May 19, 2024

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Takeaways From The 2020 Holiday Shopping Season For Marketing Communications

Vice President Corporate Communications, Diebold Nixdorf.

For U.S. retailers, Black Friday has long marked the unofficial kickoff to the holiday shopping season, with eager shoppers flocking to stores to take advantage of markdowns and promotions. In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic drastically reduced the amount of in-person shopping on Black Friday. However, online shopping activity surged to unprecedented highs. Adobe Analytics monitors 80 of the top 100 U.S. web retailers’ transactions, and the company’s reports revealed that consumers spent $9 billion online on Black Friday, and $10.8 billion on Cyber Monday (increases of 21.6{f2a9790f1f5b326f5addd27543ef870bdef34be2bb42188b5ff1576c2dc9b21c} and 15.1{f2a9790f1f5b326f5addd27543ef870bdef34be2bb42188b5ff1576c2dc9b21c} over the previous year, respectively).

2020 holiday shopping experiences will have a lasting effect on some consumer behaviors, and in turn, on brands’ marketing strategies. In the ever-shifting retail environment, communicating with customers is more important than ever. As consumers’ expectations and approaches shift, brands can leverage smarter marketing tactics to better reach their target audiences. At Diebold Nixdorf, we help many of our clients find innovative ways of connecting with their customers digitally, and there are a few areas we’re seeing retail companies find success in right now. 

Bringing Personalization And Creativity To Digital Interactions

Communications can make or break customer experiences, and consumers have increasingly expected brands to cater to their individual needs and preferences. New tools for data extraction allow businesses to have access to a wide range of insights about their customers as individuals. These data-based insights allow companies to customize their marketing strategies to target consumers’ unique interests. This can include emailing customers about products they have been eyeing (or have added to their online shopping carts but not yet purchased), recommending new items based on their browsing and purchase histories and deploying targeted ads on popular social media platforms.

Brands also have an array of tools at their disposal to deliver enhanced virtual experiences that deepen their connections with consumers. From detailed product showcases to engaging video demos to virtual simulations, these tools offer customers the “next best thing” to in-person shopping — and sometimes, an experience that exceeds the real thing. For example, augmented reality allows shoppers to preview how a new piece of furniture will look in their home. The more creative brands can be in engaging their audiences, the more fruitful their digital marketing efforts will be.

In addition, social media platforms have greatly enhanced their shopping functionalities. Instagram and other social channels can serve as a literal one-stop shopping destination. Brands should leverage these new integrations in their marketing strategies by offering targeted social content that guides consumers seamlessly through shopping journeys, inspiring new purchases that align with their preferences and interests.

Understanding Consumers Is Critical

While technology is a pivotal marketing tool, it’s crucial to remember that the usage of social media and mobile among shoppers varies. In fact, a Nielsen report on grocery shoppers’ use of technology, commissioned by the company I work for, found six distinct “shopper types” — different personas that illustrate the variety of ways consumers use technology during their shopping journeys. The traditional shoppers and aspirational tech fans are well understood, but there are various approaches in between these two counterparts. In order to execute effective communications campaigns and marketing strategies, brands need to understand the nuances in their customers’ comfort levels with technology, and accommodate people at various stages of digital adoption. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced shoppers and brands to adapt their behavior in a number of ways, and many of these changes are here to stay. The recent holiday shopping season has underlined the importance of personalized, impactful, strategic communications between brands and consumers. By leveraging data-based insights, virtual experiences and social media integrations, brands can enhance communication with customers as shopping journeys and expectations continue to evolve.


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