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Digital marketing trends in retail that drive sales and engage Shoppers

The retail landscape is constantly evolving, shaped by advancements in technology and shifting consumer behaviours. Staying ahead of the curve is vital and businesses need to leverage the latest digital marketing trends to remain competitive and relevant.

Expert advice from director-led performance marketing agency outbloom draws insights from industry research and their own expertise, identifying key digital marketing trends that are shaping the retail sector in 2024.

Digital marketing plays a pivotal role in driving sales and engaging shoppers in the retail sector. By embracing innovative strategies such as personalised shopping experiences, social commerce integration, omnichannel marketing, and more, retailers can stay ahead of the curve and thrive in today’s competitive landscape.

Julia Symonds, Co-Founder and Lead Consultant at outbloom, says: “Customer behaviour is constantly changing in retail due to trends, external events, or simple curiosity. Many retailers must embrace what the latest technology has to offer to reach more consumers on digital channels to generate sales, boost conversion and encourage recurring purchases. With more ways to shop than ever before, retailers must innovate to meet consumers’ constantly evolving, lofty expectations.”

So, what can retailers and consumers expect to see in the foreseeable future? outbloom has curated a list of some of the emerging and ongoing trends that will impact the retail industry in the coming years.

1. Personalised Shopping Experiences

Personalisation has become a cornerstone of successful digital marketing strategies in retail. Today’s consumers expect tailored shopping experiences that cater to their individual preferences and needs. Retailers can leverage customer data and advanced analytics to deliver personalised recommendations, product suggestions, and promotional offers. By understanding their customers’ behaviour and preferences, retailers can create targeted marketing campaigns that drive engagement and foster loyalty.

2. Social Commerce Integration

Social media platforms have become powerful tools for retailers to connect with their target audience and drive sales. The integration of social commerce features allows consumers to make purchases directly from their favourite social media channels, streamlining the buying process and reducing friction. Retailers can leverage social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok to showcase products, engage with customers, and drive traffic to their online stores. By tapping into the vast reach and influence of social media, retailers can expand their customer base and increase sales.

3. Omnichannel Marketing Strategies

In today’s omnichannel retail environment, consumers expect a seamless shopping experience across multiple channels and touchpoints. Retailers must adopt omnichannel marketing strategies that integrate online and offline channels to create a cohesive brand experience. Whether shopping online, in-store, or via mobile devices, customers should have access to consistent product information, pricing, and promotions. By delivering a unified shopping experience across all channels, retailers can enhance customer satisfaction, drive sales, and foster brand loyalty.

4. Interactive Content and Immersive Experiences

Interactive content and immersive experiences are increasingly becoming key drivers of engagement in the retail sector. Retailers can leverage technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to create interactive shopping experiences that captivate and engage consumers. From virtual try-on tools to immersive product demonstrations, interactive content allows consumers to experience products in a more engaging and memorable way. By embracing interactive technologies, retailers can differentiate themselves from competitors and provide unique value to shoppers.

5. Influencer Marketing Collaborations

Influencer marketing has emerged as a powerful strategy for retailers to reach and engage their target audience authentically. By partnering with influencers who align with their brand values and target demographics, retailers can leverage the influence and credibility of social media personalities to promote their products and drive sales. Influencers can create authentic content that resonates with their followers, helping retailers to increase brand awareness, generate buzz, and drive traffic to their online stores.

Photo by The Nix Company on Unsplash

The rise of TikTok shop as a tier-one marketplace 

TikTok Shop has emerged as a formidable player in the world of social commerce,  challenging established platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. The platform’s swift ascent has captured the attention of online sellers and industry observers alike. Sarah Znideric, VP of Global Partnerships at Linnworks, discusses the rise of TikTok Shop, some of its biggest success stories, and its potential to compete as a genuine tier-one marketplace…

TikTok Shop Success Stories

TikTok Shop’s success stories are nothing short of remarkable. From humble beginnings, some sellers have experienced exponential growth using the platform. One strong example of this is the case of Nature Spell, a hair and skincare company, which started with just a few orders a day and eventually peaked at around 9,000 product orders daily.

