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The holidays are upon us, and, if you’re a retailer, chances are you’re finalizing and fine-tuning plans for the shopping season. This year, there are six fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, making the competition to capture people’s attention and dollars fiercer than ever. The implication for retailers? It’s worth re-evaluating your holiday marketing approach to ensure you’re being as smart as possible with your investments.

To help, we turned to some of our agency partners and asked them what holiday strategies they’ve focused on implementing with their retail customers this year. Here’s what they shared.

Identify your most valuable customers early

Shoppers are looking for deals well before Black Friday, so it’s important to have a holiday strategy that engages people early. Focus on building audience lists, and engage new potential customers throughout their purchase journey. Wpromote is working with clients to create and test audience lists early. They hope to discover high-converting audience segments and gather insights that will help them re-engage select customers later in the holiday season. This also connects them with people in a meaningful way by creating personalized offers and promotions based on where they are in their purchase journey.

Develop a measurement strategy that considers KPIs across the funnel, not just conversions

The holiday shopping season is a marathon, not a sprint. As you focus efforts to drive awareness and discovery early in the season, pay attention to the KPIs that help you determine whether your efforts are successful. Tinuiti advises retailers to think about metrics like reach, impressions, clicks to site, and video views when your purpose is creating demand. You may not be able to attribute direct conversions to these metrics, but retailers focused on growth use data-driven attribution to understand how their upper-funnel campaigns contribute to engagement and sales.

Circle icon of a calendar with a percent-off discount tag. Text reads: 79% of shoppers visited a website or app related to their holiday shopping during the 2018 Black Friday/Cyber Monday week.

Let automation drive real-time decisions during ‘Cyber Five’

We know that 79% of U.S. shoppers ages 18 and older visited a website or app related to their holiday shopping during the 2018 Black Friday/Cyber Monday week,1 making the five-day period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday a flurry of shopping activity. Retailers need a nimble strategy to take advantage of traffic fluctuations. ROI Revolution recommends using automation to enhance your predictive decision-making by tapping into both your customer information and Google’s data. Creating and implementing a strategy now helps you adjust and manage your bids at scale and optimize ad variations to maximize conversions during the all-important “Cyber Five.”

Tap into channels strategically across the holiday season

Building a reliable, frictionless, and consistent shopping experience across all channels is critical to ensuring that people can find, access, and buy what they need. ForwardPMX emphasizes the power of a great mobile experience and partners with clients to improve site speed before the holiday season. The company also helps retailers’ ensure that store and product information is accurate and available for last-minute shoppers hunting for gifts after the shipping cutoff date. A seamless experience — for mobile, online, and in-store visitors — gives shoppers the best option to meet their needs, and inspire a purchase.