It’s no secret the holidays are the busiest time of year for retail shopping. The National Retail Federation estimates holiday sales to reach $730 billion during November and December this year. That’s more than the U.S. has spent on the entire NASA space program.
With earning potential at an all-time-high this holiday season, some businesses still struggle to maximize marketing opportunities with their customers. By utilizing sufficient marketing strategies, gathering consumer data, collecting consent and prioritizing the consumer, businesses can go from better to best in sales this holiday season.
Tech the Halls
Holiday cheer means the potential for profit is here, and shoppers aren't wasting time. While e-commerce shopping continues to grow in popularity and convenience, many shoppers are expected to ditch crowded shopping malls and do their buying from the comfort of their homes. According to an eMarketer.com study, consumers are expected to spend $586.92 billion in online shopping by the end of 2019.
With the potential to reach new customer groups in the online market, it is important to practice marketing strategies that are compelling, captivating, and leave the consumer wanting more. To maximize profit potential, there are several practices to keep in mind.
First and foremost, focus on customer experience. Personalizing the customer’s online shopping journey beyond a standard “Hi, first name” email template could just be the difference between a closed sale or an abandoned shopping cart. Email marketing is a great way to make real connections with customers that distinguish one retailer from another. Collecting data on customers and their shopping patterns will allow for more accurate product suggestions that the customer will actually use (i.e.gift ideas, search history and more).
Moreover, companies should consider establishing an effective company blog or other educational content that is both entertaining yet informative. Creating content that offers real value to the consumer and shares the culture or messaging of the company can prompt customers to purchase products or services included in the content.
Lastly, build brand awareness by prioritizing digital marketing. By collecting consumer data, consent and customer preferences, companies can maximize their profit potential during the holidays. Understanding what customers want and how they want to be marketed to allows for stronger communication and long-term customer relationships.
Dashing Through the Data
Many marketers assume holiday shopping trends are straightforward: holiday shopping + holiday discounts = increase in sales. However, what some businesses tend to neglect is the data that goes beyond profit. Tracking customer data to figure out what your customers want can be more valuable to achieving life-long customers.
Preference management: the collection, maintenance, and distribution of consumer preferences and characteristics (i.e product interest) encourage customers to engage with you throughout their customer journey. By better analyzing and understanding data provided by customers, marketers can better understand how to enhance and strengthen the customer-facing relationship.
According to a holiday shopping and preference collection survey, 36% of businesses are not actively collecting customer preference data. However, data can bridge the gap between a business and their shoppers. According to Forbes.com, brands with superior customer service bring in 5.7 times more revenue than competitors that struggle with customer satisfaction. The proof is in the pudding, providing more refined customer experiences through preference collection keeps customers coming back.
Making Spirits Bright
While obtaining customer data can be extremely beneficial to a business, it is crucial to safeguard that data so that customers’ information is protected and secure within all systems.
Time and time again many of today’s largest companies with significant marketing budgets have had privacy breaches, forfeiting the trust of their customers.
Therefore, many countries have or are in the process of implementing consumer data privacy regulations such as GDPR and CCPA. It’s important to understand what rights these new regulations provide customer’s and to be able to comply with those rights. Existing rights include:
- Right to data access
- Right to data deletion
- Right to object to data processing
- Disclosure of information collected or sold
- Right to opt-out and more
Adhering to global privacy rules and regulations helps build customer trust. Utilizing best practices, recording customer preferences and data, acting on results, and protecting privacy are all key factors in keeping your business on the nice list this season.
Eric Tejeda is the Director of Marketing for PossibleNOW. Eric drives the organization’s growth objectives by launching new products and services, promoting thought leadership, building awareness and nurturing leads. Eric believes the key to success in the post-digital age is being able to Listen, Remember and Respond to prospects and customers and has deployed a marketing technology stack to support that approach. Active in community and industry organizations, Eric recently served on the American Marketing Association Board of Directors.