Other success stories on the platform have included Maters & Co, which received more than 100,000 orders for its pure honey products in its first year on the platform, and the influencer Cariad Ryan, who, as an affiliate, sold £90,000 worth of TikTok Shop products in four hours on Black Friday last year. These achievements demonstrate how TikTok Shop can help to translate ‘hype’ into real world success, and drive substantial sales and visibility for businesses.

The Diversity of TikTok Shop Products

The platform caters for a wide range of product categories, including beauty, fashion, homeware, pet care, food, refurbished tech, and books. While beauty and fashion products have seen perhaps the biggest success, sellers from diverse industries have also found sales success on TikTok Shop. And this success is driven by the platform’s inherent blend of community, entertainment, and shopping, which have contributed to its widespread appeal.

The Strategic Timing of TikTok’s ecommerce Move

Combined with the product offerings on the platform, the launch of the platform itself seems well-timed. In a similar vein to eBay’s growth trajectory 20 years prior, TikTok benefits from a mature infrastructure, ensuring a quick and natural expansion. TikTok’s commitment to ‘community commerce’ sets it apart, providing the app’s users with an immersive shopping experience from within the TikTok app.

Gaining New Customers on TikTok Shop 

The platform has proven effective in helping retailers to discover new customers without cannibalising their existing traffic. Often, TikTok Shop attracts an entirely different audience, or engages with customers that might not have otherwise made purchases on different marketplaces and platforms. The relatively fast sign up process, combined with the platform’s small commission fees ranging from 1.8% to 5% on sold products, have provided a cost effective and convenient revenue stream for sellers.

The Key to Success on TikTok Shop

While it is possible to simply list products on TikTok Shop, sellers that embrace a TikTok-centric approach will reap the most rewards, creating engaging and native content that aligns with the platform’s entertaining nature. This emphasis towards creativity extends to becoming a creator on the platform itself, where regular posts can generate a significant and engaged following. And for those that may be more camera shy and reluctant to get involved in this way, it is possible to leverage TikTok’s community of influencers to achieve an alternate method of product promotion, often in exchange for an affiliate promotion.

The Future of Online Marketplaces

The arrival of TikTok Shop represents a paradigm shift in online marketplaces, and provides a vibrant, community-driven shopping experience that promises a dynamic future for retailers. Its unique approach, coupled with a commitment to ‘community commerce’, positions TikTok as a formidable player in the evolving ecommerce landscape.

The increasing popularity of TikTok both as a social media platform, but also as a new online marketplace, presents online retailers with a compelling opportunity to take advantage of what is a uniquely diverse and engaged audience. The platform’s success stories, diverse product offerings, and commitment to community-driven commerce make it a strong contender for tier-one marketplace status. As the future of online marketplaces takes shape, TikTok Shop stands at the forefront, inviting savvy retailers to embrace the changing face of ecommerce.

Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash

Why Christmas window displays can still make a great social marketing opportunity

The Christmas window display has become a UK tradition up and down the country, especially in tourist hot spots. Since being pioneered by RH Macy’s in 1874, big businesses are still finding innovative ways to keep the festive feels fresh 149 years later.

This isn’t a coincidence, the best businesses in the country and beyond have realised that an innovative window display makes for the perfect festive marketing tool. Christmas window displays increase brand awareness, promote products, can be themed alongside marketing campaigns and do the rounds on social media.

In 2022, seasonal sales in the UK were forecast to reach £82 billion. This is the highest retail value of festival sales in Europe, making window displays more important than ever to help compete in this lively market – especially with UK adults buying roughly 32 gifts a year.

But what are the best and most inventive Christmas window displays of the last decade? We spoke to the slimline aluminium window experts at The Heritage Windows Company to get their perspective on which displays went above and beyond to stand out from the rest.

