If you are working in retail, eCommerce, CPG and adjacent industries, the next few months could make or break your bottom line based on historical statistics. Last year, holiday sales alone accounted for 20% of retail industry revenue.
With the stakes that high, it’s important to make sure you’re reaching target customers with the right holiday marketing and offers. Aiming your messages in the wrong direction, or failing to keep up with today’s fast-evolving retail buyers, could mean your brand gets lost in the noisy, competitive chaos of Peak season.
If you’re a retailer who relies on a successful holiday season to hit your annual goals, then the bulk of your Peak planning and strategy should already be in place and ready to launch. However, there is still time for some last-minute updates to maximize your Peak strategy. Here are four key areas to focus on:
1. Pivotal Peak Personalization Prep
There’s no denying the impact personalization has on maximizing marketing effectiveness and customer relationship development. As brands deepen their focus on delivering exceptional customer experiences, personalization has become essential to improve relevance, drive conversions and build loyalty.
This year, marketers face two particularly large personalization challenges:
- The quality and thoroughness of personalization.
Peak is a great time to distinguish your brand by serving up customized experiences based on individual purchase history, content consumption, behavioral signals, demographic data and more. Your messages will get noticed amongst the batch-and-blast look and feel that many brands resort to during this time of year.
- Learning to scale Peak communications.
If you know enough about a customer’s preferences, personality, and environment, it’s easy to craft a compelling personalized experience for them. But retail marketers aren’t marketing to just one person—they’re marketing to audiences in the hundreds of millions. When messaging volume is at its peak during the holidays, the key to standing out in the crowd is making each individual customer feel like the experience they receive was made just for them.
How do you balance the competing needs of comprehensive personalization and wide-scale, high-volume Peak campaigns? The answer usually lies in a combination of:
- Robust technical infrastructure capable of processing the constant flood of consumer signal data and deploying complex campaigns to enormous audiences
- An exhaustive source of individual customer data
- Cutting-edge automation capabilities managed with empathetic AI
2. Channeling Communication Based on Customer Choice
Your customers are thinking, acting, and buying on a broader selection of devices every day. It’s important that you’re there to engage and support them wherever they go if you want to be the brand-of-choice this holiday and beyond.
More and more, consumers are turning to their phones first to make a purchase. Mobile is now driving 60% of eCommerce traffic. Additionally, “Seventy-one percent of shoppers use mobile devices in-store to read reviews, make purchases and other behaviors.”
For comparison, about 34% of holiday eCommerce last year was mobile-driven. While many consumers were doing real-time product research and price comparison in stores last year, that proportion was 11% less heading into Peak season.
3. Leveraging Location-Based Marketing through Geographic Data
More geographic data is available to marketers than ever before in terms of where and how customers prefer to interact with brands. Turning that information into incredible, on-the-spot conversion opportunities or priceless insights to inform and optimize an overall marketing strategy is game-changing.
The holiday season creates a unique opportunity for retail marketers to act on location data. No other time of year has so many people flocking to specific retail locations, offering remarkable opportunities to influence critical buying moments on a broad scale.
Here are some creative ways to take advantage of location data during the holidays:
- Send SMS exclusive offers to consumers waiting in line outside the mall on Black Friday.
- Serve up customized Facebook ads to customers asking for product advice from their network at a competing big-box store.
- Gather location-based data to customize email marketing campaigns that will increase open rates and drive conversion.
- Use to see where customers go and customize experiences accordingly.
- Offer hybrid online/offline experiences where customers make hassle-free digital orders and are directed to the nearest store through geolocation to pick up their purchase.
One caveat: beware of the “creepy” factor. It’s one thing to provide hyper-relevant experiences to customers, but no one likes feeling watched. Even generous offers and exceptional messaging can be spoiled if you take it too far.
4. Engaging with Your Most Loyal Customers
The long-term impact your holiday marketing can have on existing customers often goes overlooked during Peak planning. While most holiday marketing campaigns are aimed at attracting new customers and developing brand awareness, the holidays are also the perfect time to recognize and reward existing customers for their loyalty and value as brand ambassadors.
The top 5% of loyal customers are responsible for 60% of revenue on average, and it’s all too easy to alienate them by giving all your attention toward luring new clientele.
Consider the following stats:
- 2/3 of retail shoppers get annoyed when a brand they’re loyal to offers exclusive discounts to new customers
- 53% of loyal retail customers feel irritated when they hear about a promotion secondhand
- 28% expect more than discounts—they want VIP experiences like access to new products before they hit shelves
If you’re not engaging loyal customers throughout the holiday, you’re leaving a wide-open window for competitors to get their attention and draw them away.
The Holiday Clock is Ticking
The most important season for retailers is here, and time is running out to make last-minute updates before the chaos of the shopping season ensues. It’s not too late to make some of these minor adjustments that will translate into a major impact on your bottom line. Join Zeta Global throughout the holiday season as we explore how brands can leverage customer behavior to connect with consumers at this crucial time of year–and go on to build lucrative, long-lasting relationships.