By all accounts, this year’s Black Friday was one of the most successful in a long time. Retail sales topped the charts at $9.8 billion, up 7.5 percent from last year. However, retailers shouldn’t pop the celebratory champagne just yet. Even with strong Black Friday and Cyber Monday showings, businesses must pull out all the stops to sustain momentum and capture more of the holiday shopping market.
This is no easy feat, even for the savviest retail marketers. Economic challenges like higher interest rates and increased credit card debt have left consumers with less discretionary income, forcing them to re-examine their shopping habits. Consumers are taking a much closer look at prices and discounts before making purchasing decisions, with one McKinsey survey finding that only 35 percent of Americans intend to splurge on gifts this holiday season.
The good news is that retailers have some extra time on their side. This year, Christmas falls on a Monday, giving consumers an extra weekend to buy last-minute gifts. They also have access to a wealth of technology and solutions designed to help them reach consumers and deliver a stellar shopping experience. Here’s how modern retailers can maximize these advantages:
1. Get targeted.
Back in 2021, retailers took a big hit when Apple updated its privacy policies and the majority of consumers began opting out of targeted tracking. Retailers had to figure out how to market to and connect with their target audiences without accessing key data collected by social media platforms. Since then, technology solutions have emerged that allow businesses to engage with their audiences while still keeping consumer privacy intact. By using anonymized data platforms, these technologies provide businesses with much-needed insights into how they can create the most impactful marketing campaigns — helping businesses big and small penetrate major social media platforms. For those retailers that continue to struggle with audience targeting, implementation of these solutions can go a long way in identifying and engaging with the right shoppers at the right time.
2. Make your data work for you.
Black Friday success doesn’t just mean increased sales; it also means that businesses can now access even more critical customer data. If you don’t have a dedicated data analytics team in place, don’t worry. There are a variety of data intelligence solutions that can provide businesses with an in-depth understanding of their customers — everything from shopping behavior to personalization needs to even suggested retention strategies. By harnessing data, businesses can dig deeper, understanding when and what consumers buy and their sensitivity to price and promotions.
3. Tap into the power of AI.
Artificial intelligence is quickly becoming ubiquitous, and the retail space is no exception. AI-powered technology can help retail businesses unlock value at so many points across the customer shopping journey, delivering personalized shopping experiences, predicting purchasing behavior, boosting customer engagement and retention, and more. AI is increasingly becoming a tool businesses can’t succeed without. In fact, more than 60 percent of business owners believe AI will improve both customer relationships and business profitability. Those who are making the most of AI this holiday season are poised to reap these benefits.
4. Get personal.
Today’s consumers overwhelmingly say they want their shopping experience to be personalized to their unique wants and needs. In fact, over 31 percent of consumers say that they wish their shopping experience was more personalized than it currently is. With the holiday shopping window a little longer this year, personalization becomes an even more important part of driving customer loyalty. Using customer knowledge and insights can help businesses make smarter decisions about how to best personalize marketing campaigns and promotions and hopefully turn recent holiday purchasers into repeat, long-term customers.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday may have come and gone, but retailers still have time to make a lasting impression on their customers before the holiday season is over for good. By embracing the plethora of technology solutions, businesses can significantly improve how well they understand and target key holiday shoppers. This will enable more data-driven decision making and impact that will help businesses rise to the top of the holiday shopping success list.
Alex Song is the founder and CEO and founder of Proxima, the data science company that leverages a proprietary database of anonymized consumer data to help brands better reach the right consumers across all major platforms.
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