Getting Q4 Right: Preparing for the Year-end Shopping Season

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The last quarter of the year is essentially a paean to consumerism, with at least one shopping event every month. We’ve kickstarted the season with 10.10, and we still have Amazon Prime Day, 11.11, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, 12.12, and Boxing Day to look forward to. 

For a lot of brands, Q4 is indeed the prime season—as it promises potentially high returns for those that know how to capitalise on this trend.

We asked our PRecious experts to share some tips on how brands can better prepare to make the most of this season.

Putting the focus on brand loyalty vs short-term sales pushes

From the traditional Western Black Friday sales kick-off to the 10.10 and 11.11 shopping festivals that originated in the East, customers now expect sales offers all-year round. Accelerated through Covid-enforced lockdowns and extended homestays, we all started scouring for more things online more often, and became more mature in terms of evaluating offers, going beyond mere comparisons, but also considering incentives and loyalty programmes in combination with flexible payment options.

Therefore, I don’t foresee the massive year-end shopping season we were used to in the past. The spending urges and abilities of the individual consumer have become more diverse and are no longer focused just on the year-end.

From a brand perspective, this means that you have to acknowledge that you might have to play a different game—thanking those who spent on your products already throughout the pandemic, throwing in some year-end hot-cake items, but overall looking at strengthening brand affinity and loyalty rather than aiming for short-term sales pushes.

Lars Voedisch, Founder & Managing Director, PRecious Communications

Data-driven storytelling

Clarence Lim, Client Services Director, PRecious SPARKS

As the year-end shopping period approaches, media and consumers are preparing for a deluge of news about the biggest and latest discounts and promotions. Every communicator and marketing professional in the B2C and even B2B2C space will be looking at how to best position their brands to cut above the noise. The trick: how to tell a new story that is different from anyone else’s.

For us and our clients, this is actually a perfect opportunity to show leadership in the space. Every brand has their own unique story to tell, but this is about making sure that it is also relevant to a broader audience. What counts is not the latest promotion or sales number, but the data that tells an original story—whether it is about impacted supply chains during the pandemic, trends in purchasing behaviour, or new methods of payment. 

Clarence Lim, Practice Head, INC

Value-added gift-wrapping services

No pandemic can dampen the spirit of thanksgiving. Consumers may have smaller budgets compared to pre-Covid days, but they are still very much keen to purchase gift items for friends and family. As such, brands should focus on appealing to a wider range of price points. 

Given the current social distancing measures, brands should think about making the gift-buying experience more convenient. Brands could ask consumers to write their greetings on an online form, and offer to handle the rest, including gift wrapping, printing of the greeting card, and delivery to the recipient’s address.

Busakorn Srisongkhroh, Thailand Market Lead

Localising the consumer experience

Joyce Hutapea, Senior Manager, PRecious Indonesia

Indonesia has seen a surge in e-commerce amidst the pandemic. Besides 10.10, 11.11, and 12.12, consumers have also started to enjoy “brand days” on the different e-commerce platforms, which offer larger discounts than in-store. Businesses actually market their products on more than one platform simultaneously.

Brands can capture a bigger slice of the pie by personalising the consumer experience. Weeks ahead of the “D-Day,” they can release relevant stories that connect the products with the human experience through influencer reviews and social media. 

In Indonesia, we are encouraged to support local SMEs and brands, to keep our economy rolling. Brands should therefore also focus on local stories and experiences.

Joyce Rodwina, Indonesia Market Lead

Available information on opening hours during holiday season

Kiran

As we are nearing the end of the year, most consumers, brands, and retailers know that planning for this make-or-break moment starts now.

Much like last year, the holiday season looks very different from pre-Covid days. The pandemic has irreversibly changed the way people discover, shop, and buy. 

Brands and retailers of all sizes will likely be challenged to capture pent-up demand and adapt to new ways of serving customers as we approach another extended shopping season. As early as now, brands are starting to connect with both loyal and new customers across digital and mobile channels. 

One detail they should prepare for, as they ramp up their omnichannel strategy, is ensuring that all employees, especially the customer service staff, are aware of the extended opening hours during the holidays. Ensure that these are updated in the contact pages and communicate them in internal and external channels. 

Kiranjeet Sidhu, Client Services Director, Malaysia

Inspired by this post? If you are a startup or a corporate and are looking to build trusted relationships with your key audiences, get in touch with us to expand your company’s PR and communications game. Let’s push creative boundaries together.

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