‘Tis the season for lots (and lots and lots) of digital messaging from ecommerce brands.
The steady stream of holiday-related content has been steadily building throughout the fall and has now turned into a flood. By this time of year, consumers’ inboxes, social feeds, and web searches are bursting with pleas and promotions from businesses.
So how can you break through all this noise? Which approaches will inspire consumers to take action on your holiday-themed digital marketing efforts?
Below are seven great examples of ecommerce brands that have found ways to stand out. These aren’t the most expensive or flashiest campaigns; rather they are the ones that have been able to engage audiences efficiently with simple, clear, and effective holiday messaging.
Marketers often forget how time-strapped people are during the holidays. Finding moments to shop for everyone amidst all the day-to-day obligations can be difficult and stressful. Given this, if you want to connect with audiences this time of year do one very simple thing: be helpful.
Home goods e-retailer Wayfair shows how to execute this perfectly with its online holiday gift guides. The key is that these go beyond simply “For Him” and “For Her” and provide specific ideas based on cost, shipping options, personal style, and even niche interests such as a love of cheese.
— Wayfair.com (@Wayfair) November 27, 2016
Retailer Nordstrom has taken the idea of providing gift inspiration one step further and created a dedicated online “pop-in” shop. The microsite is curated by Olivia Kim, the company’s VP of Creative Projects, and contains a large — but not too large — selection of interesting products at all price points.
A big benefit of the offering is that it gives Nordstrom a landing area to promote across the web and social media. For example, the company used it as the foundation of a holiday-themed sponsored content initiative with Thrillist.
The holidays aren’t solely about loving get-togethers and sweet memories. They also often include embarrassing mishaps and strange situations.
Chubbies, the irreverent menswear brand, has stood out this season by diving deeply into that discomfort. The company has a history of being cutting-edge with its marketing (it has a Snapchat video series about superheroes in shorts), and its holiday content — such as the YouTube video below about a very awkward family kiss — is firmly part of that tradition.
— Chubbies (@Chubbies) December 1, 2016
Sometimes they key to effective holiday-themed digital marketing is to keep things simple.
Online marketplace Etsy has effectively connected with audiences this season by posting gift idea photos of its partners’ products to its popular Instagram account. The key to success is in the selection of the images: each is well-composed, engaging, and feels distinctly part of the brand.
Crate and Barrel
Homegoods retailer Crate and Barrel has found success this year by going beyond creating holiday content solely about its promotions (though it has plenty of that too).
In particular, the company’s partnership with food blog Half Baked Harvest has produced some delicious results. Pieces such as “Three Ways to Bake Up Yummy Gifts for the Holiday” do include product integrations, but they’re also filled with useful tips/recipes that help make the holidays better (and tastier).
Pet360 starts with a huge advantage over many other ecommerce sites: its products are perfectly showcased via adorable animal content.
Still, the company gets credit for making the most of this opportunity. It has created a slew of fun holiday-themed social posts and even developed a dedicated Pinterest board for pet gift ideas.
Moreover, the brand has made consumers part of the process by asking them to submit their own pet photos: that move has smartly amplified reach, created more content, and built lots of goodwill.
Toby has found himself in one tough predicament.
Let’s see your favorite holiday pet photos! pic.twitter.com/ZuSMUaXljV
— Pet360 (@Pet360) December 1, 2016
Finally, REI has created a successful holiday campaign by doing something truly audacious: it has asked consumers to buy less stuff.
The sporting goods retailer has been slowly building its winter #OptOutside message for years, and this season it went all-in. Rather than push any sort of Black Friday / Cyber Monday deals, it encouraged people to go outside rather than shop, and it is now amplifying that message even more.
The stuff we remember… isn’t stuff . This holiday season, celebrate the people and places that make it all matter. pic.twitter.com/8IYA21GMOZ
— REI (@REI) December 1, 2016
The campaign isn’t completely selfless — the move builds the brand and parts of the campaign still subtly showcase products — but it’s certainly a case of standing out by thinking differently.