Retail Industry: How to Maximize Attention and Engagement to Boost Holiday Sales

We’re quickly on our way toward the biggest shopping season of the year – and the most influential period for a brand’s bottom line. 

That said, the challenges of 2023 have put many in a “messy middle” in terms of what to expect in Q4. What type of impact will inflation, mentions of a recession, and tighter budgets have on holiday shopping? How can brands stand out in today’s attention economy and convince buyers it’s worth spending on them?  

Marketers must explore new and creative ways to engage with their audiences, but it starts in the same place it always has: online. According to eMarketer, the number of worldwide digital buyers is expected to reach 2.89 billion this year, which accounts for more than 36% of the global population. 

To help brands make the most of the opportunity, Outbrain and eMarketer teamed up to share their expertise and forecasts in this year’s Global Commerce Trends for the 2023 Holiday Season report. 

Below are some trends to keep in mind for the peak retail period: 

Building Trust for Long-Term Customer Relationships

Approaching the holiday season, 63% of consumers worry about potential economic slowdowns affecting their shopping decisions, leading to more cautious spending. Two-thirds of shoppers seek items on sale, making pricing and discount decisions crucial for brands. Yet, winning shoppers requires more than just lowering prices; a strategic focus on customer retention is more cost-effective than solely looking at customer acquisition. With that in mind, brands can build on strong connections by fostering trust – ranked third among 14 factors influencing shopper purchase decisions. Advertising in premium environments, where brands can leverage the halo effect of reputable publishers, helps trust be more than just a passing trend. Our study shows that 68% of consumers trust ads in editorial environments, compared to the 55% attributed to social media. That makes a difference in the likelihood that a consumer decides to take action. 

Keeping Online Shopping Experiences Relevant

Maximizing engagement begins with contextual solutions that target consumers during pivotal shopping moments. It’s crucial that brands invest in these contextual solutions that reach consumers in the moments that matter – while they’re shopping. By harnessing the wealth of customer knowledge at their disposal, brands can deliver relevant messaging while respecting user privacy, and enhance the customer experience. Doing so inherently fosters loyalty, as consumers feel more of a genuine connection with the brand. And what’s the value of personalization to the experience and connection? Well, 78% of consumers say that personalized content increases their chances of buying.

Adapting to Changing Consumer Behavior

The retail experience is undergoing a revolutionary transformation due to the powerful impact of artificial intelligence. As consumers increasingly engage with AI-driven marketing, purchasing, and service experiences, Salesforce predicts this technology to influence a staggering $194 billion in global online holiday shopping spending. Gone are the days of mundane product recommendations. With generative and predictive AI, retail brands seamlessly blend human prompts, algorithms, and data, resulting in captivating and innovative content. Harnessing the benefits of AI, retailers create a new era of personalized retail, where every interaction meets the unique preferences and needs of each customer, driving brand growth and customer satisfaction to unprecedented heights.

Every holiday season presents its challenges, but the marketers and brands that understand the buyer journey and adapt to it will be the ones who win. Our partnered report with eMarketer dives deeper into global commerce trends for brands to make the most of their holiday commercial goals, and ultimately – make it a memorable one between them and their customers. 

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