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6 Ways To Market To The Last Minute Holiday Shopper

by Ritika Puri

It’s officially holiday crunch time.

There are plenty of procrastinators scouring the web for deals and there’s no time to waste.

So let’s take a look at six ways to nab your share of those last minute sales.

1.  If you can still get it there, let ’em know

Imagine a panicked shopper hunting around the Internet for last minute gift ideas.

They’re moving fast and the one thing on their mind is:

Is there still time to have this shipped?

If your store can still get items to customers before December 25th, sing it loud and clear.

REI knows the value of communicating this to holiday shoppers at this late date.  Notice how they reassure their visitors by giving them an exact cut-off date and time.

The “Gift Ideas Made Easy” message is calming to frantic last-minute shoppers.  And then, an intuitive button with the text “Shop Last Minute Gifts” moves the shopper right down the funnel.

I can hear REI shoppers everywhere breathe a sigh of relief.  Problem solved.

REI Last Minute

2. Invite them into the store

Even if there isn’t time to ship items, invite folks into the store.

Target’s main offer on their home page as of Thursday evening, the 20th of December, is clearly aimed at last minute shoppers.

Notice how there is quick and easy access to a store locator in this offer.

Target Last Minute Gifts

3. Sell Printable or eGift Cards

Everyone wants to have something tangible to give that special someone — but at this late date even a gift card may not arrive in time.

If you can give shoppers the ability to print their gift card online or email it to themselves or their loved one, you’ve solved their problem.

The online clothier Express has both traditional and eGift Cards available,

Express Last Minute Gift Ideas

4. Make it social

A quick search of Twitter revealed about 50 tweets per minute containing the words ‘last minute shopping.’

Shoppers are connected through the social web so give people a reason to let others know that you can solve their last minute shopping conundrum at your store.

How about a last minute coupon that could be shared?

Boutique online and offline store Kembrel put this out to an audience of 1300 followers on Twitter,

Kembrel Last Minute

and nearly 5000 members of their Facebook page

Kembrel Last Minute

5. Offer Gift Suggestions

Here’s a riddle:

What is tougher than finding the perfect gift ?

Trying to find the perfect gift at the last minute, of course.

For some shoppers it’s not only a matter of WHERE they will shop but WHAT they will buy.

Consider putting together a page on your website like “10 Last Minute Gifts For Mom” or something similar and use your SEO and social media chops to get it out to the public.

They’ll be so relieved to find a great gift idea they can buy from you.  Everyone wins.

Macy’s put together a list of accessories for women and broadcast it through Twitter,

Macys Last Minute Shopping

6. Prepare for the 26th

Okay, assuming the Mayan Apocalypse doesn’t obliterate us before this article goes live, Christmas will come and go.

Ever been to a mall on December 26th? It’s one of the busiest shopping days of the year. Consumers are up and ready to spend the gift cards that they received the day before. And keep in mind that after the 25th, there is no more time crunch for shipping deadlines.

“Christmas Day may have passed, but that doesn’t mean your holiday marketing has to end,” said Rebekah Hanson in a blog post for AWeber Communications.

This is the perfect time to put together a strategy to nab some post-holiday sales.

Aim for Better Luck Next Year

The beauty of the holidays is that they happen year after year.

So what if you missed the boat for 2012? It’s never too early to get ready for 2013.

What about you?  How do you market to the last minute holiday shoppers?

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Ritika Puri

Ritika Puri is a San Francisco-based blogger who writes about trends in business, internet culture, and marketing. She’s inspired by the intersection between technology, entrepreneurship, and sociology. By day, she works for a large online media company, and after-hours, she runs her writing consulting business, UserGrasp.


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