The sun is bright, friends are buzzing with travel plans, and families are checking out deals for online shopping. Memorial Day is here—people are ready to enjoy the warm weather and spend their hard-earned money.
How are brands preparing for an eventful Memorial Day sale? In this blog post, we’ll cover marketing strategies that can help attract, engage, and retain customers who shop during this retail holiday.
Hot Scoop: Memorial Day in Numbers
This year, Memorial Day is a mix of great deals and underwhelming promotions. Like the impact on other holidays, inflation is expected to cause both an increase in prices and a tightening of purse strings.
Still, a majority of consumers intend to spend, with 80% expecting to celebrate Memorial Day according to Numerator’s 2022 survey.[*] It’s predicted that throughout the period, the average shopper’s expenses will fall between $50 to $100. In terms of what consumers are spending on, Coresight Research[*] found last year that two-thirds of shoppers planned to wine, dine, and buy, both online and in-store.
Comparing visitor sessions in 2021 and 2020, data from Namogoo in the graph below shows a dip in CVRs across all industries except for Gifts & Hobbies and Health & Beauty. One explanation for the decrease is that more customers have started to shop in-store again as restrictions loosened and people get vaccinated.[*]
Meanwhile, eCommerce activities continued and will continue to persist. Based on the same 2022 survey mentioned, about 30% of shoppers intend to purchase online on the upcoming Memorial Day.[*] This can very well be a signal that the eCommerce shopping habits that have been established at the height of the pandemic are here to stay.
As the next graph shows, pages per session increased in the Computers & Office Supplies, Fashion & Apparel, and Health & Beauty verticals in 2021 versus 2020. The dip for the rest wasn’t that significant except for Footwear. What does this mean? More shoppers browsed for products that are usually on sale during Memorial Day. Tech consumers hunted for bargains, and fashion shoppers made the most out of last season’s stock sale and revamped their wardrobes for the summer.
It’s important to note, though, that the surge in online traffic on Memorial Day was interrupted by unwanted ads. The following graph shows that only two out of ten industries had fewer customer journey interruptions in 2021 than in 2020. In other words, the majority of shoppers during this period experienced unwelcome ads from third-party apps or extensions. This can be the other explanation for the decrease in CVRs from 2020 to 2021 in almost all industries.
How can we make sure that brands can make the most out of the Memorial Day opportunities? Let’s first understand who the shoppers are and their expectations. Then, we’ll tackle marketing strategies that brands can employ to win them.
Warm Weather Holiday Shoppers
Memorial Day customers plan to spend on fashion items, holidays, and dining experiences, among others, but we can anticipate them to be more discerning with where their money goes. Brands will see different kinds of digital shoppers during the holiday, but it’s important to consider that they share one important interest: favorable promotions. The following are some buyer personas to prepare for the approaching sale season:
1. Bargain hunters. Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer when retailers typically clear out spring merchandise to make way for the new season’s styles. For tech brands, this can mean selling older-generation electronics. Bargain shoppers tend to do research beforehand and always have up-to-date shopping carts. They determine what to buy by going through multiple sites to find a price or deal that stands out the most.
2. Long weekenders. Shoppers with this persona refer foremost to travelers who are looking for the best vacation deals. They can also be customers shopping for the latest styles instead of last season’s, and preparing for home parties with family and friends. Long weekenders often have a larger budget for spending, but would still want to get the most value out of their purchase.
3. Inspired planners. These shoppers are the type to keep Pinterest boards in preparation for their wardrobe or home during the summer. They have wish lists so they know just what to look out for during the retail holiday. Inspired planners are more likely to purchase based on how close an item or experience is to their ideal, imagined buy. Afterward, these customers will look for available deals and pick whichever delivers the most valuable.
5 Marketing Strategies for Boosting Summer Feelin’ and Sales during Memorial Day
According to Google Trends[*], searches for summer shopping start to peak the week before Memorial Day, giving brands a short but exciting window to reap the rewards of effective marketing strategies. With planning and execution taking place at least a month prior to the 30th of May, here are ways to help you still get ahead:
- Personalized Email/SMS Campaigns. Memorial Day is a US holiday, which means that only American customers should be targeted for any related personalized email and text campaigns. It pays to start early in teasing promotions, so you can give customers time to research as well as monitor competitors’ deals in comparison to yours. Construct the promotions based on what shoppers are into, and what they’re on the hunt for—are they searching for weekend getaways or last season’s collections? You can even personalize the message based on the channel. Beginning the campaign way ahead makes sure that you also stay top of mind of ideal customers.