Harvey Nichols (2022) – a festive fashion show

A love letter to the glamour fashion trends of 2022, Harvey Nichols’ 2022 Christmas window display was adorned with mirror balls, high fashion and sequins – reflecting the faces of happy visitors at its iconic unveiling in Knightsbridge.

The focus on metallics and reflective surfaces lit the windows up like a Christmas tree, creating an eye-catching showcase of bright lights and fashion. All glitz and glamour, Harvey Nichols stood out from Harrods and Selfridges by getting their display ready by the end of October… we’ll let you decide whether that’s too early or not!

Harvey Nichols has understood what it means to create a workplace that welcomes customers and employees with fantastic use of lighting, a skill which can be applied anywhere with careful consideration.

We can’t wait to see what they cook up this year.


Harrods (2018) – Instagrammable festivity

Harrods’ 2018 display, Fantastica, showcased everything that captures the minds of the Instagram generation – finding inventive ways to reflect the spirit of social media in the festive season.

Each window in the display represents a different photo frame of Instagrammable festive subjects, from gift giving to Christmas dinner, all of which are elevated with a colourful and considered design.

Harrods established an entire department to design this display, The Department of Surprise and Delight. Sounds like a great place to work, if you ask us!

They did a fantastic job on Fantastica, mixing glamour, traditional Christmas spirit and modern trends in a way which didn’t feel out of place for a second.

Fenwick (2018) – we’re walking in the air

2018 was a great year for Christmas window displays across the country, with Fenwick’s Newcastle display tugging on the country’s collective nostalgic heartstrings. Their display, We’re Walking in the Air, reenacted famous scenes from the Christmas picture book classic, The Snowman (1978).

Each window as magical as the last, scenes from the book were lovingly recreated with impressive detail and lighting. The scenes were partly animatronic, too – capturing the feeling of the snowman coming to life surrounded by moving train sets, spinning platforms and all kinds of festive magic.

This display had something for everyone, especially for nostalgic parents and children discovering the magic for the very first time.

Fortnum & Mason (2019) – feline festive

A throwback to the department store’s roots, this Christmas display depicts festive characters from artist Edward Bawden’s Fortnum & Mason 1958 Christmas campaign.

The detailing in this display is simply outstanding, featuring feline characters making Christmas magic behind the scenes in a Christmas factory. Golden pipes, illuminated bottles of champagne being corked, Christmas crackers getting tested and more are represented in each subsequent window.

The charming feline models steal the show, however, with each as characterful as the last.

Selfridges (2018) – rockin’ around the Christmas tree

In 2018, Selfridges went for a ‘Heritage Rocks Christmas’ theme, dressing up Santa in an assortment of different rock’n’roll outfits over the decades.

From glam rock to the 90s, Santa absolutely sleighed all the iconic looks featured. With golden mic stands and plenty of power stances, we love the ambition to do Christmas a little bit differently – finding the fun in a Christmas winter display that invokes all the excitement of the first Slade track of the season.

We can’t wait to see what iconic displays are featured this year – but one thing’s for sure, it’s going to be hard to top these fantastic windows. We’re sure they’ll all be up for the challenge.

Brits to shell out up to £1,000 this Christmas, with local retailers set to benefit

Over 45% of Brits will be spending the same this Christmas, with 33% spending more, despite ongoing cost of living concerns.

That’s according to new research from local gift card champions Town & City Gift Cards, which surveyed over 1,000 consumers, employees and organisations.

28% of people said they’ll be spending £751-£1000 this Christmas, with the need to purchase gifts for friends and family given as the reason for Christmas spend staying the same or increasing.

But finding the perfect gift isn’t always easy with a huge 73% of Brits worrying about finding the perfect gift. The research also revealed a move towards more ‘useful’ gifts that offer choice with 89% planning to buy at least one gift card this Christmas. 92.9% prefer giving a gift card to cash with 77% saying this is because it encourages the recipient to treat themselves.

