Creative marketers can take this strategy to the next level by going above and beyond merely offering a discount and incentivizing their best customers with a memorable experience or special treatment. For example, an apparel retailer catering to the 18- to 24-year-old demographic might host elaborate after-hours events at stores located near college campuses the day after mid-terms or finals week to help students get a head start on their holiday shopping. The brand could choose to only grant access to verified college students. Connecting with consumers on a personal level builds customer loyalty and is one of the most effective ways to counteract showrooming.
A well-executed loyalty program is another way to form a personal connection with key customers. Many existing loyalty programs were developed in part as a method of collecting transactional data from customers. Now with more sophisticated technology available to aggregate and analyze the information, retailers can identify their most engaged customers and offer them real value.
Marketing tools are available from companies like Pursway that can not only help identify frequent shoppers, but also influencers and brand ambassadors by viewing data in a social context. Maintaining relationships with core customers is especially important during the holiday season, when new customer growth may spike as family members and friends buy gifts, but retailers may not actually be growing their primary customer base. Customers who have strong brand loyalty are less likely to turn to their smartphones to find reviews or compare prices when the time comes to purchase.
By using technology and big data to level the pricing playing field, connect on a personal level with consumers and sustain their existing core customer base, retailers can go into the holiday season with a significant competitive advantage. Retailers who embrace the role that big data plays in the new omnichannel marketplace will enjoy a very merry holiday season.