- Embrace the Root of the Holiday. The day might signal the arrival of summer, a season many look forward to, but the holiday is also a solemn occasion to commemorate the sacrifices of American military personnel. You can appeal to veterans and servicemen by offering discounts as well as acknowledging their struggles and history. If it makes sense for your brand, you can also partner with a nonprofit to highlight a relevant cause.
- Act on Data in Real-time with Customer Journey OS. Once the segmentation to only US customers is set up, you can personalize deals even more. Tweak promotions based on their motivations and intent throughout the customer journey. You can also capture and leverage real-time data such as device, location, and weather information, to further adjust offers for individual shoppers. Acting immediately while backed by visibility into the end-to-end customer journey can also address problems that usually lead to incomplete purchases. These included cart abandonment, interruption from third-party apps, and more.
- Start Promotions a Week Early and Also Extend Them After. Shoppers already expect sales to happen before Memorial Day weekend but what about after? You can likely boost sales if you don’t limit your offers on the day itself. Why not experiment with delivering promotions a week before and extending the sale period a few days after. You can also trigger interest by reaching out to early or previous visitors and urging them to continue the purchase process from their abandoned carts or wish lists with a unique post-Memorial Day promo code or voucher.
- Push Seasonal Products or Try to Clear Winter Stock. Shoppers who hunt for bargains benefit the most from clearance sales, so make sure you acknowledge them. You can create a dedicated landing page that curates items that “must go” so customers don’t waste time searching for discounted products on your site. Another way to promote on-sale items is to feature them on recommendation carousels. This can even boost basket size. To maximize exposure, you can promote both new, trending items and discounted products at the same time as long as it makes sense to the real-time context and intent of shoppers.
Bonus: 3 Memorial Day Campaigns to Inspire Your Summer
It takes both tact and creativity to create a Memorial Day campaign that stands out and resonates. These examples were able to encourage customers to check out their brand and purchase, while also recognizing the importance of the holiday.
For Memorial Day 2021, Casper introduced new products that took center stage for the occasion: a line of mattresses that ensure increased airflow and balanced support for customers. The brand produced a teaser so shoppers can look forward to the product launch. The campaign also included a video highlighting a 15% discount on mattresses and delivery to almost all US locations. Lastly, Casper reached out to customers with an email that provided social proof to encourage trust and financing options to manage payments.
Source: The Bellevue Collection
The home furnishings retailer fostered excitement over the Memorial Day sale with content specific to the holiday. These include suggested recipes for an all-American Memorial Day cookout, features from respected chefs, cooking videos, and product guides. The brand also reached out personally through email, luring shoppers with time-sensitive promos that highlighted savings and rewards, as well as product recommendations that gave the most bang for shoppers’ buck.
Source: Williams Sonoma
The American adventure clothing brand took the chance to highlight a cause close to veterans and go beyond usual sales during Memorial Day 2021. Through social media posts, Eddie Bauer highlighted its partnership with The Heroes Project, which aims to empower injured veterans through exploration and outdoor activities. The brand was also able to capture its line of products in these posts. Dynamic emails were sent to customers that detailed last-minute additional promos on top of original deals and experiences where they can use the products that they’re going to purchase.
Source: Eddie Bauer Instagram
Walking on Memorial Day Sunshine
Memorial Day is a holiday that became a signal for the beginning of summer. Therefore, customers are ready to open their wallets to make the season the best of the year. For brands, it’s not only a chance to market discounted items and promotions, but also to show appreciation for the services and sacrifices of veterans. It can be tricky to tread the somber holiday with the sun bright out, but starting early, understanding personas, and offering deals that are hard to come by can make for a revenue-rich holiday.
We’re halfway through the year, and there are still a lot of holidays to participate in. Check out this calendar for a complete list of 2022 eCommerce holidays.