This Shift From Christmas Giving to Getting Boxing Day Deals

As the chill sets in the air for the foreseeable future, it’s clear that it’s that time of year again — holiday shopping season.

It seems like every year, consumers are heading out earlier and earlier, seeking deals and looking for the perfect gifts. And in recent years, Halloween has barely passed before marketers begin courting holiday shoppers ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Despite the two being tied to American Thanksgiving, the desire to jump in on the shopping frenzy has long since crossed north of the border. In fact, figures showed that in 2013, Canadian spending jumped 19 per cent on Black Friday and 29 per cent on Cyber Monday.

While Black Friday and Cyber Monday have undoubtedly caught on in Canada, much of the shopping done at that time is with gift-giving in mind. But a recent Accenture study found that one third (33 per cent) of Canadians expect to find the best deals on Boxing Day. But what is in the mind of a consumer by the time Boxing Day rolls around?

With holiday shopping in the rear view, many consumers are likely to have shifted their purchasing attention to finding deals for themselves.

Differentiating Boxing Day offerings

The same Accenture study noted above also found that for Canadians, Black Friday is gaining momentum — though 33 per cent of Canadians expect to find the best deals on Boxing Day, another 33 per cent felt the same way about Black Friday.

As prices north of the border are still roughly 20 per cent more than those in the U.S., Canadian retailers have to work harder to appeal to consumers. Some American retailers, such as Express, have maintained similar pricing north of the border to appeal to deal-seeking Canadians. This means that marketers need to work even harder to capture consumer attention.

Given the aggressive push from American retailers to appeal to Canadian shoppers, companies need to think about how to make Boxing Day stand out. An example of this is housewares retailer Linen Chest, who had been faced with high competition from big-box retailers. The company worked with Canada Post on a tailored mailing program for a Boxing Day and year-end sale in Montreal. Rather than rely on standard ad bags, which many people ignore, the company used a thoughtfully-targeted specialty direct mail option to generate increased interest. This led to a 184 per cent higher per-flyer net revenue — a result of a different way to capture consumers’ attention, while wooing their deal-finding mind sets.

Beyond coupons and deals, a number of marketers look to win with nostalgia and emotion. Canadian Tire did it in the ’80s and ’90s with its Scrooge and Santa commercials, and Coca-Cola did it with its polar bear commercials. Boxing Day, too, holds a memorable place in the hearts of consumers. For instance, iconic Toronto music store Sam the Record Man continues to be remembered for its legendary Boxing Day sales, which saw shoppers lined up in droves seeking discounts and bargains. Tapping into the emotion around the holidays is just another way to stand out.

Digital means retail opportunities are everywhere

During the holiday shopping season, marketers also need to consider the many digital opportunities that exist. No longer is holiday shopping about rushing through the mall with crowds of people. With the rise of mobile apps and payments, retail marketing is right at consumers’ fingertips, so why not use this to our advantage?

With the holiday swirl in full swing, marketers need to consider campaigns that reach consumers at multiple touchpoints and across a number of screens. Recent Microsoft research found that three-quarters (74 per cent) of Canadians remember an ad when it has been viewed across multiple platforms.

With so much competition for consumers’ attention, multi-screen campaigns can help increase the likelihood that a campaign will pique interest and having a lasting impact, especially when a purchase is just a click away.

Making an impact for Boxing Day

So what else can marketers keep in mind when planning for Boxing Day? Here are some considerations to think about:

Strategic timing. Pushing a Boxing Day campaign too early may lead to it getting lost in the mania surrounding Black Friday. Be thoughtful about timing to help your campaign remain top-of-mind in the lead-up to Boxing Day.

Unique positioning. Consumers will inevitably be met with a cacophony of discounts, sales and offerings. Think about how you can position your campaign as distinct from the rest.

Consumer mindset. With gift-giving largely at a close, consider appealing to consumers looking for deals for themselves. Some may look to spend some of their holiday haul, while others may seek home essentials.

Impactful content. Having a strong offering that is well-timed and appealing to consumers is key, but ultimately, it’s crucial to reach consumers through memorable, relevant content. You want yours to be the brand that sticks out — don’t let your brand get lost in the holiday hustle and bustle.


Google, Microsoft throw weight in fight against Marriott Wi-Fi blocking request

Google, Microsoft, and Wireless Industry trade groups are banding together to tell the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) that hotels shouldn’t be allowed to block guests’ personal hotspots while they stay at a hotel.

In October, Marriott Hotel Services came to a $600,000 settlement with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over allegations that the hotel chain blocked Wi-Fi signals from guests’ hotspots, forcing them to use the chain’s custom networks, which ran between $250 to $1,000 per access point. Although Marriott paid its fine, it remained defiant, arguing that it was only trying to provide the best service to its customers.

Later, as Re/code reportsMarriott submitted a petition for rulemaking, asking the FCC to sanctify its practice.

