Magical (Mobile) Festive-Season Shopping

By Amy Vener | 28 Nov 2019

With Christmas rapidly approaching, helping customers make a meaningful purchase is becoming harder. Here’s how to utilise mobile this festive season.

Do you truly enjoy shopping? In my experience, fewer than half the people that I ask answer this question with a ‘yes’. Contrast this to how it feels to have made a truly meaningful purchase. The kind of purchase that feels personal and special, whether you’re buying it for yourself or as a gift for someone else. And the more you see or use it, the better you feel about your decision. In fact, you love it. You know this feeling, right?

Admittedly, making this kind of meaningful purchase takes a little bit of work, especially if you’re shopping in person at local boutiques or department stores. The more convenient option is using your phone to browse text-based search results or hunt around on a retailer’s mobile app. But the challenge of shopping online is that however you search, you’ll probably find yourself with tens of thousands of links and product images to sift through before you can make a decision. Today’s consumers are craving the inspiration of a good in-store shopping experience blended with the convenience of using their mobile device. During the festive season, this is increasingly important.

On Pinterest, where people come to plan year-round, we see searches for festive inspiration start to rise as early as July – twice as early as other shoppable platforms. In fact, 83 per cent of Pinners say that Pinterest helps them with ‘everything festive’ – from decorating their homes to cooking a festive feast to deciding what to buy for each person on their list. Marketers should keep this in mind as they aim to engage consumers, drive intent and ultimately fuel new purchase behaviours.

There are three critical elements for brands that want to create magical shopping that turns into meaningful purchases for this festive season.

  1. Start early

    The festive season is one of the largest opportunities for retailers to reach consumers when they are in a discovery mindset – they haven’t decided what they’re going to buy or who they’re going to buy from. In order to win over consumers in the shopping basket, marketers need to inspire and help consumers to discover their brand earlier on in the season.

  2. Secure the sale with your creative and targeting strategies

    In research commissioned by Pinterest released earlier this year, we asked people to list the different types of digital searches that they conducted in the last six months. While text-based search was the most common response at 93 per cent, it’s actually the least natural way people shop in real life (Pinterest internal, Sept. 2019). Next in popularity was visual search at 51%, and finally, voice search at 28 per cent. Having contextual content that helps people early in their shopping process to visualise your product and brand in their life can help to form a bond with the right shoppers at the right time. Pinterest distributes this lifestyle content (organically and through a paid promotion) by the style or aesthetic (e.g. rustic festive tablescapes), as well as the interests it falls into (e.g. festive-season entertaining). And people discover this as they visually search and browse on Pinterest. Don’t forget that there’s a huge opportunity to inspire people through visually appealing content!

  3. Be aggressive

    With searches for holiday inspiration starting as early as June on Pinterest, we’re seeing people start looking for deals and making purchases earlier than ever this festive season. Digital advertising budgets are moving higher up in the funnel to capture the awareness and discovery phase of the purchase journey. It’s important to balance marketing spend with the impact that it will have on maximising conversions.

Given these factors, it is no surprise that Pinterest sees the highest levels of sales, conversions and return on ad spend for retailers during the festive season. It’s important to note that 80 per cent of Pinners have made a purchase inspired by content that they saw from brands on Pinterest. In 2018, we saw 7x higher sales, 5x higher conversions and 4x higher return on ad spend in Q4 compared to the averages across other times of the year. At Pinterest, we call this ‘return on inspiration’ (ROI). A picture is worth a thousand words, so you’ll know it when you see it, and make sure to prioritise your full-funnel festive-season strategy today.

Amy Vener is the Head of Retail Strategy & Marketing for Pinterest.

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