The official start to the holiday shopping season might still be three months away, but retail marketers everywhere are knee-deep in holiday cheer.
As we head into what promises to be another impressive holiday season for retail — and eCommerce in particular — what can you do to prepare?
Spread the (Data) Love This Holiday Season
As with everything else in the world of retail these days, pulling insights from your data will make all the difference for your marketing campaigns this holiday season.
Trends indicate that consumers are starting their holiday shopping earlier and earlier every year, so let’s look at how you can develop a data-backed marketing strategy for three critical times during the holiday shopping season.
1) Save Margins on Early Bird Shoppers
Black Friday has traditionally kicked off the holiday shopping season, but many consumers are starting to check off their shopping lists even before Thanksgiving starts — and there’s significant opportunity to drive revenue from these shoppers if you play your cards right.
To attract these early bird shoppers, find customers who made purchases just before your holiday sales started last year. These customers are likely more concerned with getting their holiday shopping out of the way, avoiding the mad rush of other holiday shoppers and making sure the gifts they want to buy don’t run out of stock, meaning they’re less worried about getting the best possible deal.
You can use this mindset to your advantage by targeting early bird shoppers with “save the headache” type messaging rather than a special holiday savings promotion. Holding the promotion will be important for this group, since they are likely all full price buyers. Even if you decide to offer something like free shipping to sweeten the deal, that will still decrease the margin your team has to give away compared to offering 15% or 20% off.
2) Deliver More Targeted Recommendations for Black Friday-Cyber Monday Shoppers
Consumers who shop during Black Friday-Cyber Monday are out for a deal — there’s no doubt about that — but that doesn’t mean you should treat all of these shoppers the same. In fact, because these shoppers are out for a deal, they’re likely browsing around with your competitors as well.
Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to stand out from the crowd. The best thing you can do is to look at these shoppers’ purchase history to understand the best lever to pull to help them find what they need and buy from you as opposed to the competition. To do so, try separating these shoppers into three different audiences:
- Those who only shop with you during the height of the holiday promo season. This group will likely require a sizable discount to buy.
- Those who only shop with you during key seasonal events (e.g. the holiday season, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, etc.). This group likely needs the most help with product discovery, so a well-placed gift guide can help seal the deal.
- Those who have yet to purchase or recently made their first purchase. This group is still getting to know your products, so promoting best sellers in their categories of interest can help give them a taste of what similar shoppers tend to buy.
3) Create a Sense of Urgency for December Holdout Shoppers
Finally, plenty of opportunities still exist to capture those consumers who “wait” until December to do their holiday shopping. Targeting this group requires something of a balancing act, as you need to create a sense of urgency (particularly as the end of December nears) while simultaneously letting them know that you still have plenty of inventory and you’re even releasing new products.
To entice these shoppers and simplify their search for the perfect holiday gifts, try adding special “gift guide” content blocks into all of your holiday emails. Showcasing your exclusive products (and highlighting the fact that shoppers can’t get them anywhere else, even if Amazon or big box retailers carry some of your products) can also help push people to buy from you as opposed to someone else.
Prepare for an Extended Holiday Shopping Season
As you prepare your holiday marketing strategy, keep in mind that the holiday shopping season is poised to extend longer than ever — starting even before Thanksgiving and ending right before Christmas.
Because the holiday shopping season has become so long, it’s important to keep your content fresh by changing up your recommendation strategy to avoid the fatigue that comes with shoppers seeing the same products over and over again. Different product recommendation strategies to try include:
- Best sellers within specific categories
- Cross-category promotion
- Co-purchase recommendations
- Top trending products