The holidays offer a big gift to the enterprise retail marketer - customer data.The volume of shopping done during this time can benefit brands throughout the whole year, not just in Q4 revenue. However, the challenge is sorting through the explosive amounts of customer data to find the most relevant pieces you need to leverage to optimize both your customer's experience and your bottom line.
As consumers prepare for holiday gift giving, analysts are forecasting the top trends for 2017. The National Retail Federation (NRF) is forecasting 2017 holiday sales to increase between 3.6-4% in November and December which is a happy medium between eMarketer's conservative prediction of 3.1% growth and PwC's bright forecast of 6% growth vs. the 2016 holiday season.
This universal predicted growth is great news for any retail brand, but when sorting through how to grab their share of wallet a more detailed approach to understanding customer behavior is key. For example, PwC reports that:
- Generation Z wants tangible gifts and will look to Instagram (57%) for inspiration
- Millenials want to travel and will bring their mobile technology in-store to buy
- Baby Boomers and Generation X want gift cards and will shop in stores (81%)
With such a wide variety of customers and customer interaction preferences, and the need to compete for those precious holiday sales, marketers are turning to ways to bring together siloed customer data into a single source of truth. But how?
Enter the Customer Data Platform (CDP)
A CDP is a marketer-controlled system that unifies data into a single customer view. It enables brands to consolidate data into one clean system of record, and enables marketers to interact with prospects and customers in a relevant, personalized way (and to harness the potential of the holiday season and the large volumes and opportunities it brings). At one end of the CDP spectrum you have technology that only helps you build a unified, shareable customer database. These basic CDPs are OK for small, digital-only brands. But for brands with many channels of customer interaction and physical data from stores, they require CDPs on the other end of the spectrum, with features such as advanced identity management, offline data support, predictive analytics, segmentation, multi-channel campaigns, real time interactions, advanced analytics, and high scalability - and all of these can be leveraged for holiday campaigns.
AgilOne is the CDP of choice for enterprise B2C brands because it provides unparalleled configurabiliy, scalability, and supports real-time use cases. AgilOne runs on distributed processors that allow fast scaling to meet peak demands on days like Black Friday. Thanks to horizontal scaling, AgilOne adapts to the data volumes; this puts you in a prepared position to leverage all the large amounts of data collected during the holiday season for orchestrated personalized promotions and messaging across web, mobile, in-store and social channels. Here are some examples of the campaigns you can execute to delight your loyal shoppers and grow your customer base.
Start early and delight your loyal shoppers
The best holiday strategy begins before the real holiday sales. Your loyal shoppers are most likely waiting for the deals to drop, but you can get their purchases before the holidays with an early access campaign. A great example of this campaign comes from AgilOne customer, DAVIDsTEA. They have a holiday advent calendar of tea every year, and they wanted to optimize sales so that they would produce enough to meet demands, but not produce so much that they would have to over-discount. Here are the steps DAVIDsTEA followed:
- Leverage customer data and behavioral analytics to identify their most loyal, high value shoppers.
- Send an exclusive early access promotion to allow them to purchase the tea advent calendar first with a special thank you note.
- Measure the sales from the initial promotion to guide production and release the calendar to the rest of their customer base.
The benefit of a promotion like this is that you are able to preserve margin, gain early holiday sales, leverage the data to guide production, and - most importantly - delight customers.
Personalize your campaign easily
With a Customer Data Platform you can easily pull from historical data and create segments of customers that would be driven to make a purchase with similar messaging, enabling ultra-targeted personalization. Here are some examples of what you can do with a CDP like AgilOne:
- Identify customers who shop at your brand regularly. Target these customers with a campaign that drives them to consider sharing their love for the brand with their family and friends by doing a bundling promotion (e.g., buy 3 get 1 free) with messaging of "Our gift to you *customer* is to help you send your family some love from us this holiday season."
- Identify customers who always shop around the holidays and whom you know (based off of their order history and behavioral analytics) are gifters. Offer them a campaign like the one above to drive them to buy for themselves and their loved ones. Since they are gifters already, you are leveraging that knowledge to entice them to buy with you for the value, not just the sale.
- Segment customers based on how much they spent on gifts last year so that you know how much they’re ready to spend for their holiday presents this year and you can send different holiday campaigns based on this. For example, you can understand which customers are looking for product recommendations for the office secret Santa versus the customer looking for a large gift for a loved one.
Personalizing based off of the customer's historical purchase data and behavior is a great way to provide a more genuine message during the holidays. It also allows you to preserve margin where you can.
Right message, to the right person, at the right time
We already covered starting your campaigns early, but with a CDP, you can analyze when people start to shop for the holidays based on historical data. You can even segment customers by when they started browsing the website, predicting when they will start buying. You can optimize your email frequency and content to these segments. It also allows you to capture the attention of your discount junkies and your early aficionados who have specific products in mind and are willing to pay full price.
On top of that, a CDP enables you to retarget those segments during the holiday season with the right amount of discount. With AgilOne, you can understand the average amount of revenue and discount per customer at a granular level in real-time. Leverage this to make sure you are using a data-driven approach with holiday offers to customers.