‘Sleigh’ the Holiday Season with Memorable Shopping Experiences

Yahoo’s John McNerney offers his take on how brands can make the season memorable for customers and set themselves apart from the competition.

‘Sleigh’ the Holiday Season with Memorable Shopping Experiences

Yahoo’s John McNerney offers his take on how brands can make the season memorable for customers and set themselves apart from the competition.

Get ready for a jolly sleigh ride in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region as it anticipates a healthy 4.2% economic boost in 2024—a silver lining amid global challenges. With this optimistic outlook on the horizon, there’s even more reason to celebrate: the fast-approaching holiday season.

But here’s the festive reality check – despite the economic optimism, the annual gift-picking struggle is as real as ever. For me, the holiday shopping experience is a yearly challenge—a puzzle to solve, a mission to decode the secret to spreading joy through perfectly chosen presents.

With all the e-commerce options, endless information, deals, and a world of choices at my fingertips, it should be a breeze, right? But here’s the kicker – it’s the abundance of options that sometimes transforms the hunt for that ideal gift into a quest for a needle in a haystack.


 

So, dear brands, listen up: amid the annual gift-giving frenzy, how can you truly make this holiday season memorable for your customers and set yourselves apart from the competition?

From Deals to Feels: Pioneer a Value-Driven Holiday Shopping Season

With cost of living pressures, people are starting much earlier and becoming more intentional about holiday purchases. And what I am seeing now is the holiday shopping season evolving into a holiday shopping quarter, with consumers warming up their carts from 10.10 as they go into full gear from Singles Day right through the holiday season.

“While sales and deals will always matter, people actively seek moments of joy and comfort and are more willing to allocate their budgets to brands that deliver experiences that make them feel special.”

While sales and deals will always matter, people actively seek moments of joy and comfort and are more willing to allocate their budgets to brands that deliver experiences that make them feel special. The Adyen Singapore Retail Report 2023 says that 77% of shoppers in Singapore seek more personalised offers from their favourite stores. 56% prefer retailers that remember their quirks and preferences, making shopping feel like a breeze. And a whopping 80% want brands to step up their game in rewarding loyal shoppers.


 

With digital/virtual aisles that go on for miles, brands should look to create a sense of happiness for consumers by making them feel special through seamless, personalised and purposeful experiences.

Think experiential and fulfilling – dynamic discounts across digital-out-of-home, mobile and desktop, special bundle deals for repeat shoppers, or exclusive rewards for early visitors. Make it impactful by leveraging the power of programmatic and omnichannel campaigns to optimise strategies and create a seamless value experience that delivers all the good feels for consumers.

Holiday Harmony: Dial into gift-giving and self-indulgence

Recently, I came across a fascinating study on the effect of altruistic gift-giving on self-indulgence. The results were intriguing: individuals gifting with the primary aim of bringing joy to the recipient were found to be more inclined towards personal indulgence, in contrast to those adhering to gift-giving norms.

It’s a noticeable trend in the making as we observe this behaviour gaining momentum among Yahoo users in search of the perfect gift.

“For brands looking to stay ahead, the key lies in hitting the sweet spot—helping people spread the love through thoughtful gifts while rewarding themselves.”

Overall, shoppers are looking for gifts with fun, interactive elements that empower their recipient, such as toys, games, or gift cards, and to treat themselves, they focus on indulgences, including clothes, electronics, or accessories. For brands looking to stay ahead, the key lies in hitting the sweet spot—helping people spread the love through thoughtful gifts while rewarding themselves.

Image by Max Fischer

Branded content is a great way for brands to inspire consumers and secure a coveted spot on their wishlists. From carefully curated gift guides to tips for selecting the perfect gift that caters to gift-giving and self-indulgence, the magic happens when these stories seamlessly guide shoppers to action, incorporating shoppable links and forging affiliate commerce partnerships. It’s not just content; it’s a journey, and your brand can be the guide.

Fueling Generation Alpha’s Holiday Choices

Despite not having spending power, Generation Alpha is highly influential in the holiday shopping season. They know a lot about brands and, in some instances, have even introduced brands to their millennial parents, who encourage them to be actively involved in purchasing decisions.

With the digital world shaping Gen Alpha’s awareness and understanding of their desires, brands that seize the opportunity to tap into their voices and choices can see success this holiday season and get ahead as this generation establishes preferences and desires that could shape their future purchase decisions.

Brands can push consideration towards family or kid-friendly gifting ideas on channels the entire household may gather together for – think Connected TV (CTV) not just as a conduit for whole-family entertainment but for interactive, personalised, and shoppable content that meets their desires. Born in the digital age, Gen Alpha expects nothing less than to be delighted with immersive experiences – with augmented reality, gamified campaigns, and social sharing as their points for engagement.

This holiday season is all about the gift of the value experience to consumers, going beyond transactions and transcending the ordinary. Brands will need not just to offer products but memorable and enriching shopping experiences to unwrap opportunities and rewards that linger long after the holiday lights dim.


Featured image by Heidi Fin.

John McNerney

John McNerney

John is Managing Director, AUSEA at Yahoo

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