As you likely know from past experience, it’s not so much a question of if consumers will spend money this holiday season — it’s a matter of where they’ll spend it. In 2017 alone, shoppers spent $682 billion over the course of the holiday season and the lead up to Black Friday Cyber Monday 2018 is expected to be just as lucrative.
As a retailer, it’s important to stay top-of-mind with your customers to earn their holiday shopping dollars. Most B2B brands (89%) say brand awareness is their most important goal, followed by sales and lead generation.
But the goal isn’t to bombard shoppers with even more holiday noise — instead, make sure they’re aware you offer the products they want and need. When they’re ready to make those purchases, your business will be the place that they go to drop some coin.
One of the most important things you can do to prepare for the holiday season is to find out who your customers are and what they’ve purchased in the past. To do this, you’ll need to gather intel on your customers so you’ll know exactly how and when to approach them. This ensures that your message will be well-received.
FURTHER READING: Get to know your customers by building buyer personas.
Start by analyzing your reports and analytics to find out what did customers purchased last year, what types of promotions they responded to best, and what worked during previous holiday seasons. If you have an online store, you can find this data in your ecommerce dashboard. If you have a brick-and-mortar store, you can find this data through your point-of-sale system or in-store analytics programs.
💡Get more info on tools you can use to measure important in-store analytics.
When you open up your analytics, you’re going to see a lot of data that can quickly feel overwhelming. To focus your efforts, have a list of questions you want answered — most likely, what worked best in the past holiday seasons. Take a look at best-selling products, discounts that resulted in the highest revenues, and in-store promotions that brought the most customers through your doors.
Once you’ve narrowed down the most important data, you’ll know what elements and products you should incorporate this upcoming Black Friday Cyber Monday.
And don’t forget to go straight to the source — your customers — to find out what they’re looking for this holiday season. If you have a brick-and-mortar location, strike up conversations while they’re shopping and get to know their needs. To learn more about your customers online, connect via live chats, social media posts, or through email.
Send Personalized Emails
Now that you have all that critical information from your research and analysis, it’s time to use that data into your email marketing campaigns.
Email marketing is a great way to stay top-of-mind with your customer base. It’s a quick-and-easy way to reach shoppers and share info about deals and updates from your brand.
Of course, your customers are likely getting dozens of emails from dozens of other merchants, so it’s your job to rise above all that inbox clutter and stand out. How? You’ll need to start by personalizing those emails.
According to a CMO Council survey, 43% of marketers said personalization led to more conversions. Not only that, but according to Autopilot, a sentiment survey of 1,200 consumers found that consumers are four times as likely to respond to messages if they receive personalized offers, and 49% said they expect communications that are relevant to their interests.
That’s where you come in — only send emails that are relevant, engaging, and timely. Segment your subscribers according to specific parameters (i.e. demographics, location, purchase history, etc) then compose relevant messages for each group.
An example is this personalized abandoned cart email from Beardbrand.
The content of this email is based on exactly what in that customer’s cart. There’s no generic copy crafted for the masses here — it’s 100% personalized while still being automated.
FURTHER READING: Learn more about the benefits of segmenting your email subscribers and four tips from marketing experts.
How often you send emails is another common question because you want to stay top-of-mind without overwhelming their inbox.
It’ll be different for every retailer, and the best way to approach it is to send out your emails and then optimize them based on open rates, clicks, and conversions. By testing your campaigns and taking note of their performance, you’ll have a good idea of how to proceed.
FURTHER READING: Send high-converting sales emails to your customers for Black Friday Cyber Monday 2018 with these expert tips.
Stay in Touch via Social Media
One of the easiest ways to ensure your customers remember you is to stay active on social media. These platforms offer you the opportunity every day to post valuable updates to keep you top-of-mind with your followers and customers.
We’ll get to Facebook in a minute, but first, let’s focus on Pinterest and Instagram. These platforms are crucial for retailers, especially around the holiday season.
Why? Because they’re image-centric, which gives you the opportunity to not only showcase your products, but also generate intent in the mind of the shoppers. By using these sites to your advantage, you can give customers ideas of things they want to buy in the near future. And when their intent turns into action, they’ll remember that you’re the one selling those items and they’re more likely to make their purchase from you.
FURTHER READING: Get the lowdown on how to use Pinterest to attract new customers and boost sales.
