2024 Holiday Marketing Tips for Multi-Location Brands

As the year winds down, businesses across the globe gear up for the annual marketing extravaganza. Black Friday, Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner—as well as many national holidays all around the world.

The holiday season is a golden opportunity for businesses to connect with their audience. It is, however, overshadowed by economic uncertainties with limited budget for marketing teams and customers tightening their purse strings. To overcome unstable economic conditions, marketers are challenged to ‘do more with less’—and there’s a few things to consider:

The digital transformation accelerates.

With the continued growth of e-commerce, online shopping during the holiday season reaches new heights. In fact, digital continues to remain a key part of the customer journey, but will not always be the final destination. But consumer-business interactions are becoming more phygital as we speak, so customers may visit several of your business profiles, social media channels or location landing pages but eventually make their way to your locations.

Consumers want real-world experiences.

Call it the aftermath of COVID, but consumers today crave ‘real’ in-person experiences that can’t be replicated online. Google found that 73% of all 2020 holiday sales in the US took place in a store—showing us once again that brick-and-mortar shopping isn’t dead. Having a physical presence at local stores will be a significant advantage over online-only competitors.

Retail sales surges, and consumer spending soars.

According to the National Retail Federation, holiday retail sales in 2023 will reach record levels during November and December, growing between 3% and 4% over 2022 to between $957.3 billion and $966.6 billion. The average U.S. consumer was projected to spend over $1,000 on holiday gifts and expenses in 2022.

But let’s explore the art and science of seasonal marketing.

Deck The Halls With Seasonal Marketing Strategies

The holiday season brings a unique atmosphere of joy, generosity, and nostalgia. Businesses that tap into these sentiments through strategic seasonal marketing can foster a deeper connection with their audience. And by aligning your brand with the spirit of Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas—in that order—you can create memorable experiences that resonate and drive sales.

Understand Your Audience

Before diving into the festivities, it's essential to understand your target audience. Because different demographics may respond to holiday marketing campaigns in distinct ways. Consider factors such as age, interests, cultural background and purchasing behavior.

Are you targeting families, millennials, or individuals looking for gifts? Tailoring your approach to match your audience's preferences will significantly enhance the effectiveness of your campaign.

Craft Compelling Content

Content is king, and during the holiday season, it becomes even more critical. Create content that tells a story and evokes emotions tied to the holidays.

Whether it's heartwarming videos, festive blog posts, or engaging social media campaigns, make sure your content reflects the essence of the season. Showcase your products or services in a way that aligns with the holiday spirit, emphasizing how they can bring joy or solve common holiday challenges.

Consider Limited Offers and Scarcity

Highlighting exclusive deals that are only available during the holiday season can drive customers to make purchasing decisions quickly. Consider incorporating countdowns or limited stock notifications to emphasize the scarcity of certain products.

Provide Seamless Customer Experience

Ensure that your customers have a seamless and enjoyable shopping experience. Update your location data, promote seasonal offers across all your channels, and plan for more staff on site. Optimize your website for mobile users, streamline the checkout process, and offer convenient payment options.

Implementing features such as gift guides, wish lists, and easy returns can make holiday shopping stress-free for your customers, increasing the likelihood of conversions.

Host In-Store Events

Create a festive atmosphere by hosting in-store events that encourage community engagement. Consider organizing holiday-themed workshops, live demonstrations, or even partnering with local artisans for pop-up shops.

Events not only drive foot traffic but also provide an opportunity to showcase your products in a tangible way. Offer exclusive in-store discounts during these events to incentivize attendance and purchases. Local partnerships, on the other hand, expand your reach and strengthen community ties.

Give Back to the Community

Embrace the spirit of giving by incorporating a charitable component into your holiday marketing strategy. Partner with a local charity or nonprofit organization and donate a percentage of your holiday sales to a worthy cause. Not only does this foster a sense of community and goodwill, but it also sets your brand apart as socially responsible, attracting socially conscious consumers.

Holiday Marketing Tips For Your Target Group

We've identified three major consumer categories you can expect this season and offer holiday marketing tips to engage and draw each of them into your locations.

Holiday Marketing Tips for the "Price-Conscious Consumer"

This category will make up most of your consumer base, given the current economic climate. And to entice a good number of them, you should focus on products with a good price-performance ratio and limited-time promotions. Here are a few holiday marketing ideas:

  • Consider mobile or digital coupons to attract customers to your store — According to Codebroker, more than half of U.S. consumers said they are shopping less often when compared to pre-COVID-19 behavior. On a positive note, nearly two-thirds of shoppers said high-value mobile or digital coupons will get them to visit a physical store.

