Yes, marketers, it’s already time to think about e-commerce orders and those 2018 holiday packages. USPS said holiday packages saw a 10% increase last year and, while the post office delivered on time, surges in demand elsewhere meant delayed deliveries for UPS, DHL and others. That means marketers may want to work ahead to make sure their packages arrive on-time and intact.
From digital print to search spending, and from package logistics to creative troubleshooting, marketers can make Holiday 2018 a little easier by starting now. These solutions may even help year-round.
For example, the dog product marketer’s choice to use digital print not only benefited the aesthetics of the brand, but allowed for Mr. Dog’s short-run digital printing technology to create print runs as low as a single box. This cost-effective strategy that’s benefiting Mr. Dog, per the brand’s case study detailed in Brand United, can benefit other marketers, too.
If brands are working ahead on holiday package shipping, they’re joining a growing trend, says AdRoll in August 2017.
The AdRoll post penned by Bogdan Zlatkov reads:
“With the rise of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Green Monday, Super Saturday and Boxing Day, the definition of ‘the holiday advertising push’ has expanded substantially. While these retail days have helped distribute the holiday rush across a longer period of time, they’ve also made campaign planning far more complex.
“Adding to this, the rise of digital channels like mobile and social media have provided immense new holiday opportunities for marketers. Just last year, mobile accounted for 50.3% of all e-commerce traffic, surpassing desktop traffic for the first time ever. Knowing this, it shouldn’t be a surprise that 38% of shoppers now say they will not return to a retailer’s website if it’s not mobile-optimized.”
Consider Digital Print for Those Early Holiday Packages
During the holiday rush, marketers may be using large quantities of package materials. But right now, they may want to bone up on their knowledge of digital print and creating a unique package design, like Brand United says is a brand signature for Mr. Dog.
Using its short-run digital printing technology, the canine products retailer created packaging that’s instantly associated with its brand and cost-effective enough for it to develop three or four products during the year — instead of using the money on an inventory of boxes. Being able to send packages before the rush may help alleviate the holiday pressure and prevent delays.
Brand United quotes Mr. Dog co-founder Matthew Morris:
“I recognized early-on the packaging aspect would be a key component to merchandising, and especially important to Mr. Dog, since we do not have peg-board products. We needed to create something far more interesting and far more solution-based. Thus, our packaging became a primary component of communication — our silent salesmen.”
The Brand United case study continues by saying that digital print can even be a beautiful brand differentiator that goes beyond e-commerce:
With the new designs, Mr. Dog has boosted its customer loyalty by accumulating a higher percentage of repeat customers than new customers, with sales increases of 60 to 70 percent at the retail level.
E-commerce Marketers Can Get SEM Bargains Right Now
Lower costs on search engine marketing mean brands can market to the consumers they really want to see on their e-commerce sites, and “starting early stretches your budget,” Zlatkov writes. His company’s research shows CPMs are 31 percent less expensive in July than they are during December. The prices remain double-digits lower than prime-time holiday rates until November, AdRoll finds.
In November, they’re 9% lower than December’s costs, but counterintuitively “the average number of ad impressions served on a monthly basis actually begins to decrease as we move from October into the final few weeks of the year,” Zlatkov says.
In a June 8 message to Target Marketing saying marketers should start on Holiday 2018 now, Monetate’s research shows consumers were thinking ahead last year: “Mobile page views were up a staggering 30% on Thanksgiving Day, indicating consumers might have researched on their phones from the comfort of their homes and then purchased elsewhere.”
Basic Details Speed Arrival of Holiday Packages
When marketers get creative with holiday packages, they may forget that details matter. As simple as these directions sound, it’s obvious the U.S. Postal Service and other carriers have seen some real doozies.
For instance, in this video from the USPS — to which the postal service links from its holiday mail volume press release — the agency lets package shippers know basics about how to address holiday packages.
Place the recipient’s address in the center, include a full name on the top line, then place the street address or the P.O. Box on the second line, and so on. The address reads from left to right and is horizontal. (Designs can get crafty with vertical type, etc. That’ll make package delivery take longer.)
Another way to speed up holiday package delivery is to use the USPS.com “Look Up a ZIP Code” tool to find the “plus-four” information for the recipient’s ZIP Code.
Packages must also have a sender, and that information goes on the top left.
Without details like this, mail scanning machines won’t be able to read the information. (While not stated in the video, that means the holiday packages get routed differently in order to get properly read and sent. That means they’ll take longer to arrive to customers than they would if marketers sweated the details.)
Another video adds that marketers should include this information inside the package, too, in case the box gets damaged or the exterior address becomes illegible.
Get Creative With Holiday Package Destinations
When UPS, DHL and others had trouble making deadline with holiday package delivery last year, marketers got creative with their e-commerce orders, says Fortune in December 2017.
The Fortune article penned by Chris Morris says:
“To keep consumers happy (and, perhaps, garner a few more sales), many brick and mortar retailers are encouraging customers to ship items to their local stores. Since those items are handled by different contractors, they often don’t experience the same shipping delays.”
What do you think, marketers?
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