Share high-quality images of the items in your store, grow your follower count, engage with users, and create Pinterest boards that will generate the most user interest — for example, holiday cheer, Gifts for Her, and Gifts for Him.
If you’re on Instagram, consider making your feed more “shoppable” by using the Like2Buy platform. When users click on an image, they’ll be taken to that item’s product page so they can learn more or move on to the checkout. The platform also compiles the “likes” of each user so they can easily find them when they’re ready to buy.
Anyone that’s spent time trying to get the tape out of a dispenser or wrestling with a roll of wrapping paper knows that gift wrapping is often part of the holiday hassle. So, why not offer that service to your shoppers? And better yet, offer branded packaging in your store.
According to a Dotcom Distribution packaging study, 49% of online shoppers said that branded packaging made them more excited about receiving or opening an item. Another 44% admitted that packaging reinforces that a product is worth its cost. In other words, first impressions make a difference, and this branded packaging and free gift wrapping services allow your product to stand out when compared to the competition.
FURTHER READING: Learn how to design every element of your unboxing experience.
Looking past packaging, you can also consider implementing click-and-collect options. This is a multichannel retail strategy where shoppers order their items online and pick them up in store.
According to CNBC, 71% of U.S. shoppers have used click-and-collect in the past 12 months, and it’s predicted that 10% of all sales will be fulfilled by click-and-collect by 2025, with straightforward in-store purchases declining to 60%.
FURTHER READING: Reduce returns and increase in-store traffic with click-and-collect shipping options.
Offering in-store pickups and other convenient services can make or break people’s purchase decisions, especially during the hectic holiday season. Whatever services you offer in your store, be sure to let your customers know — maybe in those personalized emails — so they have even more reasons to choose you when they’re deciding where to shop.
Provide Additional Value
During the holiday shopping season, it’s not enough to only offer products and deals. Set yourself apart from the pack with educational and engaging content. You can create helpful blog posts, informative guides about the products you sell, or even recipes that are easily shared.
One way to do this is through social media, which can be used to not only promote your blog posts or Pinterest gift guides but also keep you top-of-mind through live video. There are more than two billion monthly active users on Facebook, more than one billion daily active users, and one-third (32%) of Facebook users say they engage with brands regularly.
Help your brand stand out even more with Facebook Live. With over eight billion average daily views and 100 million hours of video watched every day, Facebook has become a top player in the social media video landscape. In fact, 80% would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog and 82% prefer live video from a brand to social posts.
Use this platform — and Instagram Stories — to show off your products, educate the consumer about those products, or show them a fun new way to use them. Find your own unique brand identity through video to help your store rise above all of the noise.
FURTHER READING: Get inspired by these by these retail brands that are nailing it on Facebook Live.
Customers will have a myriad of options about where to spend their time and their money, but by providing additional value beyond just a product, you can set yourself up for success.
Get Involved In Your Community
The holidays bring out the giving spirit in most people, which makes it a great time for you as a business owner to give back. Not only does it bring intrinsic rewards, but it’s also great for business.
By giving a keynote speech or sponsoring a charitable cause, you increase top-of-mind awareness. When people see you regularly participating in goodwill, they’ll be more likely to remember you when it’s time to make a purchase.
Look into hosting a community-building event of your own. Lululemon hosts community yoga classes in partnership with local yoga studios, but it doesn’t always have to directly relate to your niche. Think about what brings people together — maybe an open mic night, a workshop teaching a fun craft, a charity 5K walk, or even a pet adoption fair. The point is to not only get your name out there but to bring the community together — and to your store — in a way that goes beyond retail.
You can also take part in Small Business Saturday, which saw 108 million shoppers spend $12.9 billion on Nov. 25 at independently owned businesses in 2017. Sixty-four percent of respondents said that the reason for shopping small was to support small businesses, and this year on Nov. 24 it will give you plenty of opportunities to gain visibility and sales as well.
Remind your customers through your marketing channels that you’re a small biz participating in Small Business Saturday. You can offer discounts, promotions, and/or product-bundle deals to encourage shoppers to support your retail business on this holiday this year.
Staying Top of Mind with Customers for Black Friday Cyber Monday 2018
The holidays are a busy time when spirits — and stress — are at an all-time high. But by approaching the season with a plan of action, you’re positioning yourself to be the merchant that shoppers think of and go to first.
Whether it’s through creative videos, shareable Pinterest boards, or personalized emails, there’s no reason why this season can’t be the most wonderful time of the year.
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