Countdown to the Holidays with MikMak (ft. Billie Hirsh with Kargo)



Although we are only days into September, we’re 10 weeks away from Black Friday, and 12 weeks away from peak holiday shopping. This year, MikMak and our partners are joining together for a 12 week countdown. Each week, we’ll be featuring an exclusive interview with an industry expert highlighting their latest projections and best practices for brands as we approach the holiday season. We will also be reporting from the MikMak Shopping Index, bringing you competitive intelligence, insights, and forecasts as they occur.

This week, we’re thrilled to welcome Billie Hirsh, VP of Marketing at Kargo.

MM: Hi Billie, thank you so much for joining us and for being our first featured guest in the 12 week countdown. To get us started, I’d like to take a look at the growth in eCommerce. Our Shopping Index shows that compared to last year, shopping traffic on our platform has more than doubled. Has Kargo observed this as well?

BH: Yes, the pandemic accelerated the already increasing trend we were seeing in terms of the sheer number of savvy online shoppers and I anticipate this trend will only continue to grow. 

At Kargo, we experienced a 62% YOY increase in media spend dedicated towards ecommerce strategies. With our data showing above average performance in terms of sales lift and ROAS—I’m talking double digits here—we see that not only are consumers turning to their mobile devices for product discovery but they’re also more comfortable with following through to purchasing. With eCommerce playing a larger role than ever in total retail sales, brands need to account for evolving consumer habits in the way they structure their campaigns and design captivating digital experiences. 

MM: Definitely. And what are some ways you see consumers shopping this year that may look different from last year?

BH: We saw the rise of socially conscious shopping last year. This year, it’s going to play an even bigger role. Consumers want to know what a brand stands for, so sustainability, ethical practices, inclusive business models are all going to be high in the mix of product consideration. Now more than ever it’s important for brands to be transparent about everything from how their products are made, how they contribute to society, how they promote diversity and inclusion. I think it’s great.

In addition to consumers buying brands that share their values, we’re also seeing the luxury goods sector bounce back as pandemic restrictions ease.

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MM: That’s certainly true. Given how Kargo specializes in identifying innovative ways to optimize the mobile advertising experience, what are some successful strategies you have seen that may play a role this holiday season? 

BH: Even as people choose to shop at home, I think there is an opportunity for brands to bring their store to the consumer with everything from virtual reality experiences like Dermalogica to free try-ons like Warby Parker. 

Brands can also further enable commerce through advertising in order to shorten the purchase journey. They can live-stream sales through video ad creative, offer QR codes for instant shopping and create interactive ads that feature a variety of personalized product recommendations. 

MM: Incredibly helpful. Let’s talk about some do’s and don’ts. Just like last year, this holiday season can be an emotional one for consumers. What are some things marketers should keep in mind when preparing campaigns?

It’s true. Two thirds of consumers in the US and the UK feel that this holiday season will be more important and more emotional than previous holidays—largely because millions of people didn’t get to be with extended family and friends last year. Brands that understand their consumers and deliver meaningful, supportive messaging will likely see a better return. I think marketers should be aware that a focus on straight promotional messaging could fall flat with consumers this year.

In addition, I predict Black Friday may look different this year as well. After years of Black Friday make-or-break messaging, an incredible 80% of marketers feel that Black Friday has become outdated and associated negatively with consumer culture, according to Sitecore. Fewer marketers plan to have big promotions and we’ll likely see shopping start a lot earlier as people can simply go online and look for bargains whenever they want to. Consumers are now aware of issues within the supply chain and are likely to shop earlier than ever to make sure their gifts arrive on time.

MM: Thank you so much for joining us, Billie!

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