Holiday Trends 2019: Why Customer Experience Matters More than Ever

To maximize peak shopping season 2019, we wondered: What makes people come back after Christmas? Our new report investigates the answers.
Updated on October 17, 2019

Holiday trends for 2019 are going to be predictable, at least on the surface. People are going to be shopping. A lot. If you’re a brand or retailer, you already know that the end-of-year season is the best time to start thinking about a new sales and marketing strategy.

Last year, when we analyzed holiday trends for 2018, we noticed that consumers were starting to buy earlier than ever, with significant pick-up happening in October.

Part of that was because retailers and brands were launching deals earlier than Black Friday. And it worked. As we noted on Amazon Prime Day, where there’s a deal, there are people who are willing to buy.

But this year, when we thought about the holiday trends for 2019, we wanted to ask something else: What makes people come back after Christmas? Our new report investigates the answers.

In a world where people can get just about anything they want delivered faster and at a better price, what can businesses do to make sure people remember them, long after Black Friday deals have ended and the twinkle lights have come down?

We did a lot of research to find out, asking thousands of consumers and hundreds of marketers how they make sure that holiday deals aren’t the only thing that keep people coming back to shop.

Here are three things you’ll learn from the full report:

1. Black Friday has skyrocketed in Europe.

Criteo data from 2018 shows just how much Black Friday has grown across EMEA. While countries in Europe don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, there is a clear uptick in sales across the region, where retailers and brands experience significant traffic and sales increases.

Cyber Monday also brought significant traffic and sales spikes, though to a slightly lesser degree than Black Friday.

No matter what country you’re in, eye-catching seasonal deals certainly seem to attract a crowd, but we break down how great experiences are actually what brings people back.

2. Customer service is key for consideration.

Delivering great experiences at every stage of the customer journey is the best way to get noticed, get traffic, and get sales this Christmas season. But when you finally do get in front of a customer, how do you make sure they have what they need to evaluate the product?

Here’s what marketers said about consideration campaigns, and what customers said was most important to them when they were thinking about trying a new product:

Marketers clearly take a multi-pronged approach to stay in front of prospective shoppers. But customer service is still critical to customer loyalty. If someone can explain a product to customers or be there right when they need the help, that can make or break a purchase.

3. Customer experience is full-funnel — and matters all year long.

Our research shows that marketers are still working hard to figure out where their customers will be next, and many are running conversion campaigns across everything from social and search to paid display. And it makes sense: Our research also shows that consumers are discovering new products through a variety of different channels.

You’re bound to get more sales around the holidays. But to get shoppers to come back after peak Q4 shopping season, it’s important to create meaningful, hyper-relevant experiences at every turn. That means the all the obvious things (like optimizing your ecommerce site and more specifically, your product pages), and the not-so-obvious things (like minding the way your store associates treat people and ensuring your brand values are expressed across every aspect of your business).

When you can combine a great product with a great customer experience, you become unforgettable. And that’s what keeps people coming back.

For the full story, including tips and tactics you can put into action today, download the Global Holiday Trends 2019 Report or EMEA Festive Season Report below:

Michelle Pruett

As Global Head of Content at Criteo, Michelle leads a high-performing, multi-disciplinary team of marketers packaging insights, copy, design, and video into integrated campaigns. Her own writing has been featured in Entrepreneur, Business Insider, AdWeek, eMarketer, and more. Before joining the ...

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