With the holiday season officially here, stores — both physical and digital — are doing the hard work of placing the right products, at the right time, in front of customers at the right price to motivate the sale. It’s boom or bust season for business owners, but businesses must remember it can be stressful financially difficult time for shoppers.

During the holidays, buyers make more discretionary purchases than at any other time of the year. Whether it’s extra decorations to make the house just a little bit more festive, that sought-after gift that will make their kids’ Christmas extra special or an extra something for the Angel Tree at work, buyers are constantly having to make decisions about what they will and will not buy. In many cases, this comes down to whether or not they can afford the item in question, but it also has to do with you, your brand and your brand values.

To help make sure your products and brands are in the mix, it’s important to make sure that you are marketing with the consumer decision-making process in mind. Align your marketing efforts with your customers by realizing what goes into that process this time of year:

Get Ready to Re-Market

With so much discretionary spending going on, it makes sense to think that buyers are going to be comparing prices, discounts, sales and anything else that’s going to impact the amount of money they end up spending.

Chances are, buyers were interested in your product at one time, but walked away because the price just wasn’t what they were looking for, they just weren’t ready, or they couldn’t justify the purchase based on the other buying decisions they were making. But what if you could change that? You can with remarketing tools.

It’s simple: customers who shop online leave a digital footprint. Sometimes it’s browsing through an online account. Sometimes it comes in the form of cookies. Either way, invite your customers to come back by sending them coupons and discounts through their account or through email. Oftentimes, this little nudge will be all that’s needed to get them back and buying through you.

Display Reviews

The last thing a customer wants to do is throw good money away on a product that doesn’t work, doesn’t fit or just isn’t enjoyable to use. This is where online customer reviews shine. Research has shown that one of the biggest factors that go into a customer’s decision-making process is whether or not there are reviews available, and what they say if there are.

If you aren’t already prominently inviting and then displaying customer reviews, you are potentially missing out on a lot of activity at your digital storefront. People might pop in and browse, but with no assurances that what they are looking at is worth the money they will most likely leave and go somewhere else — somewhere that does offer those assurances.

Don’t let this happen. Use customer reviews to your advantage.

Don’t Double-Dip

Many customers report frustration when they get advertisements and discount offers for products they’ve already purchased. Not only is it a waste of everyone’s time, but it shows that the website in question isn’t even really paying attention. Blanketing your promotions while ignoring your customer’s histories is a quick way for them to feel unnoticed and unappreciated. Plus, it makes them feel like they’ve spent more money than they should have, which is never a good feeling.

Instead, use adaptive, smart marketing tools to make sure you’re effectively hitting only customers who are still in the market for those particular items. Don’t waste time and energy — and customer goodwill — by trying to sell to those who have already bought!

Be Authentic With Customers

Customers can spot a phony storefront or advertisement right away. When they click on your page and see nothing but an obvious stock photo or write up that was cut-and-pasted from the manufacturer, that tells them that you don’t care about their experience. Express who your business is, why you are here, and what you care about – and write it with deep consideration for the customer’s point of view.

Be authentic. Take the time to craft your own photos, videos and stories. Develop your own promotions that are built around your brand’s shared values. This provides a more authentic, transparent experience for your customers that they will appreciate and remember down the road when it comes time to shop again.

Make That Holiday Connection

During this time of year, people know that they’re going to spend money. They’re okay with that. However, they want to do it as wisely as possible in a way that makes them feel like they are honoring the season and the softer values fore which it stands.

Craft your brands, products and promotions to reflect those values. Make sure your customers understand that you share their values and want to get the same thing out of this holiday season. Be open and honest about what matters to you and your company — that honesty will be returned and appreciated!

As you go into the holidays this year, keep in mind that you customers are looking for real, authentic experiences. By marketing to those and remembering the reason for all of those purchases, you can be sure to build long-lasting relationships that will continue well after this season is over.