Like the holiday shoppers they want to attract, retailers, too, can often lose track of time or procrastinate when it comes to creating promotional initiatives. But there's still time for retailers wanting to take advantage of what may be the most lucrative holiday season in history to design and deploy campaigns, according to omnichannel engagement experts at
This year's holiday retail revenues will total $885 billion, according to
-up 5.7% from 2014. "
That's a crazy boatload of money being spent in a short amount of time," said Vidya Chadaga, director of product marketing for Marketo. "Starting early isn't necessarily an option [now], but it's still a good idea to get a plan in order, whether you have a day to plan or a year to plan."
Segment to sell
Almost three-quarters (74%) of consumers are annoyed or frustrated by irrelevant offers, Chadaga said in a recent webinar presented with Cory Pierson, co-founder of retention-marketing platform Custora, and using data to segment by lifestyle, persona, demographics, and behavior can help target offers better. "Access the data and use it to your advantage," she said. "The key is to segment your customers into chunks that are definable and actionable. The more you segment, the more relevant your marketing will be."
Shoe marketer Crocs recently wanted to tap people early in the brand-affinity life cycle to drive second and third purchases, Pierson said. Targeting people who had bought before and those likely to buy again, the company tested an email campaign to these groups and people having zero recorded affinity. A/B testing revealed that customers who had already bought from Crocs converted three times as often and produced twice the revenues as those with no affinity, while those with "predicted" affinity converted 2.7 times as often and spent 2.5 times as much.
Another Custora client, a prominent e-commerce apparel brand, segmented by customers' "closet," looking at what customers had bought over time. Thinking that its jeans were the big draw and accessories only add-on sales, the brand was surprised to find that there was a segment of customers who shopped the site for accessories alone.
"Instead of focusing on an outfit, they started tailoring their campaigns to those preferences, and had fantastic results," Pierson said.
Targeting and retargeting previous customers often yields bottom-line and longer-term benefits, the speakers added. Previous buyers appreciate thank yous, VIP discounts, event invitations, and limited-edition items.
"Reward loyalty," Chadaga said. "Make your best customers feel special this season. Help make them an evangelist of your brand."
Switching up offers
Marketers should know at the outset what the offers will be, on which channels they will appear and how to track success.
"Keep your goals in mind before you create your offers," Chadaga said, noting that "FOMO" can be a powerful motivator. "This is why buyers act quickly when they see an offer isn't going to last long. Research shows that buyers are more likely to act upon potential loss than benefit. I'm not a psychologist, but it seem that gains are fleeting, while losses linger."
Likewise, retailers will miss out if they throw in the towel after Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
"A lot of brands worry that they're going to miss out on Black Friday, and there is a lot of truth to that," Pierson said. "But what's really interesting is that if you add up the orders between Cyber Monday and the end of the holiday season, there are a whole lot-there are a lot of last-minute shoppers."
Take a lesson from Bonobos, he said, and change up offers frequently based on your segments' circumstances. The multichannel men's basics retailer offered 30% off on Cyber Monday in 2014, then adjusted its creative to encourage shoppers who missed out on that offer to hurry up and buy with another 30%-off offer. "Use dynamic content to keep hammering away," Chadaga said. "Work with the creative team to make sort of a handcrafted email that meets the needs of the segments in your customer base."
Multi-product ads and email modules can keep content dynamic. Backcountry.com recently tinkered with its email promotions to put more products in front of potential buyers, switching up offers between multi-product "module" emails and messages featuring a single, strong product shot.
There's more to promotion than email, though. "Make sure the campaign is everywhere the audience is," Chadaga said. "Target customers based on the channel they prefer. But don't forget that you have to measure. Things you might want to measure are new names, what channel worked, clicks to your site. This year is a great year to start benchmarking."
And don't be afraid to try something new or a little bit off-the-wall in targeting holiday shoppers with content and offers.
"If you have fun thinking about personalized content for your audience, it's going to pay off," Chadaga said. "Remember, it's not B-to-C or B-to-B, it's B-to-H. You're communicating with a human."