Holiday shopping digital age gift cards Ackroo

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The average Canadian shopper plans to spend around $650 on gifts in 2023 compared to $675 last year. Many are feeling the financial pressures of rising cost of living and higher interest rates. But despite the economic headwinds and challenges, many Canadian businesses, specifically retailers, are predicting strong sales over the holidays. The first indication was the healthy sales numbers during Black Friday and Cyber Monday which grew 11% over last year’s numbers.

With over 30 million Canadians eager to shop for the holidays, whether in-store or online, merchants can leverage this sales opportunity to build their customer data. E-commerce sales in Canada is predicted to exceed past $100 billion by the end of 2023 so if you are a merchant with an ecommerce platform, take advantage of the opportunity to capture critical customer data through loyalty programs so you can nurture this relationship using a strategic communications plan throughout the year.

Predicted 2023 Trends in Holiday Shopping

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Increased E-commerce Transactions

Canadian e-commerce revenue has been steadily increasing but experienced a slight dip in 2022. 2023 is expected to see another surge in online shopping, with total predicted revenue reaching $55.73 billion. Digital shopping is increasingly accessible on various platforms, and more businesses have taken advantage of e-commerce platforms since the pandemic. It was imperative to have online options to keep your business afloat. While the novelty of holiday shopping in person is still there, e-commerce sites should prepare for a massive influx of shoppers ordering in advanced or as last-minute gift ideas for the holiday season.

Automated Marketing Messages

Personalization and automation in marketing is getting more and more sophisticated. With the amount of data available to you, you can automate certain marketing tasks that have become menial and time-consuming. Instead of allocating resources to tailoring marketing messages manually, for instance, businesses are scheduling out social posts and ads with holiday-centred messaging that is targeted toward their specific audience. This type of mass marketing can still be personalized with the help of advanced tech like AI and machine learning. Tap into this to promote your loyalty program and focus on the tasks that matter this holiday season.

Buy Online, Pickup In-Store Programs

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Buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) programs allow shoppers to browse from the comfort of their own homes and then collect the items in person. While the amount of these types of orders has declined slightly post-pandemic, the global BOPIS market is expected to reach $703 billion by 2027. However, only 31% of Canadian retailers offer BOPIS options. To stand out and get a leg up on the competition, you can incorporate BOPIS into your loyalty programs. This will cater to a large chunk of your target consumers.

Overall, expect the unexpected this holiday season. Your loyalty program and business, in general, need operational resilience to roll with the punches that often happen during holiday retail. Planning now will allow you to stay afloat in the event of natural disasters, supply chain disruptions, cyber-attacks, or labour strikes. Keep this in mind when putting together your holiday loyalty program manifesto for 2023 and beyond.

Tailoring Your Loyalty Program to the Holiday Season

Loyalty programs are a key part of business growth, allowing you to foster long-term relationships with customers. If this program is successful, it can increase the number of sales and positive associations with your brand. During the holidays, rewards and perks may be the difference between shoppers going with your shop or another company. Make sure you’re prepared to give the consumers what they want in the 2023 holiday season.

Members-Only Return Policy Perks

The holiday season often brings with it a surge in returns and exchanges. Offering members an exclusive return policy, such as extended return windows or hassle-free returns, can enhance their shopping confidence and reinforce their loyalty to your brand.

Holiday Promotions

Holiday Shopping Gift Cards Loyalty rewards

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Engage your loyalty program members with exciting holiday-themed promotions. Incorporate gamification elements like games, sweepstakes, and challenges that encourage active participation. Not only does this foster a sense of community among your members, but it also amplifies their excitement for holiday shopping.

Buy Now, Pay Later Options

Flexible payment options have gained popularity, and “Buy Now, Pay Later” (BNPL) services are expected to play a significant role in the Canadian 2023 holiday shopping season. Integrate BNPL options into your loyalty program to empower members with greater financial flexibility and encourage higher spending. You can implement these options through your own financial institution, or you can partner with trusted third parties like Paypal, Affirm, Klarna, and Afterpay.

Holiday Gift Cards

Gift cards remain a classic choice for holiday shoppers, and they present an excellent opportunity for loyalty programs. Consider offering special holiday-themed gift cards, designed with aesthetics in mind. Whether they’re digital or physical cards, the holiday spin will appeal to shoppers. Consider also adding perks or discounts for loyalty program members that purchase gift cards. These gift cards can attract new members to your program and drive increased engagement, especially if the loyalty members are getting something out of their gift card purchase, too.

Multiplied Rewards Days

You can also designate specific days during the holiday season as multiplied reward days. On these days, loyalty program members can earn double or triple the usual rewards for their purchases. This time-limited boost in rewards encourages higher spending and creates a sense of urgency, driving members to make their holiday purchases within the designated timeframe. Strategically place these days during times that your shop has historically seen a dip in holiday spending to increase your bottom line.

Above all, staying attuned to holiday shopping trends will position your loyalty program for success. As a Canadian business owner with a loyalty program, aligning your strategy with these trends and tailoring your offerings to the holiday season can significantly enhance your program’s impact. The engagement and loyalty that you foster during the holidays then have the potential to continue for years to come.

Blog Contribution: Amanda Winstead