How To Stand Out From The Crowd During Major Retail Events

How to stand out from the crowd during major retail events

Retailers are on a constant quest to stand out from their competitors, draw customers in, and turn them into loyal shoppers. During major retail (aka hallmark) events (we’re talking about Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day etc.) this can become even more of a challenge. Why? Because retailers are all trying to engage customers from the same place (i.e., the event itself). The good news is, during major retail events customers are waiting to buy – you just need to direct them to the best (that’s you!) and they’ll forget about the rest. We’ve put together some of our top tips and tricks that will help you get the most out of major retail events. 

Sell the Story

Hallmark events are all about emotion (even just for fun holidays like Halloween); they’re celebratory in every sense of the word, full of grand cultural customs and family traditions, they evoke feelings of nostalgia that are incredibly difficult for consumers to ignore. As marketers, it’s our job to turn those feelings into buying. Of course, you need to start with a great product / price etc., but after that (especially during major retail events) it all comes down to the great retelling of a very familiar story. When you’re able to successfully sell the story, and tap into consumer feelings, you can turn ‘want’ (i.e., wanting a product) into ‘should’ (i.e., “I should celebrate / commemorate / give / share / get / enjoy… with that” - aka your product).  Encourage sharing, generosity, and reciprocity (these experiences are at the heart of almost all hallmark events); this can be via suggestions of gift-giving between loved ones, charitable donations based purchases (e.g., for every $100 spent we’ll donate to [charity]), and gift with purchase offers that directly reward consumers. A great campaign will make your product feel like an essential part of creating all the happiness associated with hallmark events, and this is what consumers want.

Timing is Everything

During major retail events, it’s important to invest in your campaigns; creating ‘buzz’ and building excitement around your campaign is a great way to engage consumers. When consumers anticipate reward, they’ll be extra tuned in to your brand – just waiting for the next great thing. Anticipation can come from within a campaign (e.g., gift with purchase, special offers, discount days etc.) or become a part of your brand itself (think Starbucks holiday cups, and special Christmas-y drinks). 
People generally have a fear of missing out, this is good news for retailers; campaigns should be finite, and customers need this message loud and clear. Limiting the duration of campaigns or offers creates a sense of urgency that encourages customers to buy now, before it’s too late. This doesn’t have to be negative or demanding, keep it positive with these fun (and finite) ideas:
•    ‘Today only’ special offers
•    Advent-style special offers (e.g., 12 days of Christmas, five days of Easter bargains)
•    Campaign countdown (e.g., timer on website, email reminders)

Back to the Start

Just a quick reminder - it’s super important to schedule all of the above, across all platforms (in-store, online, social media, television etc.). A good trick is to work back from the end of the campaign; think about everything you need to share with consumers to make the most out of your campaign. 

Make it Personal

A great way to stand out from the crowd (i.e., your competitors) during major retail events is to make it personal. Now we love Nutella, but would you really buy a jar of Nutella as a Christmas gift if you couldn’t put the recipient’s name on it? Probably not, but you can (and we did!) – genius! Personalising products, as well as the buying experience, increases the emotional bond consumers have with your brand and product – remember hallmark events are all about emotion.

Make it Easy

With so many brands and companies stocking similar products and promoting the same retail event, another way to separate your brand from competitors is to make things simple and easy for consumers. Think about convenience; offer free shipping, fast shipping, complimentary gift-wrapping, or value adding; complimentary gift card, gift with purchase, and gift-wrapping (again). It’s also worth taking the time to create a gift-guide; providing consumers with gift-guide content (across all platforms) is a fantastic way to reduce decision making time. 

Just One More Thing

While embracing the theme of each hallmark event is super important (and fun!), it’s equally important to maintain your brand recognisably at the core of every campaign. Hallmark events always eventually come to an end, so it’s essential consumers remain connected to the ‘brand behind the event.’

And One Little Favour… 

We’d love it if you shared this with your friends and colleagues – with Mother’s Day just around the corner, our tips and tricks could be very useful! (thanks!)