  • Use holiday email marketing to promote discounts75% of consumers scour their inboxes looking for relevant discounts. Whether you are a retailer, grocery store, restaurant, or service-based business, make sure your offers and discounts are in consumers' inboxes when they go looking this holiday season.

  • Encourage deal sharing — Cost-conscious consumers are sharing deals with family and friends on social media. In fact, sharing deals has increased 52% since before the pandemic began. So make use of unique coupon codes for customers who share a discount with a friend and then get a reward in return if a purchase is made.

  • Reward local social fans — If you have a local social following on Facebook and Instagram, this can be a great way to reach and reward loyal fans. If you are still building your local social following, consider encouraging customers to follow you for exclusive savings at their local store.

Leverage Social Ads for Your Holiday Marketing

Holiday Marketing Tips for the "Eat-Drink-Shop Local Consumer"

Holidays are often the times when some people want to eat, drink and shop locally. The charm of Christmas markets, local crafts, cuisines, or local businesses running their seasonal specials are undeniable. Here are some ideas to tap into this sentiment:

  • Empower local store managers — Give each of your local store operators a budget to put toward local charities, schools, and businesses in their area, or come up with a company-wide local impact initiative. For example, one national pizza chain made a commitment to give away 10 million slices of pizza to help feed those most affected by COVID-19. Every store had a free pizza giveaway quota to use in its community to meet the company goal.

  • Partner with local businesses — Partner with one or more complementary businesses in your area to bundle some products or services that consumers can enter to win with every purchase. If you're a spa, you might partner with a local gym in your area on a self-care basket that includes a one-month gym membership, some free products, and a free spa treatment.

  • Set up pop-up shops at local farmers' markets or holiday bazaars — We know that consumers are wary to visit retailers in person without a plan first. But, "shop local" consumers may make an exception for a trip to a local farmers market or a holiday bazaar. So join the small business community, and make nice by giving away samples, or donating a portion of your sales at the event to a local cause.

  • Give back to a local cause — Spread some goodwill during the holidays and give customers a way to support their community when they shop with you by giving a portion of your sales to local schools, a local food bank, or another local cause. Or suggest customers pay a purchase forward by buying a Toy for a Tot, canned food for a local food bank, or a food gift card for a needy family.

  • Leverage hyperlocal social ads — By targeting people near your storefront with the right message, you'll avoid highly competitive national ad spots and see a greater return with higher relevance.

Holiday Marketing Tips for the "Avoiding-the-Crowds Consumer"

In-store shopping demand is prone to vary throughout the season. Marketing during the holidays is never easy and is further complicated by consumer concerns around avoiding the rush and even missing out on those “must have” items given supply chain shortages.

Anything you can do to help consumers see how they can avoid the misery of the holiday rush by doing business with you (online or offline) will go a long way. People will go to great lengths to avoid crowds and ensure they get the coveted items of the season for their loved ones.

  • Reward the Early Bird — The phrase "the early bird gets the worm" has never been more true than it will be this holiday season. Encourage consumers to shop early with you (offline or online) to avoid the dreaded holiday rush. Offer free shipping for orders or discounts for consumers who shop early.

  • Consider special hours for loyal customers — If you are a higher-end retailer, spa, or salon, consider creating special hours for your loyal customers.
    These hours can be "by appointment only" to ensure fewer people and a more relaxed experience. Retailers can offer the opportunity to schedule an appointment with a shopping assistant and spas can create an extra special in-store experience for loyal customers that might include a bit of bubbly and a free gift with their service. These experiences can be advertised as "no-lines" and "hassle-free."

  • Make an extra effort to create omnichannel brand experiences — According to Google, this season’s shoppers will be more omnichannel than ever. Make sure you have an agile online and offline strategy to meet consumers when and where they feel comfortable.

  • Provide a seamless online to offline experience— Holiday shopping is already a hectic time, spare your customers any added inconveniences by ensuring your online presence is impeccable across the web: update location data, highlight extended hours and pick-up options, promote special offers, add photos, and make your primary CTA clear.

  • Provide easy online access to in-store inventory — With the ongoing supply chain issues that are expected to impact the holiday retail season, holiday shoppers want to know what they are buying before heading in-store. More people will be looking for those hard-to-find items so you can be transparent about your inventory, this is an opportunity to exceed customers’ expectations — a key factor of a great local customer experience. Leverage the "See What's In Store" feature on the GBP knowledge panel that allows retailers to upload a feed of inventory.

With the year’s biggest shopping days coming earlier each year, marketing leaders need to prepare now for a season of peak demand. So, deck the halls, spread the cheer, and watch your business thrive during the most wonderful time of the year.

For more ideas on how to create a memorable customer experience for the holiday season and beyond, take a deeper dive into our library of e-books, guides and reports.

Optimize Your Online Presence for the Holidays