Christmas is all about... - Sonder
This year retailers are focusing on providing valued experiences rather than expensive advertising to get people through the door.
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Christmas is all about…

Christmas is all about…

Giving?  No, in the world of retail, it’s about sales.
There is a growing sense that this year, retailers are focusing on providing valued experiences in-store rather than over-investing in expensive advertising to get people through the door. This is hardly surprising in a climate of store closures and declining year-on-year sales in the lead-up to the biggest retail period of the year.

The MD of Marketing & Beauty at UK department store Debenhams put it succinctly: “In the current retail climate, how can I look a colleague in the eye when we’re all being told we need to manage costs carefully and make sure we’re driving a simplicity focus and efficiency, and then tell them I’ve spent millions on making a vanity project TV ad? It would be remiss of any marketer not to be thinking really carefully about how they spend and invest to maximise return on investment.”

The research stacks up
POPAI research shows that a whopping 82% of purchase decisions are made in the store, so if you have a dollar to invest, it makes sense to invest it close to point of purchase before you do anything else. Retailers have other compelling reasons attract brand’s marketing investment:

  1. They have impressive media ecosystems (emails, social, digital posters and pop-ups to name a few)
  2. They have a trusted relationship with customers (worth its weight in gold)

Creating destinations

Department stores have moved on from a quick photo on Santa’s knee. In previous years we have seen Myer’s Giftorium deliver huge returns for the brands involved, with personalised Nutella jars becoming the store’s top-selling Christmas gift. In a concerted effort to make shopping fun again, this year Debenhams have introduced gin bars, massages, personal styling and beauty makeovers.

The award goes to Harrods which, as is so often the case, have taken things to another level. Their Department of Surprise & Delight (yes, really!) have created Fantastica, a series of experiences and events designed to make Harrods even more of a destination than it already is. From in-store ballet, to festive personalisation, to musical performances, to celebrity book signings, to brand experiences from brands like Chanel, Jo Malone, Max Mara, Karen Millen and Sensai. Oh and a Dolce & Gabbana Christmas tree!

The Christmas sales period can make or break businesses. Can you afford not to make owned media the focus this Christmas?