retail holiday pr tipsThe 2013 holiday retail forecast looks to be modest with predictions of 2.4% growth from the 2012 season, according to ShopperTrak. The National Retail Federation recently launched a survey about shoppers’ holiday gift giving budgets and reports that they will be more cost-conscious this season.

The survey reports that shoppers plan on purchasing 40% of items online. Shoppers are buying gifts early to spread out their budget and are cutting down on self-gift giving. Sales and discounts will drive their purchases and the top preferred gift is holiday gift cards.

What does all of this mean for retailers? You will need to get creative with your promotions and find ways to stand out from the competition. Here are a few public relations tips for promoting your retail business this holiday season.

Holiday Gift Guides: If you are promoting products, your holiday gift guide pitching should begin in July, according to Cision’s “10 Tips for a Holiday Gift Guide Campaign.” It’s not too late, but be sure to research relevant media outlets and blogs and tailor your pitch accordingly. Since the holidays are weeks away, you will have more success by pitching online outlets that have shorter lead times. Make notes for next summer if you want to pitch print outlets with longer lead times for their holiday gift guides.

American Express Open Forum talks about “5 Ways Retailers Can Compete for Customers This Holiday Season.” Here are highlights from the article.

Start promoting now. Retailers promote their holiday campaigns in hopes of drawing the early holiday shoppers. NRF reports that many people start holiday shopping in September and October – an estimated 40% of all holiday shopping is done before Halloween.

Improve your e-commerce. E-commerce sales are on the rise.  With 40% of shoppers planning to purchase online, make sure you are able to accommodate holiday shoppers’ buying preferences.

Go mobile. Emarketer estimates that 16% of holiday sales will be done this year on mobile devices such as tablets and phones. Make sure your website is mobile friendly and be sure to incorporate social media marketing into your holiday campaigns to increase visibility among your customer base.

Offer competitive pricing. With shoppers looking for sales and discounts, finding ways to offer deals is important for the holiday season. Smaller businesses can compete by offering superior customer service and amenities such as free gift wrapping.

Offer stand-out promotions. Be creative and offer shoppers the most rewarding shopping experience whether online or offline. Find ways to stand out and draw in new customers. Reward your current customers with VIP shopper campaigns.

And last but not least, don’t forget about holiday social media campaigns. They can be a cost-effective way to promote your business by encouraging your fans to spread the word.

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