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Early Bird Holiday Shoppers Ultimate Guide: Beat the Crowds!

Summer Nguyen | 07-16-2019

Early Bird Holiday Shoppers Ultimate Guide: Beat the Crowds!

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Everyone always talks a lot about shopping during the holidays, especially now that 2024 is getting closer. They have been getting ready for this event all year and have even started making shopping plans and looking into where to buy things and spend their money. A smart way to escape the stress of the holiday shopping rush is to do your shopping early. “Get it done before the crowds start” is always a good idea, even if you’re shopping online. So, what does “early bird” mean, where did it come from, and how can we “beat the crowd”? Let’s look around this blog post!

What are the early birds?

If you are an ordinary shopper, maybe you don’t mind which types of holiday shoppers you are. However, retailers must define the types of customers coming to their stores. In general, there are four main types, including evergreen shoppers, early bird shoppers, deal seekers, and last-minute shoppers.

Early birds are people who shop early in or before the holiday season. The time before the holiday season starts, those people actively research for different products and retailers.

Gone are the days of last-minute holiday scrambles! In 2023, statistic shows that 72% 72% of holiday shoppers start researching and planning their purchases before Black Friday. This shift reflects a growing sense of intentionality and a desire to avoid decision fatigue and impulse buys. While some might still be pondering “What to buy?” and “Where to find the best deals?”, the early birds are already plotting their shopping journeys, mapping out destinations, and even securing coveted items before they fly off the shelves. They might miss out on a few eleventh-hour flash sales, but the benefits of organized early shopping are undeniable: beating the holiday rush, securing the perfect gifts, and enjoying a stress-free festive season.

What are the early birds

Understand why early birds choose to shop early

More options to shop and make a comparison

Early bird shoppers have the advantage of the best selection of merchandise. Because of the preparation for the holiday season, stores are usually fully stocked and ready to welcome buyers right after Halloween, or even sooner. You can comfortably enjoy shopping without worrying about the shortage of sizes or colors of your wanted items. There will be no battle in shopping which often happens at the peak of the holiday season. Everyone has a choice and freely fulfill their wishlists.

Savvy shoppers are starting their holiday shopping earlier than ever, leveraging the extra time to explore various retailers and compare prices and bundled services. With price variations across the market, even for identical products, online research has become the norm. A recent Google study found that 49%49% of early shoppers spend time doing research before making the final decision.

This extended browsing time reflects the convenience and ease of online research, allowing them to meticulously compare options before committing to a purchase. With the abundance of information and deals just a click away, it’s no wonder these early birds are stretching their online research phase.

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When starting ahead of time, early shoppers have more time to search for various retail stores and make a comparison in term of prices and enclosed services. For instance, a product can be priced differently by different retailers, that’s why with the same product, shoppers usually find its information from multiple store sites before purchasing to find a reasonable price they are willing to pay. According to a study conducted by Google (Nov. 2017 - Jan. 2018), the Early Birds spend 55% of their shopping time online. This tendency can be the reason behind a vast amount of searching time before making a purchase decision from this group of shoppers. It makes sense as online shopping makes it easier and convenient for them to surf, browse, and search for products.

Time and money-saving

Time is money, and nowadays one thing we all like to do is to save it, especially for working parents with a hectic family schedule. Holidays bring full of joy and indulgence but also make you as busy as a bee. Hence, early birds tend to start shopping for the holiday way earlier as long as they find convenient.

The endless checkout and customer services lines become shoppers’ fears all the time. In rush time of the holiday season, it is such an unlucky experience if you have been waiting for hours but end up bringing home nothing. However, by starting early, early bird shoppers will avoid the crowds and speed up their purchasing process. They will have more time to be with their family when the holidays arrive, while everyone else is still spending hours surfing on the internet or lining up to tackle their shopping lists.

Time saving

Shopping early can save a great deal of money from overspending, which will be likely to happen if you are under holiday time pressures. Shoppers typically make hurry purchasing decisions because they’re afraid of the sales running out at the last minute. There will be some extra spending for unexpected items as a result. On the other hand, they may exorbitantly pay for things which retailers sell at better prices at the other stores. To be sure, they will feel regretful later. In contrast, it is more relaxing for early shoppers to choose the product and consider prices worth it. Furthermore, some retailers will offer early discounts, taking advantage of this opportunity to reduce the financial burden on the holidays is a good idea.

Fewer crowds, less stress

Maybe the fear of being stressed out in the big shopping crowds haunts shoppers the most. It must be tired of being stranded in the massive crowds during the holiday season and seeing the infinite queues of shoppers spilling over the streets to grasp everything on sale.

Being an early bird, in reverse, brings with it much peacefulness in shopping for you. The number of shoppers at this time will be much less than that at holiday time. It means that early birds can fully enjoy their shopping time without overcrowding or too long-waited delivery due to the overloading excessive number of orders.