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Indians raid remote Peruvian village

A remote Amazonian community is to be evacuated after uncontacted Indians looking for food raided homes and killed domestic animals

The 3 Most Important Areas to Invest in as a Startup (With Limited Resources)

Developing the kernel of an idea into a sustainable business is a balancing act. CEOs must balance their time, energy, and most importantly, their resources. For the founders of startups who often have precious few resources to begin with, this can be a true challenge. Which tasks do you prioritize? […]

Top Downloaded iOS Apps of 2014 Include Minecraft, YouTube, Heads Up and Facebook Messenger

Apple today shared cumulative lists of the best performing apps in the App Store across 2014 with various media sites and on iTunes, highlighting the iPad Top Paid, iPad Top Free, iPhone Top Paid, and iPhone Top Free apps that were most popular with consumers this year.

The number one free iPhone app in 2014 was Facebook Messenger, which continues to have a two and a half star rating in the App Store due to Facebook’s unpopular decision to remove messaging capabilities from the main Facebook app in an effort to get users to download the standalone Facebook Messenger app. Other popular free iPhone apps included Snapchat, Instagram, and Google Maps, with the top 10 listed below.

1. Facebook Messenger
2. Snapchat
3. YouTube
4. Facebook
5. Instagram
6. Pandora Radio
7. Google Maps
8. Flipagram
9. Spotify Music
10. 2048

The number one paid iPhone app in 2014 was popular party game Heads Up!, which was skyrocketed to fame thanks to its multiple appearances on The Ellen Degeneres Show. First launched in 2013, Heads Up! asks players to guess a word based on clues given by friends. Other popular paid iPhone apps included workout app 7 Minute Workout Challenge and photo editing app Afterlight.

1. Heads Up!
2. Minecraft – Pocket Edition
3. Afterlight
4. Plague Inc.
5. Sleep Cycle alarm clock
6. Facetune
7. Cut the Rope 2
8. Bloons TD 5
9. A Dark Room
10. 7 Minute Workout Challenge

The most popular paid iPad app was, unsurprisingly, Minecraft – Pocket Edition, which also ranked as one of the top paid iPhone apps. Minecraft first debuted on iOS in 2011, but since that time, the app has been updated more than 20 times with new features, better graphics, bug fixes, and more. Its constant updates and pervasive popularity have kept it in the top list of apps for several years running. Other popular paid iPad apps were Terraria, Notability, and Minecraft-style apps Survivalcraft and Terraria.

1. Minecraft – Pocket Edition
2. Cut the Rope 2
3. Heads Up!
4. The Room Two
5. Survivalcraft
6. Notability
7. Terraria
8. Plants vs. Zombies HD
9. Hide N Seek : Mini Game With Worldwide Multiplayer
10. Card Wars – Adventure Time

The App Store’s most popular free iPad app for 2014 was Google’s YouTube app, which is a standalone app that lets users watch YouTube videos on their devices. YouTube used to be included with iOS, but the dedicated app was removed with iOS 6, prompting Google to release an app in 2012. Netflix was the second most downloaded free iPad app in 2014, followed by a calculator app, Skype, and Microsoft Word. Facebook and Facebook Messenger, two of the most popular free iPhone apps, were also popular on the iPad.

1. YouTube
2. Netflix
3. Calculator for iPad Free
4. Skype for iPad
5. Microsoft Word
6. Facebook Messenger
7. Facebook
8. Candy Crush Saga
9. Chrome
10. Clash of Clans

Top grossing apps for the year included Clash of Clans, Candy Crush Saga, Game of War – Fire Age, Pandora Radio, and Big Fish Casino.

Earlier this month, Apple released its iTunes Store awards, highlighting some of the best apps, music, movies, and TV shows that were released in 2014. Those winning apps included Elevate – Brain Training, Threes!, Pixelmator, and Monument Valley. Of those apps, only two made Apple’s top charts for 2014 — Threes! was the 25th top paid iPhone app while Monument Valley was the 46th top paid iPhone app and 35th top paid iPad app.

What Would Twitter Do? Musician’s tweets of Sony e-mails lead to threats

Musician Val Broeksmit spent several days this month publishing screenshots from the hacked Sony e-mails on his Twitter feed. The e-mails he published included deals about new movieshow much the main players were getting paid, and feuds between Sony exec Amy Pascal and Hollywood super-agent Ari Emanuel.

That got the attention of Sony’s legal team, who threatened not only him but Twitter. Yesterday, Vice published a letter from Sony’s legal team to Twitter. That has put Broeksmit suddenly at the center of a lot of media attention.

Sony’s letter to Twitter doesn’t state that a lawsuit is imminent. In fact, the document isn’t substantively different from letters that Sony sent out to dozens of media organizations, including Ars, starting about a week ago. The letters, signed by lawyer David Boies, tell media organizations to stop publishing any parts of the Sony e-mails, which it calls “Stolen Information.” They also state that Sony hasn’t authorized any publications, reserves all its legal rights, and other legal boilerplate.

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