Originally published in the Boulder Daily Camera and the Longmont Daily Times-Call.

Shopping on Thanksgiving Day?  Shopping while watching football?  While skiing? You bet! Not long ago this would have been impossible. However, shopping patterns have changed. So has shopping technology.  This year, before the turkey was even consumed, we saw the emergence of the super human holiday mindset. These shoppers use all days and resources available to them, in-store and online, to get their shopping done ahead of the holidays.

The opportunity for retailers is significant from Black Friday through Cyber Monday. But it’s not too late to capture the holiday shopper. According to a Mastercard analysis  of U.S. consumer holiday spending, in 2022 46% occurred after Cyber Monday and before December 24. The analysis was conducted by Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

So, what’s driving this opportunity so late in the season? What does it mean for marketing to holiday shoppers?  Last year, the average U.S. holiday shopper still had 50% of their shopping left to do coming out of Cyber Monday, and only three weeks to complete it.

In-store shopping climbed to record highs last holiday season, topping $1 trillion for the first time ever. One key activity driving the rise in brick-and-mortar shopping is the use of digital resources before visiting a store. Such tools not only help people decide what they want to buy but also gives them a way to buy it and pick it up at their convenience.

How do you capture this interest?  Consider email and SMS marketing.

Email marketing alone isn’t enough. Businesses  benefit when they develop a rich customer engagement strategy to enhance customer relations. One of the best ways to do this is to marry SMS and email marketing using both platforms in a strategic way to communicate effortlessly with your customers.

SMS marketing is often thought of as another term for text messaging, but it’s so much more. SMS stands for “short message service.” These messages are limited to 160 characters and cannot contain images. Thus, SMS marketing requires clever concise messaging.  It’s effective due to its high open rates, timeliness, and delivery to generally-receptive audiences.

Email marketing refers to sending marketing messages directly to your customers’ email inboxes. This may refer to direct marketing messages about sales or events, but it can also include things like newsletters, customer re-engagement emails, and abandoned cart summaries.

Email marketing is known to possess serious marketing benefits, from building credibility and brand recognition to increasing traffic to your website.  Email marketing is great for long-form content with complex messages. Announcements about new product offerings, newsletters, and event invitations are usually best sent through email.

SMS marketing is good for short-form content to drive rapid engagement. This may include appointment reminders, information about flash sales, and event reminders.

When you combine SMS and email marketing, you walk away with a simple yet forceful strategy. Email marketing with SMS is easily scalable, timely, and powerful. It has the ability to deliver the right message at the right times, leading to improved engagement and a huge return on your investment.

When you use both channels, you can also track open rates and engagement. Having that data will allow you to segment your users so that they receive marketing messages via their preferred channel. This improves customer satisfaction with your brand’s marketing and reduces the chances you’ll get marked as spam or put on a do-not-call list.

Think about ways you can use email marketing and SMS marketing together to help drive your customer engagement.  It might be the best gift you give your business for the holidays!

But don’t forget the best gift of all this season.  Kindness.  Wishing you the best in 2024.

Stacy Cornay is the owner of Communication Concepts Public Relations & Advertising. 
She may be reached at 303-638-7127; scornay@comm-concepts.com; www.comm-concepts.com; Facebook.com/Communication Concepts; X @CommConceptsPR; or Linked In.

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