The Most Crucial Time of the Year: Are You Prepared for Q4?

With its plethora of holidays and consumer spending events, the 4th quarter is a make-or-break season and the most crucial time of the year for eCommerce merchants in a wide variety of verticals.

In contrast to 2020, when the locked down COVID-19 environment led to unprecedented digital acceleration and unpredictable spending behavior, more consumers have now adapted to the climate, becoming much more trusting and savvier in their online discovery and buying of products in 2021. This makes performance marketing relationships more important than ever to help merchants and retailers of all sizes stand out to consumers.

At the recent Performance Marketing Association Fall Conference, industry leaders gathered virtually for educational sessions which included a timely topic, “COVID 2021: What to Expect for Q4” where panelists shared advice and considerations for merchants to best prepare their affiliates for Q4. A few of the many valuable takeaways:

  • Regarding the amount of online shopping that we can expect in Q4, Director of Affiliate Marketing May Tavarez advised that while many consumers will indeed head back to the brick-and-mortar stores, “we will continue to see increases online because consumers have started to trust the online buying process. They have adapted more to buying online.”
  • LinkConnector Co-President Choots Humphries noted that in anticipation of shipping delays and continued supply constraints, “advertisers need to be prepared to not wait for those traditional holidays to promote buying behavior,” and conversely, “publishers and affiliates need to be ready to act much, much sooner this year.”
  • eAccountable Senior Director Scott Wanamaker touched on the changing online shopping landscape and observed that “we’re definitely seeing a lot of shifting demand across different categories.” Scott and the other panelists agreed that several verticals will enjoy a Q4 boost, including Toys & Hobbies, Electronics, Home & Garden, Apparel & Accessories, and Real Estate.

So, as we begin the final stretch of the year, it’s important to be mindful of the key dates on the horizon (some obvious and others that are easy to overlook) and prepare your affiliate strategy for these events well in advance. In addition to the popular Q4 holiday events listed here, don’t forget about the many non-traditional and hashtag holidays that can be unique to your audience.

Columbus Day: A popular event for pre-Halloween sales, Columbus Day can offer a boost in profits for merchants and affiliates in just about any vertical.

Halloween: The biggest retail event in October is especially important for brands in the Apparel & Accessories, Home & Garden, Food & Wine, and Makeup & Beauty verticals.

Veteran’s Day: A perfect time to show support and gratitude for those who served, with special offers and discounts exclusively for veterans.

Thanksgiving: Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the upcoming sales gauntlet. Key verticals to target specifically for Thanksgiving Day include Home Decor, and Food & Wine.

Black Friday: Let the sales frenzy begin! While loads of consumers will be hunting for deals in brick-and-mortar stores, many shoppers will opt to look for products and deals online this year due to the current climate and inventory constraints.

Small Business Saturday: With constant attention on the big box stores throughout the year, Small Business Saturday provides tremendous value for merchants in niche markets and verticals.

Hanukkah: It’s important to note that in 2021, the 8 days of Hannukah will kick off in late-November – earlier than most other years. Don’t let the sales opportunities pass you by.

Cyber Monday: As consumers continue opting to shop from home, Cyber Monday is giving Black Friday a run for its money as the most popular spending day of the year. To take full advantage of the annual spending spree, merchants in every vertical would benefit from promotions that extend across both events.

Free Shipping Day: As Christmas Day inches closer, Free Shipping Day is a great opportunity to generate a sense of urgency to try and have delivery by Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve: In addition to the jubilee of gift giving, don’t forget about some of the other verticals that can benefit from holiday sales such as home décor, and food and wine.

Christmas Day: The biggest gift giving day of the year gives merchants of every stripe an opportunity to boost profits through creative sales and promotions.

Boxing Day: Don’t forget about our friends up North! Boxing day offers another great opportunity for sales and promotions in December.

New Years Eve: The last hurrah of 2021 can provide merchants in many verticals from food and wine to apparel and more, with one final push for profits. 

Whether you’re an online retailer searching for fresh affiliate marketing solutions or an affiliate looking for unique and relevant merchant brands during this vital, action-packed season, contact LinkConnector to explore ways in which we may be able to help you finish the year strong and set you on the path to continued success. Email us at [email protected].

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