And, naturally, gift cards are a Christmas present that people want to receive too, with 89% saying they would like to receive a multi-store gift card that can be spent at more than one business and 94% preferring gift cards that can be used in various sectors, such as retail, hospitality and leisure.

Support for local is higher than ever with 98% keen to support local this Christmas and 87% saying supporting local businesses helps to keep them open. 60% say shopping local offers a better experience.

Colin Munro, MD at Miconex, the firm which provides the technology for the Town & City Gift Card programme and said: “The research revealed changing attitudes towards gifting with a greater emphasis on gifts that can be used in a practical way and offer the recipient choice.

“There’s also a really strong awareness of the need to shop local because people realise the impact it has on their community. Local gift cards wrap up choice and support for local in one gift card, reducing the pressure and worry of finding a perfect gift as the recipient can choose exactly what they want from all types and sizes of local businesses.”

Marketers warned to expect changing holiday shopping trends

Only 9% of consumers reported that they plan to spend more this holiday season, with 19% beginning their shopping in October, 29% starting in November, and only 10% waiting to begin shopping until December.

That’s according to a marketing survey conducted by Gartner, which indicates another 19% of consumers reported that they have been shopping year-round, up from 16% in 2022. This is a trend that will continue to grow.

In fact, Gartner predicts 30% of consumers will shop for winter holiday gifts year round by 2026.

The survey of 302 consumers conducted in June 2023 revealed that 28% of respondents plan to spend less this holiday season than in 2022, while 63% of consumers plan to spend the same amount this year as last year.

“This is concerning given that consumer spending during the 2022 holiday season did not meet industry projections,” said Kassi Socha, director analyst in the Gartner Marketing practice. “Annual growth was attributed to higher prices on the part of retailers combating inflation, not an increase in consumer discretionary spending.”

“Retailers have continued to expand their year-round promotional calendar, and, in turn, consumers have followed their lead,” said Socha. “Branded summer sales are becoming more common, and while retailers don’t need to hang snowflakes in July to capture consumer attention, they should increasingly take holiday shopping into account beyond the fourth quarter of the year.”

Free shipping is no longer a differentiator, but a consumer expectation. Behind price, holiday shoppers noted free shipping (45%) as one of the top drivers in influencing a purchase decision. These were followed by value (35%), promotions or deals (33%), selection of gifts (24%), and ratings and reviews (17%) as the top reasons influencing a holiday gift purchase.

Though the majority of consumers plan to maintain most of their online shopping behaviors this holiday season, only 16% reported that they’ll shop more online than in-store in 2023, compared to 21% last year. Retailers with physical stores should market more than free shipping; Almost one in three consumers intend to utilize hybrid, same-day delivery or expedited shipping services for their holiday shopping needs.

“While CMOs need to ensure digital commerce success during the holiday season, brick-and-mortar store marketing should not take a backseat,” said Socha. “Marketers and advertisers have a critical opportunity to prevent further decline of store profitability and, in some cases, drive profitable growth by leaning into the competitive advantage that their stores have compared to digital commerce experiences: faster and more efficient fulfillment.”

Younger consumers are more likely to prioritize a company demonstrating social purpose. Among winter holiday shoppers, 13% of consumers selected an environmental, social and governance (ESG) factor as the most important factor when selecting a gift. For younger consumers, factors such as the gift being locally made or from a brand owned by a member of a historically underrepresented group are more important than access to expedited shipping.

“Marketing on cause is not without potential peril,” said Socha. “Retail CMOs concerned about taking a strong sociopolitcal stance and risking brand reputation in their winter holiday marketing should ensure it will be perceived positively and authentically by target consumers, and ensure preparedness if consumers react negatively.”

Image by Alexa from Pixabay

Generative AI ‘revolutionising’ retail experiences

Generative AI’s ability to fabricate hyper-customised content is turning the tables in retail marketing and communication strategies, also extending its reach into tasks such as inventory planning.

Kiran Raj, Practice Head of Disruptive Tech at GlobalData, said: “In a retail environment where the product-to-experience shift is increasingly significant, genAI can enable the creation of immersive, personalised experiences, integrating virtual and physical retail spaces in a manner that resonates with modern consumers’ expectations. Moreover, it is no longer about a one-size-fits-all engagement; rather, it is about a tailor-made experience catering to individual needs”

Saurabh Daga, Associate Project Manager of Disruptive Tech at GlobalData, added: “By leveraging key data points from customers’ purchase history and preferences, genAI can facilitate building personalized shopping experiences and targeted marketing strategies. The technology can empower retailers to deliver superior service at reduced costs, leading to greater customer satisfaction.”

GlobalData’s latest Innovation Radar report, “Cognitive revolution: genAI meets retail,” offers a view of how the disruptive technology is being deployed across the retail value chain, from inventory management and personalised marketing to customer experience and support.

GenAI can transform retail operations such as inventory planning, product recommendations, and customer service. Promising genAI applications include creating new product designs based on defined criteria and sentiment analysis to predict customer trends.

It cites traditional retailers like Carrefour and IKEA are using genAI to streamline operations and augment customer support. Meanwhile, e-commerce players like Amazon, Shopify, and Instacart are leveraging genAI to improve online shopping experiences and increase cart conversion rates. Big technology companies such as Google and Salesforce are offering genAI solutions to help e-commerce players as well as retailers optimize their online customer engagement.

Daga concluded: “While there are inherent challenges in implementing genAI, particularly in consumer-facing sectors like retail, the potential for substantial progress is undeniable. Challenges such as content quality and privacy must be managed through strong governance. Small and medium retailers can benefit from strategic partnerships to overcome entry barriers required to build the supporting technology, infrastructure, and personnel for genAI implementation.”

Image by Hannes Edinger from Pixabay

‘Pantry p*rn’ is the latest retail social media trend – Here’s how to make it work

Rachael Kiss, Marketing Manager at home and catering supplier Alliance Online shares six ways in which retailers can capitalise on the ‘pantry p*rn’ trend in 2023…

In a nutshell, ‘pantry p*rn’ is a trend where people showcase their aesthetically-pleasing pantries on social media. This kind of content is proving particularly popular on TikTok, Pinterest and Instagram, and essentially depicts well-stocked and neatly organised pantries in users’ homes.”

Pantry tours are certainly not a new phenomenon, but it appears that the trend has got a second wind in 2023. Here’s how you can use the phenomenon to boost sales.”

1. Understand the trend

Getting to grips with what the pantry trend is all about, and why it is so popular at the moment, is crucial. In my opinion, this type of content is resonating with so many because it is aspirational, inspirational and ultimately aesthetically pleasing. This is something which retailers can tap into when marketing their products and creating content.

It’s also important to understand who is interested in pantry content. Recently, searches for the term ‘dream pantry’ are up 100% year on year on Pinterest. According to the social media platform, females aged 25-30 are the core demographic.

Finally, investigate the peak seasons of interest for pantry products and content. Based on Google Trends data, there is continued interest related to the topic of pantries, but it spikes in the colder months (from September to March).

2. Consider your stock 

Analyse your stock to determine which of your products may fit into the “pantry p*rn” aesthetic, and therefore will appeal to consumers interested in the trend. Products typically involved in the trend, with a high search volume on Google, include pantry shelves and pantry storage, such as baskets and jars to store food in.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box for ways in which your products could allow someone to create their dream pantry. For example, the pantries on social media tend to have a neutral colour scheme – do you stock paint which would work for this? Labels for produce are also frequently seen within the trend, something which craft companies can use to their advantage.

3. Create a targeted page on your website 

In order to capitalise on the high search volume related to pantry content, create a page on your website designed to gain traffic and drive sales.

For example, the page could be a ‘guide to pantry p*rn’, which can include links to relevant products and calls to action throughout the copy. Format the page as a guide explaining how to aesthetically organise your pantry, and include images.

