% growth in online sales for Cyber Monday.
Green Monday – Monday, 9 December:
It was a matter of time before the ‘going green’ movement would want to get in on the action and in 2007 eBay came up with Green Monday which is held on the second Monday of December. It’s basically a reminder to buy Christmas Gifts and, as the name suggests, there is bias to buying products that are aligned with green in terms of being eco-friendly.
Free Shipping Day – Saturday, 14 December:
As on-line shopping gains momentum, the Free Shipping Day which falls on the second last weekend before Christmas is the global event where online stores have free shipping. A very clever ploy to keep customers shopping after the Black Friday-Cyber Monday craze is over.