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    How To Capture the Early Bird Holiday Shopper

    October 19, 2023
    6 minute read
    How To Capture the Early Bird Holiday Shopper

    Tweet, tweet! Just as the early bird rises before dawn to hunt for its proverbial worm, today’s holiday shoppers are on the prowl earlier than ever. 

    Whether driven by the allure of deals, concerns about supply, or the desire to sidestep year-end retail chaos, early holiday shopping makes it crucial for marketers to adjust their strategies accordingly. 

    Welcome to the era of the "early bird" holiday shopper — individuals who are checking items off their lists earlier and, as a result, redefining the traditional shopping calendar

    Here’s some background on these long-term planners, with tips for capturing their attention as the increasingly competitive holiday market begins. 

    The Rise of the Deliberate Shopper

    If you’re a last-minute holiday shopper, consider this: By the end of October, a surprising 50% of Americans will have already made at least one holiday-related purchase, and 29% of them will have their holiday shopping 100% complete, according to Google

    It’s more than about finishing holiday shopping early. 

    The modern consumer journey is methodical, researched, and informed. Shoppers’ behavior is driven not by impulse buys but by carefully weighing different options and opportunities — all with the benefit of time on their side.

    Google says that, when inspired by an influencer, online shoppers engage with an average of 10 touch points to inform and evaluate purchases.

    The deliberate shopper is also increasingly reliant on online feedback from ratings, reviews, and price comparisons. Review management company ReviewTrackers notes that these shoppers tend to trust this third-party feedback more than even those from friends or family. 

    This places the onus on ecommerce retailers and brands to emphasize transparency, engagement, and prompt customer service. 

    This early bird behavior is more than just a trend: It’s an extension of long-simmering tendencies among today's online consumers, who are increasingly informed, deliberate, and digitally native. 

    So, how should marketers respond? By doubling down on long-standing, effective ecommerce best practices. 

    5 Tips for Creating Memories That Resonate With Early Bird Holiday Shoppers

    The holiday season isn’t just about the gifts themselves, but the memories created along the way. 

    Holiday shoppers value more than just finding the best deal — there are significant emotional, cultural, and nostalgic components to the holidays that serve as X factors in a brand’s holiday planning. 

    For ecommerce brands and retailers, this means crafting experiences that resonate long after the decorations are packed away. As these tactics shift to entice early holiday shoppers, the need to move these memorable experiences further up the timeline becomes paramount.

    1. Start Promotions Early

    The numbers don’t lie: More and more customers are finishing their holiday shopping early. And, if nearly a third of consumers are finished with their holiday shopping by Halloween, they’re not gonna care about your sales in November or December (sorry!). 

    Starting your holiday campaigns to get ahead of these proactive shoppers not only sets the tone for the season by creating anticipation and excitement, it ensures that even your most Type A customers can engage with your holiday campaigns. 

    2. Exclusive Offers for Early Shoppers

    Exclusivity drives not only demand but consumers’ fear of missing out (FOMO). By offering targeted deals, early bird discounts, or limited-edition products, brands can create a sense of urgency — even if the gift will simply sit in a closet for a couple of months before it’s opened. A holiday countdown clock can be particularly effective in fostering this “act now!” mentality. 

    Remember: It's not just about the discount. It's about making the consumer feel rewarded for thinking ahead. Deliberate shoppers will thank you for it. 

    3. Targeted, Personalized Marketing

    Today's consumers are discerning and will reward the brands that meet their ever-increasing expectations. 

    In particular, customers expect their shopping experience to be heavily personalized, incorporating all kinds of collected data, such as previous purchases, browsing history, and more. 

    Salsify’s “2022 Consumer Research” backs this up: 48% of German shoppers, 50% of French shoppers, 70% of U.S. shoppers, and 73% of British shoppers are very likely to buy when presented with “personally relevant reviews, images, videos, and text.”

    Leveraging customer behavior to inform the shopping experience — through targeted promotions, product recommendations, or upsells — can go a long way in encouraging return purchases and larger average order values (AOV)

    4. Gift Guides

    Speaking of targeted marketing: Gift guides are a well-known entry point for holiday shoppers, and they can be a tremendous help for consumers looking for the perfect gift. Curated lists that cater to specific demographics or interests can be particularly helpful here. 

    Segment and think about the kinds of holiday shoppers that will frequent your store for the rest of the year, and act accordingly. 

    5. Ramp Up Customer Service

    Take steps to ensure your brand isn’t left behind. Whether by creatively using chatbots or deploying other engagement strategies, don’t let your customers’ questions linger while they consider other options. 

    Are You Leaving Deliberate Shoppers Behind?

    If you’re the kind of person who rolls their eyes when a neighbor puts up their Christmas decorations in October, you might think it’s ridiculous to start offering holiday promotions before the kids go trick-or-treating. 

    But by setting aside personal feelings, marketers stand to learn — and gain — a lot by delving into the behaviors and motivations of these deliberate shoppers.

    Whether it’s September or December, brands can still create holiday memories that last a lifetime. Make sure your brand takes the right steps to shine brightly this season. 


    Holiday Shopping Trend Predictions

    Getting started on your end-of-year promotions? Download our guide for expert insights on what works — and what doesn’t — for this upcoming season.


    Written by: Chris Caesar

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    Holiday Shopping Trend Predictions Getting started on your end-of-year promotions? Download our guide for expert insights on what works — and what doesn’t — for this upcoming season. DOWNLOAD REPORT