Consider taking new product photos which reflect the trend. If a customer is browsing for something to make their pantry look like their aspirations, showcasing a product in this environment will make it much more appealing.

4. Optimise your content to increase traffic

After creating content about pantries on your website, ensure that it is optimised to give it the best chance of ranking well within the Google search results.”

Conduct keyword research to uncover what people are searching for, then edit headings and copy so that they are used naturally throughout. For example, popular terms with high search volumes in the UK include:

  • Storage ideas

  • Cupboard storage ideas

  • Pantry shelving”

Including internal and external links, within the page in question, will also have SEO benefits, as well as making the content easy to read for customers.

Use social media to your advantage

#pantrygoals has more than 261 million views on TikTok and there are 259 thousand posts on Instagram containing the hashtag #pantryorganisation. Clearly, this is a trend which has taken social media by storm. So, if you’re looking to promote your products, or simply gain brand awareness by providing content related to pantries, social media is the best means.

We know that there is an active interest in pantries on these platforms, so organic content should work well to showcase your offering. You also have the option to run paid-for ads if you really want to get in front of the target consumer.

Bear in mind that platforms such as TikTok ban certain words that may be used in your content and could get your video taken down. The word “p*rn” will likely fall into this criteria, so avoid using it at all costs.

Be mindful of potential backlash

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying getting a sneak peek into a well-organised and ultimately satisfying pantry. However, well-performing pantry content tends to showcase a fully stocked pantry of food, in a plethora of neatly organised jars. Be mindful to avoid promoting overspending on both food produce and containers, which could be damaging for your brand’s image – particularly in light of the cost of living crisis.

Image by CSU-Extension from Pixabay

Local language support essential for online sales success

When it comes to buying from brands online, over four in five consumers won’t buy from a brand that doesn’t offer local language support

That’s according to a new report released by RWS, which asked 6,500 global consumers about their online habits and how they like to engage with online businesses.

RWS’s Unlocking Global Understanding research found that 62% of global consumers see the internet as very important when undertaking daily activities, with a third of people admitting they cannot live without the internet (35%) – rising to two-thirds in Japan. As a consequence, 20% of consumers spend over 10 hours a day online.

Yet when it comes to dealing with online companies, the provision of local language services can have a drastic impact on the user experience and the level of trust that consumers hold in different brands.

The vast majority of global consumers (89%) believe they should have the option of dealing with a company online in their preferred language, with half of those surveyed feeling strongly about this (49%). Despite this, 44% of consumers voiced their frustrations at the fact that the English language dominates the internet and consumer technology.

If brands want to access a global audience, 93% of consumers agree that these companies need to communicate with them in their preferred languages through all channels at all times. At a national level, 60% of Kenyans, 57% of Indians and 55% of Brazilians feel particularly strongly on this point. What’s more, although 77% trust businesses with a local presence, 58% agree that a localized online presence matches a physical presence in terms of trust.

Maria Schnell, Chief Language Officer at RWS, said: “It’s no surprise that consumers around the globe rely heavily on the internet for daily activities. Yet this dependency is being undermined by the fact that not all consumers are able to engage with companies in their preferred language. This can pose significant problems and foster feelings of alienation as consumers are forced to communicate in a foreign language. It also demonstrates a knowledge and cultural gap when it comes to marketing, advertising and customer services.

“The internet has the potential to truly empower people from local communities. However, this can only occur if companies are willing to recognize and appreciate local cultures, giving their consumers the opportunity to communicate in their own language. Doing so will open brands up to new market opportunities; if avoided, they run the real risk of alienating themselves from non-English speaking consumer markets.”

Retailer apps boom as consumers seek deals

A global survey has indicated more consumers are turning to retailers’ mobile apps to streamline in-store shopping experiences and score personalised offers and deals.

Across 11,000 consumer respondents surveyed by Airship, 78% are using retailers’ mobile apps either more often or about the same as last year.

