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Here’s a bit of good news: this year there are two more shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas!

Holiday 2016 promises to ring loud at retail cash registers, if current forecasts hold true. With retail sales predicted to grow 3.1% in 2016, “the most wonderful time of the year” will bring shoppers to your stores for either perusing, purchasing or picking up items they’ve purchased online. And with Veterans Day shopping growing in popularity, the season starts earlier than ever. According to a 2015 PricewaterhouseCoopers report, more spending now happens before the start of Black Friday week than during it.

Regardless of why or when they shop, you have an opportunity to make an impact. What are you going to do to convert them from a new or infrequent shopper into a delighted customer who shops in your store year-round?

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If you’re using digital signage, you already know you have a great opportunity to engage shoppers. It is an effective tool to put the right message in front of the right customer at the right time.  Effective digital signage can enhance brand awareness and is an excellent way to up-sell and cross-sell. But now is the time to start working on your holiday marketing strategy and the digital signage content that supports it.

Store traffic will be up and new shoppers will visit your stores.  The entire experience must be on-point and your digital signage needs to be extra-spectacular, which is takes more than adding a few extra snowflakes to your content.  As you plan your digital signage for holiday 2016 shoppers, here are some tips to consider.

Design content to match your audience

Digital signage should be designed for the different customer types who appear over the holiday period.

  • Early shopper (October to early November): For those pre-planners who typically make a list, check it twice and start shopping early, show inspirational messages that reinforce their journey to look for the perfect gift. Be sure not to hard-sell the holiday messages yet. Mix it with “regularly scheduled” content so you don’t freak out the shoppers who aren’t ready for the holidays.
  • Pre-Thanksgiving (November 11-23): Shoppers become more price-sensitive during this time, so use in-store messaging to highlight current deals. There’s no need to promote specific door-busters that occur the following week. If they’re in-store the focus should be on conversion.
  • Thanksgiving weekend (November 24-27): This period, and Black Friday in particular, also features price-sensitive shoppers, and signage can promote continuing or new door-buster deals. If you’re promoting different products at different times of the day, use countdown clocks to create urgency that the deal is almost over.
  • Mid-stage (November 28-December 11): You may want to highlight bundles, promotions and gift suggestions by department and/or type (teacher gifts, office gifts, hostess gifts, etc.).
  • Late-stage (December 12-24): This is your last chance to encourage people to get going and finish up. Offer reminders on your signage, such as “did you get her everything on her list?” For the really late-stage shopper (December 23-24), consider promoting simple items like gift cards.
  • Post-holiday: After the rush is the time to freshen up your look. Shoppers may be weary, but they’re still coming back to spend their gift cards, find deals or make returns and exchanges. Plan your content to re-energize them with branded messaging to help them consider new items and sales so they stick with you in 2017.

Target the self-gifter

Self-gifters are those who buy not just for others, but also for themselves. I’ve certainly been guilty of this, and so are many of you – some 60% of shoppers spent an average of $132 on self-gifts last holiday season, according to the National Retail Federation. This behavior is led by millennials, who spend a larger proportion of their holiday budgets on themselves than older shoppers do, PricewaterhouseCoopers says.

Self-gifters are a growing and valuable segment to address as part of your marketing strategy and digital signage content. These are folks looking for a little reward during the busy holiday season, and respond particularly well to buy one-get one offers and making an extra purchase to earn a store reward card. Digital signage can address those types of offers, and sales assist tablets can remind associates to tell consumers about them.

Make it an experience

The store experience, with the opportunity to see, touch and compare merchandise, still matters to many, and there’s no reason to expect that to end anytime soon, as we discussed in a recent blog.  Utilize the power of digital signage to strategically engage with shoppers while they shop. It could make your stockings overflow this holiday season.

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