In a mad dash to beat sales goals from the year prior, retailers across the globe are revving the engines of their holiday strategies.
According to research conducted by Monetate, 67 percent of companies that don’t hit their multiyear Black Friday average will fail to hit their multiyear rest of the holiday season average. Additionally, the data — which was compiled from 2013-2016 based on more than 11 million purchases — found that the higher sales are during Cyber Week, the higher sales will be for the remainder of the holiday season.
However, a brand’s holiday success starts long before the November and December shopping rush. The National Retail Federation (NRF) reports that more than half of holiday shoppers start researching potential purchases in October or earlier. Brands that focus energy solely on the weeks after Thanksgiving are missing out on a huge sales opportunity, and while it might be too late to refocus their 2017 strategy, there’s always next year.
With that in mind, here are four simple tips brands of all shapes, sizes and experience levels can follow for repeated holiday season success:
1. Set attainable goals.
It’s vital that retailers consider data from the year prior when determining their success metrics for the current shopping season. Brands that are embarking on their first holiday season must think realistically about what they want to accomplish based on industry trends from the year prior, and then set stretch goals that their teams can work towards. Regardless of whether it’s their first holiday season or hundredth, a brand’s overall holiday strategy will fall apart without solid goals in place.
2. Pay attention to size for cross-channel promotions.
eMarketer’s 2017 holiday report found that U.S. retail e-commerce sales jumped 17.8 percent in 2016. With consumers shopping online more and more — and across multiple devices — brands must use screen real estate thoughtfully and ensure promotional messages and creative elements are appropriately sized to fit every device in order to maximize visibility. Offerings and content should be updated to fit each individual channel (mobile, desktop, etc.) and be easily adapted to transition across devices for a seamless experience.
3. Personalize the user experience.
Retailers should personalize each customer interaction based on the information they have on shoppers — even if they’re brand new customers. For returning visitors, data on purchase history and preferences is particularly useful when crafting targeted messages and offerings. For new visitors, brands should look to information like referral sites, demographics, location and even weather to personalize experiences. Doing so can turn new customers into loyal, repeat visitors.
4. Embrace various payment methods.
If retailers want to create a stress-free checkout process, they must offer popular third-party payment options, like PayPal, Apple Pay and Android Pay. Ensuring that customers can easily and securely pay from any device and in any form they want will create a simpler and more efficient shopping experience.
With retail competition fiercer than ever and consumers demanding more out of their shopping experiences, it’s essential that brands have sound holiday strategies in place. With these tips and an eye towards areas for improvement year-round, retailers will be able to meet — and even exceed — their goals year after year.
Brett Bair is principal strategist at Monetate, an optimization and personalization platform.
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