This preference for retail apps extends across age groups and household income levels. Generationally, 81% of millennials and 79% of Gen X report using retail apps more or about the same as last year, followed by 72% of both Gen Z and boomers.

High household incomes lead in regular use of retail apps at 82%, followed by 79% of medium and 75% of low income levels.

When asked about 10 different activities one might use their smartphone to accomplish while shopping in-store, using the retailer’s app grew the most year over year. Globally, 74% of respondents said they are likely to use the brand’s app when shopping at its physical storefronts.

For most countries and generations, the likelihood of using a retailer’s app while shopping in-store is only a few percentage points behind visiting the retailer’s website despite first having to download apps from the App Store or Google Play.

Airship says the data suggests that inflation and the current economy is driving more deal-motivated behaviors from consumers. It also demonstrates an opportunity for retailers to expand customer understanding as shoppers are more motivated to share personal information in exchange for valuable offers and convenient experiences that better meet their needs.

“Today’s consumers are increasingly turning to mobile apps from their favorite retailers to score deals, gain special access and improve their overall customer experience, particularly while shopping at brick-and-mortar stores,” said Thomas Butta, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer, Airship. “As marketing budgets are pinched and consumers face economic pressures, retailers need greater agility to create and optimize valuable app experiences that grow customer understanding and reward them individually, making life easier and better for everyone involved.”

Marketing experts crack Christmas code and reveal how to generate last-minute festive sales 

While eCommerce businesses should have planned in advance of the festive season, it’s never too late to implement new tactics to improve a brand’s Christmas marketing strategy to generate last-minute sales before the New Year ends. We spoke to marketing experts to gather the top trends eCommerce brands should be taking advantage of NOW before the end of 2022…

Digital PR 

For eCommerce brands with Christmas discounts and deals galore, taking advantage of shopping journalists is a good way to generate last-minute coverage and referrals to your site. Mollie Haley-Earnshaw, Account Manager at Wild PR, highlights: “The festive season is the peak period for gift guides, with journalists covering the best gift picks from a range of brands and across various budgets. For the eCommerce industry, it’s important to maximise organic efforts to support sales of hero products.

“Gathering the best discounts and products and forming a press release which covers off key details, such as product information, creating a bespoke media list and sharing this content with relevant journalists looking to pull together gift guides is a sure-fire way to place yourself in the festive online conversations before it’s too late.”

Being reactive to the news agenda is another tactic eCommerce brands should consider ahead of the New Year. Communication experts at Wild PR recommend paying attention to the news cycle during the lead-up to Christmas, considering how you could comment on topics relevant to your eCommerce business.

Twitter is also your best friend during this period. Monitor the #journorequest hashtag, and you can guarantee you will find an opportunity to get your business featured in the media.

For example, an eCommerce brand that sells ethical products should consider commenting on how to be sustainable during the Christmas period, when the plastic and packaging waste produced is considerably higher.


Integrated marketing agency, Fishtank, comments on the last-minute PPC tactics brands can take advantage of before the year ends. Fishtank highlight that the time between Christmas and January is called Q5 and is statistically the cheapest time to go big on social adverts whilst achieving outstanding results.

Fishtank adds: “High-quality visuals, including images, gifs and videos, are key to success during the holiday season. With so much competition, make sure your brand stands out from the crowd.”

Another PPC tactic to consider before year-end is reviewing past data. If eCommerce brands can analyse past performance and understand what worked best last year and what didn’t, this will help narrow down your focus and help optimise your budgets better.

Fishtank also recommends creating bespoke ad copy and implementing A/B testing for various Christmas-themed messaging, ensuring that target keywords are mentioned in the headline and description to increase the relevance of the ad copy.

Creating scarcity is another way to tap into last-minute shopping stress. In the PPC ad, an eCommerce brand should aim to emphasise fast shopping options paired with a product deal. Additionally, adding a timer to a display ad with a countdown to Christmas will help create a sense of urgency among consumers, encouraging them to buy.

