Prep Yourself for The Holidays: How to Enhance Your Customers’ Shopping Experience
Black Friday is just around the corner, and with it an increased need to better identify and treat your holiday-shoppers. How should you win their attention? Entice them. Here are some ideas
Lately, I have been participating in a lot of conversations around how customers should be targeted and with what offers. The conversations focus on which offers are most effective on specific customer segments and how marketers can save money by identifying customers who only return during the holiday season, but don’t stick around for much longer – causing an actual negative ROI for the business in the long-run.
While offering discounts during the holiday season is accepted and implemented by many, some companies are using a different method to prepare their customers for the holiday shopping.
Let’s start out by saying that curiosity goes a long way. Yes… it did kill the cat, but within the marketing industry, it has proven to be an efficient and cost-effective way of getting through the holiday season. Here are some examples of how companies used simple customer curiosity to promote their brand:
Take Black Friday, for example. Most brands publish their deals either the day of, or the day before Black Friday. As a consumer, I can attest to the fact that this practice drives me crazy! I’m a planner, and the only way I know how to plan my shopping spree is by knowing what’s available, at what price and where.
This is where the teaser comes into play….
Two or three days before Black Friday and before customers are bombarded with Black Friday emails and campaigns from other brands, consider sending your customers a teaser campaign. The campaign template should be the same coloring, creative, and type of wording as the main Black Friday campaign so that customers (on the day of Black Friday) can easily recognize your brand’s campaign. This will make your campaign stand out, since your customers will already know what to look for.
Timing is key since we don’t want to send the campaign out too early (to prevent customers from holding out on shopping until Black Friday), but also leave enough time before the commercial holiday, so customers know what they are looking for and remember to shop with your brand.
As for the content, it’s up to you how much you want to share, but note that you don’t need to specify what items will be on sale. You can give consumers just enough information to spark their curiosity and search for your campaign in their inbox.
Let’s admit it, we all want to feel like we’re special and that we’re not “part of the pack,” and so do our customers. Loyal customers that have been with a brand for a long time and/or VIPs want to feel appreciated and acknowledged for their loyalty.
Reward them with a unique experience such as a special “Just for you” offer, a sneak peek into the upcoming holiday deals, a pre-sale event, etc.
The idea is to give customers a unique and special experience, not necessarily discounts or special offers unavailable to other consumers. The content/timing/creative of the holiday season sales will include copy that acknowledges this segment as your VIPs and/or most valuable customers.
This also works well with shoppers who have churned, but were previously VIPs. It’s a great way to remind them that although they haven’t purchased in a while, they are still appreciated and the relationship they previously had with the brand is still valued.
Another way that brands create uniqueness is in the actual shopping experience. Make it fun! Competitive! Enticing! Gamification campaigns turn the customer shopping experience into a game or a competition. Some examples of this are “Spin the Wheel” or “Scratch Cards.”
Lastly, make the shopping experience as easy as possible. Click2Cart, for example, allows customers to add items for sale into their cart directly from the email campaign. This is much more than just a trip to your cyber mall, but rather, a whole new experience for your customers.
And Julius Caesar…
AKA – the Optimove way… Segment your customers… Segment your offers…
Define holiday offers by what your customers have previously responded to. Churned or dormant customers may need a bit more nudging, so send them a stronger incentive, vs. an active customer, who regardless of discounts, is continuously purchasing from your brand.
One type of segmentation is by ‘previous categories purchased’ by individual customers. If Julius Caesar only purchases sleepwear and Marc Anthony only purchases jewelry and accessories, then we would want to send them offers that compliment their past purchasing behavior. It seems that Julius is more of a sleepwear consumer and Marc is more interested in day-to-day style. For Julius, you might try to cross-sell socks, slippers, more pajamas. For Marc, you might send a campaign for dress-wear, shoes and more accessories (because you can never have enough). You get the gist. Recommendation models are most effective for these segmented campaigns.
Another type of segmentation is offer based. Send offers based on average purchase amount of each customer. If you know that a customer is spending $100 on average per order, structure your campaign accordingly. If you want to save resources and/or don’t have a full view of what each individual customer’s AOV is, try laddering your offers/templates:
10% off purchases of $100 or more
15% off purchases of $200 or more
20% off purchases of $300 or more
In summary: Stand out from your competitors. Show your customers that you are not like all the rest, not in your offers, not in your campaigns and not in the experiences that they will have with your brand. A customer’s shopping experience combined with valuable products will pave the way for not only this holiday season but will help you acquire long-term, loyal customers. Happy holiday, all. May the shopping commence.