Countdown to the Holidays with MikMak (ft. Sierra Reed with Whalar)



Over the last two weeks, we spoke with Kargo and Pacvue on best practices in preparation for the holiday shopping season. For the third week of MikMak’s 12-Week Holiday Countdown, we are bringing you forecasts from a marketing leader that specializes in working with influencers. Here’s Sierra Reed, Whalar’s Platform Partnerships Director, to highlight the latest consumer behavior trends and best practices, especially for brands who are looking to leverage influencers.

MM: Hi Sierra, thank you so much for joining us for our countdown. This year, 61% of Americans are ready for pre-pandemic style celebrations despite uncertainty due to the pandemic. What do you see consumers purchasing this winter?

SR: Thanks for having me, and you’re right, it’s been another difficult year for a lot of people. Consumers are likely going to be looking for products that help them feel good and excited at the possibility of being with other people. We expect to see increased spending on at-home personal care products (Peloton, MIRROR) to investments in luggage, travel, and wardrobe. 

We also anticipate an increase in spending on products that help people host gatherings as many have missed being able to physically congregate—how can your product help them achieve the feeling of togetherness and fun?

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MM: This is true, we’ve also seen nostalgic brands and products geared toward social and mental wellness perform well during this time. Do you see most of these purchases taking place online, or will the desire for the social aspect of shopping bring shoppers back into brick and mortar stores?

SR: As people are longing for a return to pre-pandemic times, they won’t shy away from in-store shopping if it means getting the product they want, right away. With the delays they've experienced in shipping across industries, it’s worth considering your product being on shelves for someone to buy right then and there. Brick and mortar stores will see an upward tick in traffic. 

However, consumers will still be spending big online, so make sure to cater to them and make the experience seamless and mobile-first. If it’s too difficult for someone to navigate your site, they’ll leave and find a different product that was easier for them to purchase.

MM: So Sierra, we’ve been talking about leveraging social commerce and influencer marketing as a way to get on shopping lists this holiday season. Given Whalar’s expertise in influencer marketing, what’s something brands should keep in mind?

SR: When it comes to social commerce: don’t neglect TikTok! The influence it’s had on consumer shopping will only expand as more people join the platform. In fact, Adweek performed a study that found “49% of TikTok users purchased a product after seeing it advertised, promoted, or reviewed at least once on the short-form video platform.” That’s a lot of potential customers brands are missing by thinking that it’s “only for teens.” Meanwhile, be ready to compete for the attention of your customers from unexpected places; as many people tend to second-screen, make sure your content is engaging and will make someone want to stop what they are doing to see it.

As for influencers, think about how you can create a genuine partnership with them. Their audiences are smart and can spot a #ad from a million miles away. I’d suggest expanding the scope of work with influencers outside of one touch point. Brands should try working with a set of influencers throughout their campaign so they will have more opportunities for their product to get in front of the influencer’s audience. Also deepen the partnership by bringing them into the creative process and letting their creativity shine on their platform. They’ve worked hard for their audience and know what will work best to reach them. In the end, it’s a win-win for everyone involved!

MM: I can see this being useful to so many readers as they build out their strategy at this time. Thank you so much for chatting with us, Sierra!

2021 will be another record breaking holiday shopping season, especially for eCommerce, and MikMak's annual holiday guide is here to help!

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