Commercial Director at Circus PPC, Ahmed Chopdat, expressed how important Q4 is for eCommerce brands. The paid media specialist commented: Push PPC as a key marketing channel as this is where you can get instant results. The one channel you can rely on to be able to manipulate to help make up for lost sales in other channels is PPC, so it’s essential that not only you have it switched on during the Advent period, but that it is appropriately optimised.”


Usually, when customers are browsing your site in December, they’re taking part in some last minute shopping. For some, this could be considered stressful. To make the user experience stress free, eCommerce brands should drum up content that provides concise information on the products they’re interested in.

Examples include taking gift guide press releases and turning them into blogs, utilising user-generated content to drive campaigns to make them relatable, and making content shoppable; particularly on social media.

When drafting gift guides and blogs for a site, eCommerce brands should ensure that they’re keyword-rich to boost organic traffic. Engaging in on-page SEO will help search engines understand the content of pages so they can provide shoppers with the appropriate results. User intent should also be considered when drafting copy.

For example, if an eCommerce business knows its customers will be looking for inexpensive gifts or shopping last minute, then drafting gift guides with headings such as ‘gifts under £20’, ‘last minute Christmas gifts’ or ‘gifts with next day delivery’ would be catering to the users intent.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a powerful tactic to get your online store in the spotlight. Many might believe that SEO only works when a strategy has been in place months ahead of the festive season, however, there are SEO techniques that can support last minute exposure.

Keywords are key players in SEO, and are pivotal in bolstering eCommerce sales. Ideally, brands will begin to work on their Christmas SEO in the summer. However, while updating your online store with last minute  festive content, optimising landing pages, product pages, and blogs with seasonal keywords will assist in getting your eStore in the search results.


Landing on a website during the festive season and seeing pages come to life with Christmas-infused branding is a great way to engage potential customers. Fishtank suggests: “Add interactive seasonal elements to your website e.g. a Christmas gift hunt or falling snow across your website, adding a Christmas hat to your logo, adding festive website banners that feature holiday exclusive discount codes.

“An eCommerce brand could also add a holiday landing page that can feature exclusive holiday discounts and products for that season.”

Social media

Lastly, ramping up social activity is a foolproof tactic to undergo to generate those extra Christmas conversions. In December, potential customers love to engage with Christmas-themed content, such as advent giveaways and competitions and Christmas countdowns. To drive traffic to the site, it’s important to include a clear call to action (CTAs) with delivery deadlines, so it initiates a sense of urgency within the customer.

Running paid ads across social media platforms should be another consideration for eCommerce brands. During December, shoppers will be looking for the best deals and information on the products, and by setting up social advertising, an eCommerce store will expand reach and target people at the right place in the buying process.

Other festive social ideas include creating engaging visuals, utilising reels and video, incentivising UGC, and collaborating with influencers.

Wild PR also highlights that engaging in off-page SEO with social media is an effective way to generate leads, yield brand exposure, and engage audiences. Using social media will support the reach of your new festive content and will encourage more clicks to the online shop.

Ahmed adds: “Some channels, such as SEO, take longer to get desired results, so the earlier you have an idea of the messaging you’ll be using, the better!”

Katrina Cliffe, managing director of Wild PR commented: “Online exposure doesn’t happen overnight, which is why businesses need to crack the Christmas code early and ramp up their festive marketing campaigns before it’s too late. Ideally, this would be done during the summer months in the first instance, but sometimes it doesn’t work that way. Ultimately, these tips are the fundamentals to leveraging that extra bit of festive exposure while you still can.”

“If your Christmas strategy is already well underway, but you’ve forgotten about prepping for 2023, it’s time to get started. Before the end of the year, we really encourage eCommerce brands to tackle their large dev tasks, delving into technical SEO, optimising content and nailing your PR, social, and PPC strategies with the aim of getting ahead of competitors to kick off the New year.

“Another quick win to take you into 2023 is offering first-time buyers of your eCommerce store a unique discount that only activates in the New Year. This is a great way to generate repeat customers.”