The holiday shopping season is officially underway! Have you started your holiday shopping yet? Maybe you are already done? If so, then "Wow, I'm impressed!" Most of us are probably not quite done yet, though. Or, maybe you've started a little bit? Or, maybe not at all? By shopping I'm almost positive you assume I mean actually making purchases online or in the store.
According to BizReport.com, October is actually "pre-shopping" time when most of the online browsing or comparison shopping begins. October is the time to start raising awareness for your website, your products, and to give any holiday season pricing incentives: such as percent-off or free shipping for larger quantities; online coupon codes; frequent purchase programs; etc.
During the holiday season, promotional products can serve a number of different purposes, two of which will take advantage of this pre-shopping season in different ways.
One good use of promotional products is to get the word out to potential customers about what your physical or online business has to offer during the upcoming holiday season. For this, the October pre-shopping period is the ideal time to get in front of your potential customers' face, to get them to put your company's items into their gift-giving consideration set and ultimately to choose your company as their gift product provider, if not exclusively, then at least partially. And, the sooner you can convert their considerations into actual purchases or commitments to purchase the better you are able prevent your competitors from squeezing into their consideration set, too.
Another purpose for promotional imprinted products is to give as holiday gifts to your customers, clients, or employees as an end-of-year thank you for their patronage or contribution to the business' success. For this, the October pre-shopping period is the ideal time to do some planning, such as determining how many people you need to get gifts for; decide if you need more than one type of gift; review gift-giving etiquette to be sure your choice is appropriate in style and in price; and to make sure you build in the necessary lead time for printing and customizing your gift.
Don't let your imprinted holiday gift be a generic last-minute afterthought. Be noticed by being thoughtful and unique while also being appropriate to the occasion and the receiver. Careful planning can also help you keep your costs down. There is no need for your promotional gift item to be expensive to be appropriate. A good quality and low cost promotional item that you can put in a mailer can be enough to get your brand noticed, it doesn't have to be expensive to be effective, it just needs to be appropriate for it's target and for your goals.
What makes promotional products so effective is that they can be customized to the dual need of the giver and the receiver. Customizing can be simply putting your logo on the item, but it can also be choosing a particular color combination relevant to your business, or it can be a larger screen-printed design built into the body of the item, or an engraved tagline, etc.. Or, choose from a variety of pre-made gift sets or work with your promotional product provider to create your own unique gift set combination of items.
No matter when you've begun your holiday Shopping Season preparation work, keep in mind that it is quality that matters most. If you've gotten off to a late start, don't get sloppy to catch up. Who knows, maybe by being a little later than others, you'll catch people at a time when they aren't as inundated with other offers or gifts and might notice yours more than they would have otherwise. Either way, making a good impression is always important. If someone doesn't choose your company's products or services this holiday season, it doesn't mean that they won't consider you for the next season or their next event.
While you want to take advantage of each phase of the holiday shopping cycle, starting at the pre-planning phase, keep in mind that your ultimate goal should still be to build long-term customers and relationships, so you don't only want to make a sale at the moment, you also want your customers and clients to come back again and to tell others about you, your products, and your company, too.
Since first impressions do matter, when people are doing their online holiday gift purchase research, it's important that your site: has current up-to-date information; has properly categorized items with meaningful categories; and that those categories don't contain more items than anyone would naturally take the time to scroll through.
I recommend: According to BizReport.com, for online retailers: "Shopping deals such as free shipping, coupons and discounts should be advertising clearly on the website and shopping cart software should be tested for ease of use".
We see that the supermarkets and the greeting card companies start stocking their shelves at least one season before the actual holiday they are targeting. Some people start buying then, and some will always wait until the last minute. Is one type of purchasing behavior better than another. Not necessarily. The early birds might spend less by getting better deals early on and might have more options to choose from. The last minute shoppers might spend more if rushing and for convenience and might have less to choose from if things sell out. Why not target both types of shoppers.
I recommend: There is an online report, entitled: by Unity Marketing. The online summary of this report interestingly categorizes shoppers as: Emotional Ethel/Ed; Practical Patty; Gift-Challenged Charlie; and Just-in-Time Justin.
If you are like me, maybe you, too, get busy and don't have time to shop a lot, but when you do, then you find things you aren't even looking for. Many times when I finally start shopping for someone else, that is when I start finding things that I need for myself or for something else.
I recommend: No need to only promote holiday gifts during the holiday season. Consider also promoting some ideas about other Gift-giving occasions that your products and your company's service can provide.
If you are giving a promotional gift item at the end of the year to a client, an associate, or a co-worker, choose something that might have a value beyond just that particular point in time.
I recommend: There are some great recognition promotional awards that you can have made that the receiver will proudly display on their desk or on a shelf or bookcase. Choose one that represents meaningful accomplishments to the receiver and to those that see it. An award can also be an engraved award-like item that includes a clock gift, pen gift set, paperweights, bookends, desk organizers, etc. Consider the beautiful trophy-like awards and also go beyond that to consider different versions of that such as a crystal vase or bowl, or a fancy canister or box. Often these more dual-purpose items do not cost more than an award item itself. Definitely browse through your promotional product providers "Gift" category to get ideas for different subcategories or groupings of items that would be appropriate for your goals.
Just because one site organizes their gift items in one particular way, doesn't mean you can't consider an item placed in a non-gift category to be a good gift, too.
I recommend: A company like Artpromos.com has a separate "Gifts" Category for items that are unique enough to not necessarily be considered everyday items, either due to their being packaged as gift sets or because they serve a combination or multi-function purpose, such as a clock/picture frame, or a clock/calendar/photo frame, etc. Go to a site's "gift" section to get ideas, and if you don't find what you are looking for their, browse other categories within that site to find items in other categories that also make good gifts, such as the fancier versions of: promotional drinkware, imprinted pens, clocks & watches, picture frames, or awards.
Tips & Tactics
Helpful advice for making the most of this Guide