Forget the Sale! Where’s the Loyalty in Holiday Shopping?
The holidays are on a fast-and-furious pace to smash head-on into our collective shopping carts.
And there’s no better time for your bottom line than the holidays to hit the “sale” button and get people to take your inventory off your hands. Am I right? But what about the mind-set of your current, loyal shoppers? Is the BOGO or percentage discount enough these days to keep those loyalists happy? Don’t you think you should give them something more than the cheap date being offered by that other, new site they just saw for the first time?
The experience design team at marketing technology agency Verndale looked at both statistics and loyalty program metrics and pulled the following three highly influential data points:
- Thirty-three percent of consumers sign up for a loyalty program immediately following a purchase on that device. (Source: Nielsen)
- Millennials are 2.2 times more willing than boomers to pay a premium for products and services if they can also earn loyalty and rewards points. (Source: Bond Loyalty Report)
- Brands that spend more on customer retention drive over 200 percent higher chance of growing their market share. (Source: Forbes/Sailthru)
Not at all surprising to us is that mobility, millennials and fluidly connected loyalty programs drive significant returns on marketing spend if done in a way that allows the consumer to make both heart and mind decisions in the same transaction.
So, how do you capitalize on the experiences driving increased revenue or return on investment while retaining loyal shoppers?
Be Here Now
Whether you’re a brick-and-mortar or online retailer (or both), it doesn’t matter to the shopper, provided they feel like their pain points are being immediately addressed. If your offering doesn’t seamlessly connect from back-office (corporate IT) to in-store to mobile, you’re behind the Magic 8 Ball of guessing whether your customer stays with you during the holidays. Not having it seamlessly connected when they want it where they are? Well, that’s just the perfect storm of losing your customer to the competition.
Here’s a common challenge organizations face: In-store, unless you’re somehow manually capturing information, your centralized reporting tool has no clue what shoppers are browsing, but you obviously know what they’re buying at the point of sale. However, in an online experience, you get the benefit of knowing (at the very least) a click path for browsing and the data on purchases. Connecting the two is the key, and it allows you to market specifically to each type of consumer — i.e., a persona or profile card.
Steals and Deals
As a loyal holiday shopper for a very select number of brands, I pay attention to the deals that are generally offered throughout the season. However, when a brand goes out of its way to tell me that I’m getting a special deal due to my existing loyalty — and I can validate that through online research — I feel like I’m being treated in a more custom, personalized way, which obviously makes me much more likely to purchase.
For marketers that aren’t as advanced in using data to their advantage, imagine if you sweeten that deal based on what you already know the customer does, how she does it and when she's willing to pull the trigger. That’s when you see the “2.2 times more willing” scenario.
Wrapping it Up
Having a solid strategic approach to social shopping, influencer marketing and sale pricing is great, but some of the data points that help drive consistency and relevancy in your offers when using behavioral analytics and marketing automation that organizations don’t connect very well include the following:
- Attributes for existing shopper data: Get your loyal customers to complete their profiles by offering them loyalty currency. Once they give you this explicit data, you’re on your way to a level of specificity that’s truly channel agnostic.
- Annualized shopper behavior against short-term deals: How many times do we collect data and not use it? The answer is way too much. Run aggregate reports on a quarter-to-quarter cadence and plan to hit those deals with data.
- Create an equitable sales approach: According to Sitecore, 42 percent of an organization’s total sales come from online channels, but only 14 percent of the online sales budget is dedicated to a digital customer experience. Let’s try to change that to be more equitable. Use your budget for loyalty currency or enhancements to the loyalty experience.
Holiday loyalty is about being ahead of, and in most cases, more clever than the competition. The only way to do so is to pay attention to and engage with the data you have in your possession.
Once you find the key insights or observations that play to the right profile, it won’t matter if you disseminate the tactics to online or in-store; they’ll both pay off and keep your loyal customers happy.
Keith LaFerriere is executive vice president, chief experience officer at Verndale.
Keith LaFerriere is the SVP, chief experience officer at Verndale. From creative director to UX thought leader and back again, Keith has taken on just about every industry since he began creating and exploring in the 'digital' world over 18 years ago. At Verndale, he works across all accounts and is responsible for the creative and user experience practices.