Stress-free shopping

How to get more early birds in holiday shopping seasons

Early promotion

Early shoppers themselves may be active to visit your stores to scratch names of items off their holiday shopping list, but it is still definitely necessary to do an early promotion. Because the Early Birds start researching and looking around to find potential products for their upcoming purchases by October or even earlier, online retailers need to take time to prepare for this in advance of their early entry to the stores.

There are several tools to support online stores in featuring deals, sale campaigns and setting up special promotions. You can take advantage of these tools to catch early birds’ attention.

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Optimizing store website

Today’s “Early Bird” shopper expects a seamless omnichannel experience. Particularly, mobile devices account for 74 % of retail site traffic, according to Statista

Therefore, website responsiveness and user-friendliness are no longer optional, but essential. Ensure all information is easily accessible and consider convenient features like BOPIS to bridge online and offline worlds. By embracing mobile-first design and omnichannel strategies, retailers can capture these increasingly mobile-minded early birds.

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Customers will not hesitate to buy from your competitors if they can’t conveniently view the details of products, even only a slight cover of the name. OuterBox, a website design, E-commerce, and SEO services company reveals that 40% of users will go to competitors after a bad mobile experience, and 84% have experienced difficulty completing a mobile transaction. Every retailer should bear in mind this incredibly high number in order to take advantage of mobile phone to increase customer conversion and then boost sales.

Email marketing

If you have a right plan for this early promotion, not only will it bring people in your store effectively, but also keep them coming back through the end of the season and beyond. You can do several things with an early promotion, but there is one way that you should consider to win an early promotion: email marketing.

Email marketing

Holiday shopping is coming earlier and earlier. Shoppers begin shopping before Halloween, so it is not too early to start your holidays’ email marketing at this time. The emails should be a friendly notification and invitation about the upcoming holiday shopping season. You can trigger customers by offering some early discounts but don’t amplify it. Customers know there will be significant discounts when the holiday season gets closer. Instead, let assure that shopping early will give them peace of mind that they’ve done, and they’ll get what they want without dealing with the crowds. A final tip to make your email marketing campaign successful is to use an additional tool such as Mageplaza SMTP that will make sure your emails arrive in the right customers’ box.


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Price testing

Starting ahead of time will be an excellent opportunity for retailers to do price testing, which is a great way to optimize products’ prices. Based on the early birds’ behavior on the cost of products, you will know whether customers are satisfied with the price and which ideal price they are willing to pay for their needed items.

By analyzing patterns and margins and making a comparison between last year findings and current early shopping findings, you will be able to test price for the whole holiday season. Surveying the early birds also provides you with real useful responses and document contributing to your optimal pricing strategy determination.

Exclusive Offers for Early Shoppers

In the competitive holiday market, everyone loves a good deal. Offer exclusive discounts, early access to promotions, or bundled packages for those who start their holiday shopping early. Highlight the limited availability of these offers to create a sense of urgency. You can build anticipation by creating a countdown clock on your website. This not only reminds visitors of the impending holiday season but also emphasizes the limited time for exclusive offers. Utilize engaging visuals to make the countdown visually appealing.

Targeted, Personalized Marketing

Understand your customers like never before by leveraging their data. Tailor your marketing messages based on their interests. Imagine sending emails with personalized product recommendations for each buyer – it’s the kind of personal touch that attracts early shoppers.

You need to divide your customer base into segments based on shopping history or preferences. Create messages that resonate with each segment. It’s like having a sales assistant in your store for every type of customer, making their shopping experience more enjoyable.

Gift Guides

Simplify the decision-making process for early shoppers by creating gift guides. These guides should be categorized by recipient type, interests, or price range. Incorporate visually appealing images and concise descriptions to make the selection process enjoyable and efficient. Ensure your gift guide pages are SEO-optimized. Use relevant keywords naturally throughout the content to increase visibility on search engines. Include meta descriptions and alt tags for images to improve the overall search engine ranking.

Ramp Up Customer Service

Anyone shopping during the holidays might have a question at any time. You should offer live chat, email, or phone help 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Quick answers help build trust and make shopping better overall. Deal with possible problems before they happen by guessing what customers will want. Make sure you’re clear about shipping times, return policies, and the products that are available. Being open and honest builds trust and makes it less likely that people will be unhappy.

Final Words

The trend of early holidays shopping is more popular than before, especially for online shopping. The early birds are as important as other types of shoppers, so treating them well when starting an early holiday shopping will be the key for your online store’s success on this sensitive season. Preparing a good promotion and making your website be the most useful and mobile-friendly destination for your customers’ holidays shopping journey will bring you many more benefits than you think.

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    A data-driven marketing leader with over 10 years of experience in the ecommerce industry. Summer leverages her deep understanding of customer behavior and market trends to develop strategic marketing campaigns that drive brand awareness, customer acquisition, and ultimately, sales growth for our company.

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