How Your Customers Are Shopping This Holiday

Posted by Jocelyn Schoolsky on Nov 8, 2018 8:30:00 AM
Jocelyn Schoolsky

Kylie Cosmetics' use of Facebook stories is a fresh way to capture customer attention in a less invasive format.Both social media and seasonal gift marketing are critical to every retailer's success. The savviest of brands are combining the two to reach their customers on multiple channels this holiday season.

Providing your shoppers with visual inspiration is essential in digital retail marketing. Here are some retailers and brands that are doing it well on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Pinterest.


It should come as no surprise that Kylie Cosmetics' social media engagement is exceptional. The company's new product announcements via Facebook Stories is particularly great, as the Stories feature gives brands an opportunity to showcase stellar imagery and are less invasive than sponsored posts. 

Facebook Stories are more immersive than news feed posts (organic or sponsored), allowing brands to feature full-screen image banners and short-form videos. Stories have the advantage of prime real estate placement, sitting at the top of your followers' mobile news feed. A user must actively tap on your Story to view it, which is typically a more pleasing experience than interruptive advertising. And it's only increasing in popularity - 300 million people now use Facebook Stories every day, double its usage from just six months ago.

This is not to say your typical organic and sponsored posts should be overlooked. Crate and Barrel posts engaging videos that incorporate a friendly face (Reese Witherspoon!) while also promoting gift ideas for loved ones. The retailer started running this campaign in October - a very smart move. Surprisingly, nearly half of U.S. consumers start their holiday shopping before Halloween.

Crate and Barrel and Victoria's Secret for holiday on Facebook

Victoria's Secret leverages Facebook to post holiday sneak peeks that not only alert customers about new holiday collections, but also encourage followers to share their opinion. Engaging your customers by creating a sense of community is becoming increasingly important, especially when targeting Gen Z consumers


Sephora holiday first look on YouTube


YouTube might not immediately come to mind when thinking of holiday marketing, as much of the space is dominated by influencers instead of brands. But the platform is the second-largest search engine in the world, and with Google as a parent company, it offers powerful keyword and search capabilities. Additionally, YouTube reports that mobile video consumption rises 100% every year. 

Sephora has done a great job incorporating the platform in its digital strategy. In addition to makeup application tutorials, Sephora releases an annual "First Look" video. This year's has over 77,000 views in just a month's time.

bluemercury holiday post on Instagram



Instagram is visually driven, which makes it a natural choice for showcasing sleek product videos and imagery. Moreover, retailers can make their posts shoppable, and Hootsuite reports that 75% of Instagram users take action after looking at a brand's post!

Aside from sponsoring your posts to advertise to more people, utilizing hashtags is a wonderful (and free) way to reach a wider audience.

bluemercury, for example, uses the #holidaygifts hashtag to appear in feeds of those following it. These users are quite literally searching for brands to market to them, and want to be inspired to make a purchase. 

Nespresso uses sponsored Instagram posts to promote sale

Heavy-hitting hastags this season:

#christmasgifts = 1.5M posts

#holidaygifts = 426K posts

#holidaygiftguide = 84.4K posts

Nespresso uses sponsored stories to promote current sales on bestselling products. In addition to beautiful product imagery, these stories provide a strong call to action, encouraging users to swipe up to shop. This is an effective way to capture new customers, as Instagram reports that 60% of users say they discover new products on the channel. In fact, as many as one-third of the most viewed Stories come from business accounts.
World Market highlights partnership with Sackcloth & Ashes on Instagram


And Instagram isn't just useful for product promotion. Companies are using the platform to tout their corporate citizenship, as well. Take specialty and import retailer Cost Plus World Market. It's Instagram presence promotes great holiday gifts in a festive seasonal setting. See its reindeer post pictured here. Beyond this clever visual, the retailer uses the post to highlight its partnership with Sackcloth & Ashes to give back to those in need. For every blanket purchased, a second is donated to a homeless shelter. Beyond this being a wonderful thing to do, studies show that consumers - particularly Millennials - prefer shopping from socially conscious brands. 


Snapchat isn't crowded with retailers, which means there's a wealth of opportunity to reach your customers who use the platform. Brands can easily leverage influencer marketing by partnering with largely followed social media personalities here, but promoting a holiday gift guide or a new line of products via a series of Snaps is a great tactic for getting your followers excited to spend.  

Both Charlotte Tilbury and Wayfair are using Snapchat's Explore feature to promote insightful content to its users. And if you happen to love their content, it might just inspire you to shop their products this holiday.

Wayfair and Charlotte Tilbury utilize Snapchat Explore feature to promote content


Top beauty brands like Jeffree Star and Anastasia Beverly Hills are leveraging Twitter to promote limited holiday sets and exclusives. We especially love Twitter because the platform lends itself to viral marketing with its retweet feature. 

 Jeffree Star Cosmetics and Anastasia Beverly Hills leverage Twitter to promote holiday sets

With over 1.3 million registered users on their mobile app, over 3 million Instagram followers and $300+ million in sales coming from its shoppersrewardStyle's fairly new app is a go-to channel for both everyday and holiday inspiration. The platform connects mobile social content to commerce in a seamless way for retailers, influencers and customers. In our opinion, is a perfect medium to publish and share holiday gift guides.

LIKEtoKNOWit gift guides



The original digital vision board, Pinterest is often the first place consumers curate their own wish lists. It's also a huge resource for the everyday home decorator, so retailers in the home goods vertical should be sure to have a presence here. In addition to organic posts linking directly to your products, brands can leverage sponsored shoppable ads. Both Best Buy and Ulta are great examples to follow.

Best Buy and Ulta leverage sponsored shoppable ads on Pinterest 

Meeting your customers where they're already searching for inspiration is a slam dunk, especially during the ever-profitable holidays. Your customers are shopping on all social media platforms - be sure to invest your resources into a healthy mix of them to ensure a successful season.

For more holiday planning resources for retailers, check out our 2018 Holiday Marketing Checklist and our Consumer Survey Results: The Reality of Holiday Retail.

Topics: Retail Industry Research, Omnichannel Retail

About GPShopper

GPShopper is a mobile commerce platform and app developer for retailers, using technology to transform the total retail experience.  GPShopper is a Synchrony solution. 
Learn more.  

Twitter Bird GPShopper
LinkedIn Logo

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts