Stand Out Like Fashion Santa – Holiday Trends To Look For In 2016


Summer is finally here, but for marketers, the warm weather marks the beginning of the 2016 holiday promotion season. Arguably the biggest time of year, the holiday season can account for as much as 30 percent of annual sales. With Cyber Monday, Black Friday, Thanksgiving, Boxing Day, and Christmas all in close proximity, the holiday season is a critical time for most businesses. However, choosing the perfect holiday promotion idea for your employees and customers can be quite challenging. With that in mind, let’s look at a few holiday trends expected to emerge this holiday season, as well as a few seasonal promotion ideas to help this year’s campaign truly stand out.

Bridge The Gap Between Online And Offline

According to eMarketer, total retail holiday season sales will increase a mere 1.8 percent from last year, which means retailers and manufacturers will have to create interesting and impactful promotions when gearing up for this immensely profitable time of year.

On the flip-side, while overall retail sales are projected to plateau, e-commerce retail sales are predicted to grow 13.3 percent this year. This means that retailers and manufacturers must ensure they can offer a streamlined experience that bridges the gap between online and offline, offering experiences comparable to online giants like Amazon and eBay.

Holidays Are the Perfect Time To Build Loyalty

This high-traffic time of year is also the perfect opportunity to grow and build customer loyalty by providing innovative promotions, rewards, and experiences that truly make an impact. According to industry experts, more and more companies will find themselves in a zero-growth environment as competition heats up. With everyone reaching for the same customer, the focus this year must be on how to steal market share from competitors by offering unique experience that are relevant to your customers.

Differentiation Will Be Key As Deal Seeking Behaviors Change Holiday Sales

As one of the most profitable and expensive seasons of year, customers are actively looking for deals, sales, and innovative rewards during the holiday season to help buffer or augment their holiday budgets. Everyone is looking for more, for less. With the growth of online, customers have more choice than ever before, and as such it has become increasingly important for retailers and manufacturers to generate more engaging incentive opportunities, especially during the holiday season.
With online retail giants like Walmart and Amazon, it has become increasingly difficult to compete on price alone. According to Retail Dive, “Retailers continue to cut prices to drive traffic into stores. But experts contend they can’t compete on discounts forever, meaning merchants must get creative to survive and advance.” Therefore a solid differentiation strategy is key to success this holiday season.

Consumers Prefer Prepaid Cards

In 2015, prepaid cards again topped the list of preferred holiday gifts and incentives due to the choice and flexibility that they offer. According to the Canadian Prepaid Providers Organization’s (CPPO) report 2015 Holiday Gift Trends: What Gifts Canadians Really Want, open loop gift cards topped the holiday chart with 53 percent of respondents noting prepaid as their preferred reward during the holidays:

Here are some other interesting findings from the report:
– 45 percent of Canadians have received an open loop card
– 78 percent prefer open loop gift card versus closed loop gift cards that can be used at one retailer
– 79 percent would like to receive an open loop prepaid card to buy exactly what they want, when they want
– 51 percent prefer a prepaid card because it’s more secure than cash
– Millennials are most likely to have received an open loop card

Change It Up in 2016 – Stand out with Prepaid Incentives

Looking to increase results, while still offering the same marketing campaigns and incentives? This year, think of prepaid cards as a successful method to attract customers when creating your seasonal promotion campaign. They provide benefits for not only the business but the shopper as well, and offer a seamless customer experience whether used in-store or online. Choose to present the incentive on package, upon purchase, or as an email (virtual card).

Prepaid cards provide features that gift cards or vouchers cannot offer. For one, prepaid cards can be co-branded with unique benefits for the merchant and quality rewards for the customer. While gift cards and vouchers act essentially as credit, giving no further benefits, prepaid cards can be linked to rewards that provide additional incentives to the shopper.

Open loop prepaid cards have been proven as one of the most cost-effective, flexible, and easy-to-use payment and incentive tools available. The cards can be used anywhere the card network (American Express, MasterCard, and Visa) is accepted, including online and around the world. They are rapidly replacing cheques as a less expensive and more secure option for issuing payments and incentives. Open loop prepaid cards look and function like traditional credit and debit cards at the point-of-sale and offer the same fraud and loss protections offered by the card network with a significant difference— they access a set amount of funds that have been pre-loaded by a consumer, by a government, or by a business.

Resist the temptation to offer the same discount or promotion program you’ve used in the past. DCR Strategies is well versed in offering impactful loyalty, virtual, and prepaid promotion programs that are guaranteed to “win the moment” and differentiate you from your competition.

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