The Top 5 Summer Shopping Holidays that Retail & E-Commerce Marketers Should Focus On

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SMS Marketing
Published on
Jul 2, 2019
Written by
Nicole McAleer
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With over five unique shopping “holidays,” the summer season presents a golden opportunity for marketers to connect with consumers. Here’s how marketers can reach on-the-go shoppers and drive summertime sales:

For marketers, seasonal holidays present a huge opportunity to drive web and foot traffic and, in turn, increase sales. With five big summer shopping events—like Independence Day, Back-to-School shopping, and more—all in the span of just a few months, marketers should take advantage of this potential to connect with shoppers.

When planning summer marketing strategies, it’s important to consider how consumer habits drastically change during this season. People are spending more time traveling and exploring the great outdoors, so it’s much more likely that they’re spending time on their mobile devices than sitting in front of a computer.

Here are five ways marketers can effectively connect with mobile shoppers during this summer’s hottest shopping dates:

Independence Day – Thursday, July 4

Americans are expected to spend $6.8 billion on Independence Day this year. Some of the top selling categories include merchandise (like flags and apparel), travel, food, and beer. Over 86% percent of Americans plan to participate in the 4th of July festivities in some way, shape, or form, making it a key event for retail marketers to promote.

According to the NRF, those who celebrate by having a picnic or barbecue tend to spend more on festive items than those who celebrate in other ways. E-commerce and retail brands should consider promoting relevant, patriotic items that shoppers are looking for to enhance their celebrations, especially to consumers who have browsed or purchased similar items before.

The NRF also noted that younger people are embracing the Fourth of July more than older audiences. Marketers should pay attention to this demographic and adjust strategies accordingly. Since 100% of adults in the 18-29 population use SMS/MMS, personalized text messaging offers an unsaturated platform to engage younger consumers on their mobile devices.

Amazon Prime Day – July 15-16

Amazon announced its fifth annual Prime Day sale will take place on July 15-16, expanding the sale to 48 hours. Last year, shoppers spent $4.2 billion during Amazon’s 36-hour Prime Day sale, making it the e-commerce giant’s biggest sales days of the year. Consumers will likely spend billions of dollars again this year, with 58% of Americans planning to shop the event. E-commerce marketers need to find innovative ways to drive traffic to their own sites.

Marketers can implement a variety of marketing strategies to drive web traffic to their sites throughout Prime Day. E-commerce brands should consider offering free shipping on Prime Day to match consumers’ expectations. One way to break through the noise and directly reach your target audience on this day is through mobile messaging. E-commerce marketers can reach subscribers with a text about limited-time promotions to drive immediate action. (See more tips here!)

Back-to-School Shopping – Early July through Late August

Back-to-school shopping is the second biggest shopping season of the year. In 2018, total spending reached $27.6 billion, or $510 per household. Back-to-school shoppers primarily spend money on clothing, accessories (like backpacks), and school supplies to prepare for their children’s upcoming school year. 62% of parents plan to begin back-to-school shopping before August, which means that marketers need to plan ahead to ensure they reach the audience in time.

A Deloitte survey suggests that more shoppers (53%) plan to use mobile devices rather than desktops during back-to-school shopping. Since shoppers will already be on their phones looking around for sales, retailers should incorporate personalized text messaging into their back-to-school campaigns to better reach this on-the-go audience.

Back-to-College Shopping – Throughout August

Back-to-college is another major shopping experience throughout July and August that marketers should plan for, and is unique compared to back-to-school which focuses more on elementary & high school students. In 2018, shoppers spent approximately $25.5 billion on back-to-college shopping, including items such as home furnishings, personal care items, and food.

Gen Z—the shoppers who will be influencing back-to-college shopping the most—spends double the time of Millennials using mobile devices for shopping and converts about twice as much on mobile than any other demographic. Marketers need an effective way to reach these shoppers where they’re spending their time: mobile messaging.

One great example of this comes from Dormify, the online dorm furnishings retailer. Using Attentive, the brand recently sent out a text message to a target group of customers to notify them about new styles available for men. The message included a custom gif graphic with two different pre-decorated dorm styles and a clear call-to-action encouraging shoppers to either shop for themselves or for friends.

Labor Day – Monday, September 2

Americans spent a whopping $2 billion online on Labor Day in 2018, a 23.4% increase from 2017 sales. This was a new record high, with Labor Day becoming the first one-day holiday outside of the November-December holiday season to surpass $2 billion in online spending. As the last holiday of the summer season, marketers can focus on targeting households that have yet to do back-to-school shopping.

There’s no doubt that consumer shopping behavior is continuing to shift towards mobile. In 2018, approximately 40% of total retail e-commerce sales were generated via smartphones, and that is only expected to increase even more this year. Marketers need to continue to adapt to this change by reaching mobile consumers in new ways.

Don’t miss out on more marketing tips and important retail & e-commerce holidays this year. Download our full 2019 planning calendar to stay on top of important shopping dates and mobile marketing strategies for each month.


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