Five Ways to Deliver an Optimal Brand Experience During the Holidays


The holidays are, of course, the busiest shopping time of the year. That means they’re also the time when consumers have the most contact with brands. In October, SDL published a report that found that 90% of holiday shoppers expect consistent brand experiences. How can you optimize your branding and offerings to engage consumers, and, in turn, sell your products? Here are five key elements to making your brand experience consistent — and excellent — this holiday season:

1) Engaging Messaging and Design

The premium on quality creative increases during the holidays, when consumers are overwhelmed with choices. Brands that develop language and design that capitalize on and connect with consumers via holiday themes and experiences stand out. In November, Whole Foods rolled out a new campaign called “Values Matter," a play on words that allows the company to communicate its commitment to sustainable products, and highlight relevant sales and deals at its stores. The campaign features dozens of online videos, messaging on its shopping bags (“The highest standards are always in season”), holiday-themed displays inside its stores, and a donation request at checkout.

2) Relevant Product Information Online

The SDL study found that 60% of consumers engage in “showrooming”: that is, the testing and researching of products online prior to buying them in the store. To ensure your brand engages in successful showrooming, it is crucial that relevant and valuable product information be presented on your website. Price, benefits, characteristics, attractive photography, and product reviews are all elements that inform a buyer’s purchasing decision, and the better you can present these attributes online, the more likely you’ll sell a product. The website for Nordstrom, a long-standing leader in customer service (more on that below), offers a straightforward user experience with products and deals categorized in intuitive ways.

3) Optimized and Relevant Mobile Applications

Along with showrooming, the SDL study found that 40% of people under the age of 40 research products on smartphones. So, not only should your website present valuable product information, it should do so in a way that is optimized for consumers on the go. For example, the Nordstrom smartphone app nicely adopts the content and user experience from the desktop site creating a simple and intuitive smartphone presence in both the mobile browser and app.

4) Unified Online and In-Store Experiences

With the prevalence of showrooming and research on smartphones, it is crucial that what a consumer sees online is what they get in the store. It’s no good if you provide an extraordinary online experience, but once the consumer arrives at your storefront, the product or brand experience is poor. A unified and strong correlation between your online and in-store experiences demonstrates an efficiency and consistency that customers value. Kohl’s, one of the leading department stores in America, excels at presenting unified online and in-store experiences. The product categories on the website align with the departments in the retail stores, and any sales or deals receive the same creative treatment online as in the store. The company’s stores are also WiFi-enabled, and kiosks are utilized to help facilitate in-store shopping.

5) Outstanding Customer Service

Holidays are a time of joy — and stress. Shopping, family gatherings, travel, and more make the holidays a time when patience wears thin. Customers want ease and efficiency when buying a product, and outstanding customer service is more of a commodity during the holidays than at any other time of the year. Develop ways to get your customers the products they want and need by developing initiatives that streamline that experience. LL Bean is known for its outstanding customer service, including a 1-800 number where callers can promptly speak with a customer service representative to discuss and resolve issues with products.

So, when you’re planning your brand strategy for this holiday or next, use these five elements as a guide. With the ever-increasing number of touchpoints a customer has with a brand, it’s crucial your brand experience is consistent and compelling in its delivery across them all —especially during the holidays. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can optimize your seasonal branding, contact us.

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