The holidays are a big season for retailers, and every marketer is looking for a new, omnichannel way to drive sales. Some recent reports brought up a few data points that might help guide new strategies:
- NetElixer predicts a 10 percent increase in e-commerce sales this holiday season, but that’s down 1 percent from an 11 percent increase in 2016.
- Spending with Amazon.com will jump from 30 percent in 2016 to 34 percent in 2017.
- Fifty-five percent of shoppers are already in research mode before October — i.e., right now — according to the National Retail Federation's (NRF) 2017 Retail Playbook.
So how can you react to consumer behaviors and compete with Amazon to come out on top this holiday season? Let’s look at a few innovative ways to drive revenue this year:
Take a Closer Look at On-Site Data
It’s easy to get caught up in website data behavior points like add-to-cart and time on site. However, the trouble with data is that it’s only as smart as the questions it’s asked. If you’re not asking the right questions, you might not be getting the right data insights. With the right martech vendor, insights into the entirety of prospect and customer journeys become available, and you can ask big-picture questions about each. Starting the review process now will give you a leg up on the competition ahead of the holiday season. You’ll identify your top prospects to target in order to drive more conversions.
Start Using Holiday Messaging Now
A favorite insight of mine from NRF: Last year, just 31 percent of retailers were sending holiday-related emails in October, even though 41 percent of consumers said they were researching holiday purchases. Many retailers leverage words like “Holiday” in email campaigns during the month of November and December, but neglect to test the same language during September and October, which are also prime shopping months. For agile marketers ready to change gears at the drop of the hat, this is a prime opportunity to respond ahead of the competition and win the sale over Amazon.
Drive ROI With Your Best New Prospects
If you’ve invested in paid search efforts, your web traffic is likely soaring during the holiday season. However, are you making the most of that traffic? With the latest technology, you can identify your anonymous web visitors through identity resolution, enabling you to reach out to prospects that didn’t initially convert on your website with personalized marketing communications responding to the specific product and category the prospect showed interest in — ideally resulting in prospects with a higher propensity to convert. Before the holiday season enters full swing, it’s a great time to test new technology at scale to see what type of response and revenue you can garner.
Think About Customer Loyalty … Now
It’s important to focus on customers you don’t have, but that doesn’t mean you should forget about the customers you do have. Your existing customers are a great place to start for holiday marketing — you’ve already won them over. Target them with personalized communications and offers encouraging them to act now rather than later. You can also hold several different types of sales for loyal customers. The first is a loyal customers-only holiday flash sale. Send out communications via direct mail or email and include a special discount code. This will make customers feel like brand insiders. Another is a one-day, pre-holiday sale that can keep your brand top of mind in addition to giving it a jump start on holiday sales. Amazon may be able to deliver faster, but if you take advantage of creating personalized communications and timing them correctly, you’ll get to the sale first.
Leverage Direct Mail … And Send Customers to the Right Place
Smart, effective direct mail requires not only smart data from online activity, but the right steps in place to reach out to top prospects and customers in a timely manner with customized messaging. The holiday season doesn’t change that, however, it does bring a new opportunity to the table. During the holiday season, you have the chance to test where you’re sending prospects via your direct mail efforts. Aside from sending a customer to the ever-popular homepage, why not send them to the web page of the product category they’ve already been browsing? Because of cutting-edge identity resolution technology, this intelligence is at your fingertips.
The 2017 holiday season will bring its own challenges and opportunities. This year, make sure you take ownership of your customers and prospects, tailoring your holiday messages to them in a personal, timely way while ensuring your brand comes out ahead of Amazon.
Andrew Fegley is the president of Remarketable, a a proprietary, privacy-compliant, multichannel communications and optimization platform.
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