How to Adapt your Marketing for Supply Chain Holiday Chaos

pile of boxes in warehouse

By Nicole Ferrera, Head of Product Marketing at Aki Technologies

The current global supply chain is complicated and only getting messier as the holidays are near. Hopefully, some help will be on the way soon.

This year, 64% of retailers were challenged to adapt their supply chain for ecommerce, according to Statista. Supply chain issues mean that more than 80% of consumers bought a different brand than usual over the last three months, per Inmar Intelligence.

Given this climate, private labels that are in stock have a unique chance this holiday season to convert new consumers and seize market share. Until the federal government figures out how to help ports and ease the supply chain burden, it’ll take creative approaches. Here are ways that smart marketers, regardless of their brands’ current product availability situation, can navigate the choppy supply chain waters.

In-Stock Targeting

Marketing budgets are getting cut as brands continue to run out of products to sell. Gartner research indicates marketing budgets as a percent of company revenue dropped to their lowest levels in history — from 11% in 2020 to 6.4% in 2021. Specifically, consumer products and goods marketing budgets were down 2.5 percentage points from 2020.

As a result, advertisers should strive to be more prudent than ever with what little budget might remain. One key way to do this is to turn to in-stock targeting, which is the ability to regionally target advertisements to where the product is currently available. Driving potential customers to locations with in-stock inventory — and being able to dynamically adjust on the fly based on product availability — makes mobile advertising more efficient.

In-stock targeting is a smart way for advertisers to avoid wasting advertising spending in markets where their product is unavailable. Advertisers who can effectively in-stock target mitigate shopper frustration while allowing for their brands to obtain returns on their investments and form new loyalties.

Advertise Early and Often!

A recent Jungle Scout survey found that 55% of U.S. consumers expected to start holiday shopping before Thanksgiving this year. So many consumers are already actively hunting for holiday gifts fearing that products will start to sell out.

Smart advertisers are taking advantage by launching early-season campaigns to capture those eager holiday shoppers’ dollars now. They might not be unveiling Black Friday-like deals quite yet, but advertisers are starting to reward early shoppers with special deals and incentives. Any way to drive brand awareness early on is a must.

Up and coming brands that are unsure whether they have the resources to effectively advertise their products before the holidays should find a way to make it happen because the opportunity to gain considerable market share is too great not to.

Brands that can ensure product availability by the holidays this year have a huge competitive advantage — no matter how long they have been around for. Newer brands that aren’t already backlogged from ongoing supply chain issues are set up to thrive in this year’s holiday shopping market. These private labels are in a prime position to gain market share while shoppers aren’t finding products they’d typically buy on the shelves.

Elevate ‘Available by Christmas’ Messaging

Consumers are getting antsy — they realize they might not find everything they need in time. The last thing they want to do is order a holiday gift only to have it delivered weeks or even months later. If you can 100% guarantee to consumers that a particular product will be available by the holidays this year, be sure to make that product and that guarantee the focal point of messaging.

By promoting holiday availability front and center in advertisements, brands give consumers peace of mind knowing they won’t be taking any sort of risk by choosing to go with the brand. Brands lucky enough to be in a position to successfully deal with the current supply chain issues and deliver all their products on time should make it a top priority to ensure their audience is aware.

Advertising amid a global supply chain crisis can seem daunting, let alone during the peak holiday shopping season. But it can be done. Smart advertisers will get a jump on things now by sending the right messages to the right consumers at the right time. The chaos is already causing shoppers to open their minds about how and where to shop — it’s up to brands to deliver.