Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today's post, "Final Push for 2020 Holiday Sales," highlights the forecasts of holiday retail spending, the expected surge in e-Commerce shopping, and what we can expect under the auspices of record-setting COVID-19 spikes, all while state and local governments debate a second lockdown. Meanwhile, amidst what may seem like an overbearing amount of decision-making, we await the post-election process as it crawls to an inevitable conclusion. Before we dig in, we want to extend our condolences to all families that have lost a loved one due to the coronavirus. We offer our gratitude and thankful appreciation to all medical teams, first responders, and the essential workforce who continue to keep our society running. We also want to thank America for a robust 2020 election turnout that broke records. It is always positive when more people participate in our elections, as we all take steps toward forming a more perfect union. That said, we want to extend our congratulations to President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris for their historic victory. While online inboxes bulged with political commentary, mail-in ballots were the clear winner when the votes were tallied at the end of the day. The voters have spoken, and politicians, pundits, and pollsters now know that voters prefer mail-in ballots. While a pandemic may have gotten the voters to this point, it will not be a requirement to justify using them in the future. Mail-in ballots may be the beginning of a trend driving more states to invest in a mailing infrastructure that has proven to be widely efficient, even after the pandemic is under control and mitigated. Quote of the Day: "Having an excellent sales piece is a critical part of the success of any direct mail campaign. With the right sales piece, you could see your phone ring off the hook, your mailbox overflow with orders or your web page receive hundreds or even thousands of hits." – Craig Simpson
eCommerce Sales Projections According to eMarketer, US Holiday eCommerce sales will surge by 35.8% to $190.47 billion, offsetting brick-and-mortar decline. In addition, Black Friday and Cyber Monday will both top $10 billion in eCommerce sales. That's a ton of cheddar to be had by those retailers that successfully market to customers and prospects.
Still, according to eMarketer, "Retailers are bracing for a softer holiday season due to the pandemic." While they expect to see a significant shift to e-commerce, overall sales are up by an incremental $50 billion in sales versus 2019. In-store holiday sales will decline by 4.7% to $822.79 million. But online gains will entirely make up for these losses, resulting in a growth of 0.9% for total holiday season sales, to $1.013 trillion.
Note:We define holiday season sales as those occurring in November and December.
Andrew Lipsman, an eMarketer principal analyst at Insider Intelligence, states, "This holiday season will see a continuation of the channel-shift to eCommerce, as shoppers look to avoid crowds and minimize their number of in-person shopping trips. With these huge gains expected, there's growing concern around the potential for 'shippageddon,' where high package volumes overwhelm logistics capacity and result in deliveries arriving after Christmas. We believe that shoppers will pull forward more of their purchases than they typically do and shift e-Commerce buying to click-and-collect orders over the last 10 days of the season to prevent these scenarios."
Keep in mind that digital marketing and advertising will also break records. Customers are already noticing that their online bandwidth is under strain due to a host of issues tied to the pandemic. If your bandwidth is slow, blame it on work-from-home initiatives, spikes in COVID-19 cases, curtailed social hours at bars and restaurants, and cancellation of in-person classes.
In short, just as we saw in the political marketing arena, all mediums are being utilized for the final holiday sales push. This omnichannel marketing approach will continue for the retail sector and include online messaging, television, cable, email marketing, radio, and direct mail marketing. As far as the retail industry goes, it is all-hands-on-deck.
Direct Mail Amps Up Marketing Results
Mastering a wide variety of channels in and of itself is a daunting task. Selecting effective media channels is challenging. To orchestrate those options with sequencing, timing, and management is equally daunting. As a result, brands and marketers are choosing quality above quantity. Besides, they are leaning towards more one-to-one versus mass marketing, meaning they are looking to impart personalization as the focus of engagement. That said, marketing initiatives should integrate both direct mail marketing and digital mediums into a cohesive marketing plan.
In this climate, it makes sense for any marketing concern to be aware that the digital landscape, while already overwhelmed by the sheer amount of traffic, makes it more challenging to compete and breakthrough its targeted demographics. By using direct mail marketing, recipients can receive print collateral in their physical mailboxes to direct them to specific online destinations, thus improving the likelihood that more targeted customers and prospects will engage and respond.
Get Ready for the Holiday Push
Direct mail marketing's engagement and response rates lead all mediums. It's a wise decision for marketers to invest in direct mail to uplift any retail marketing initiatives. Now is the time and consumers are ready. Reports indicate that consumers began holiday shopping in October. Connect with them now if you want to close and meet your number before the year-end. Here are a few tips from the USPS regarding holiday mailing:
Use free Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes. They are available at local Post Offices or online at usps.com/freeboxes.
Make it easy with Click-N-Ship. You can create shipping labels and pay for postage online at usps.com/ship.
Schedule a free Package Pickup when the carrier delivers your mail. It's free regardless of the number of packages. Or, pickups can be scheduled at usps.com/pickup.
Mail and packages that weigh more than 10 ounces and/or are more than a half-inch thick using stamps as postage cannot be dropped into a collection box or left for a carrier to pick up. Instead, take them to a window clerk at a Post Office.
Notwithstanding those four USPS data points, retail operations looking to do mass mailings should locate a full-service data, print, mail, and marketing solutions, provider. Additional solutions would include Fully Automated Bar-Code Presort, Variable Digital Printing, MLOCR, Lettershop and Fulfillment, and an in-house USPS certified mail clerk. A provider such as Dove Direct can provide you with a host of full-service print and mail solutions for such an undertaking.
It is a fact that this retail holiday season will be like none other in history. With some elections outstanding, a pandemic that is still raging, and most suffering from pandemic-fatigue, engaging targets will be challenging. However, many people will look to brands to cheer them up and help remove the feeling of malaise that so many are experiencing. It may seem like a year for the ages, but it may also be an opportune time to delight and surprise your prospects. Engage them with tactile communications that can motivate and inspire this holiday season. Please don't leave them to indefinite scrolling. Instead, send them physical greetings and gifts that are sure to delight. Thanks for taking a few moments to read the Final Push for 2020 Holiday Sales!
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