Why Agility is the Key to Success This Holiday Season
The resilience of retailers, both big and small, has been on full display this year. Faced with stay-at-home orders that limited shopping in physical stores, retailers upgraded their websites and mobile apps to handle more traffic. In addition, they launched new services like curbside pickup. While we’ve unfortunately heard numerous reports of businesses having to close their doors due to these immense challenges, millions of Americans have also launched new businesses. The ability to change quickly and adapt to new realities is what has allowed retailers to weather the unpredictability of this pandemic.
And just as retailers are finally figuring out how to survive, the holiday shopping season is upon us. Arriving earlier, thanks to shipping and supply chain concerns as well as large retailers offering discounts (e.g., Prime Day), this holiday season will be make or break for many. With fears of a second surge of COVID cases and new stay-at-home orders as well as uncertainty around finances and shipping, retailers need to be agile to not only survive but thrive this holiday season.
Let’s dive into a few ways retailers can stay agile and succeed this holiday season:
1. Build loyalty, one text, email and push notification at a time.
Every opportunity to engage with your customers is a chance to create value. Use a mix of customer insights, including loyalty data, past purchases and engagement, to surprise and delight customers in real time. One way to accomplish this is through A/B testing your emails. Use data to identify opportunities to take a little bit of stress out of the already stressful holiday season. Look for differences in customer behavior such as purchases in a new location, and make notes of ways to simplify shopping such as notifications for out-of-stock items.
For example, if you have a customer looking for the latest Mandalorian toy that happens to be out of stock on your website, email the customer as soon as the toy is back in stock. You can even suggest in the same email a few other in-stock toys that make great stocking stuffers. The customer adds the toys to the cart in a mobile app and selects standard shipping. Anticipating shipping delays, a pop-up within the app might suggest free curbside pickup instead. The customer arrives in the parking lot of the store. The toys are ready for pickup with free gift boxes included.
2. Offer more than just discounts; offer value.
Consumers love a good deal. In fact, 66 percent of consumers say offers top the list of preferred email communications from brands. Use offers as another way to be agile and offer value. For example, an auto shop owner sees that the first snow of the season is expected in three days. He sends an email to customers who haven't already gotten snow tires, encouraging them to make an appointment to get snow tires and offering a 15 percent off coupon for the tires that work best for their car if they come in today. The email is tailored to each customer with a list of recommended snow tires (based on the make and model of the car as well as what’s in stock), making the process of getting new tires a little easier.
Or take a small kitchenware store that has a customer place an order for a pot and checks out with curbside pickup. As the customer arrives to pick up the pot, the manager of the store can send the customer a text message with a discount code for a lid that complements the pot — which also happens to be in stock! The customer, seeing the text, adds the lid to their cart, and the pot and lid are both delivered via contactless delivery.
3. Make room in your plans for change, especially when it comes to email.
Content in your emails may change, but one thing you should try to do is to plan out campaign schedules in advance. Spikes in email communications could prevent your messages from getting delivered. With a plan, you can adjust and scale up the frequency of emails as needed without triggering any red flags with your ISP.
Sunil Menon is the senior director of product marketing for Adobe Target and Adobe Campaign, Adobe’s customer journey management and personalization applications as part of Adobe’s Digital Experience business.
Sunil Menon oversees global product marketing for Adobe Campaign and Adobe Target - Adobe’s Customer Journey Management and Personalization solutions as part of Adobe’s Digital Experience business. Sunil leads a team of product marketers working closely with cross-functional teams at Adobe to drive GTM strategy, messaging and positioning that helps identify new market opportunities and grow Adobe’s cross channel campaign orchestration and real-time personalization business.
Sunil has over 20 years of experience working in various product management, marketing and general management roles related to digital experience management and other marketing technologies. Sunil joined Adobe from OpenText where he led Product Management and Strategy for Digital Experience. Prior to that he was the WW Head for the Digital Experience Management business at HP Software.