With a growing number of consumers avoiding stores and shopping online for gifts, prospects for online sales are bright this holiday season. Here are five ways retailers and brands can stand out from the digital competition.

Gary Burtka, vice president of U.S. operations, RTB House

Gary Burtka, vice president of U.S. operations, RTB House

The run-up to holiday shopping season has arrived and the retail forecast is bright. With reports that many U.S. consumers are feeling financially confident, 2018 promises holiday ecommerce sales growth of more than 15 percent, according to eMarketer.

While Black Friday shopping in brick-and-mortar stores the day after Thanksgiving is on the decline, nearly 73 percent of adult shoppers polled by Harris in September said they feel the opposite about Cyber Monday, when many companies offer up their best digital deals. More consumers are passing on the retail experience to shop online and avoid the mad dash of holiday foot traffic.

Here are five strategies that digital marketers should consider to break through the prime-time holiday shopping noise and score even bigger online sales this season:

Long-term customer acquisition and the cultivation of repeat buyers is the ultimate end game for most marketers.

1. Think Cyber Monday Week

There’s been a trend of online sales extending from the Monday before Cyber Monday to the big day, in part driven by mass-media stories and a blitz of promotions that put everyone into a buying mood. Extending special deals to a week-long event vs. a one-day sale can really boost revenues. From a paid media perspective, heavying up on channel search and affiliate marketing from Saturday through Tuesday can be a highly effective strategy. Make sure to have your strongest performing ads running on your top networks.

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2. Mobilize for Millennial Dollars

Millennials, who now spend more than 5X more time on a mobile device than watching TV, have become the biggest spenders over the holiday weekend before Cyber Monday. Last year in the U.S., they spent more than $400 each. Showing a bigger variety of products and offers in creative displayed on smartphones and tablets attracts more buyers and clicks. “Share this” contests and promotions on popular social feeds can extend content reach.

3. Use Relevant Imagery and Information

Displaying holiday-themed creative, shoppable images and using video to showcase products creates a more immersive experience and increases consumer engagement. New capabilities to serve up products that are more personalized to shoppers and showcasing products from different angles stimulates interest and likelihood for a purchase. Ensure key buying decision elements about products are clear, including pricing and shipping options, which is a high priority this time of year.

4. Play to Deal-Minded Consumers

Knowing the mindset of holiday shoppers looking for the best deals around Cyber Monday, there are a variety of tactics to consider such as offering a free item with other purchases, using a countdown ticker until the price of special offers goes back up, or even offering deeper real-time discounts on products to help encourage more impulse purchases. A strong call to action is critical as most brands will pay premiums to reach shoppers.

5. Set Your Sights on the Long Game

Of course, long-term customer acquisition and the cultivation of repeat buyers is the ultimate end game for most marketers. It’s important  to re-engage with holiday shoppers after Cyber Monday with future discounts and special offers. Make sure to allocate budget for Retargeting Tuesday and beyond to convert recently active shoppers. There’s an increased urgency as the last ship day before Christmas approaches.

RTB House is a global company that provides retargeting technology for brands worldwide. Based in Poland, the company set up its U.S. operation in April 2018.

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