2012 Holiday Marketing Tips for Retailers

  |  July 25, 2012   |  Comments

What can online retailers do to prepare their business and website for the holidays so that they have the same advantage as traditional stores?

It might only be July, but it's already time for retailers and marketing teams to start planning their holiday promotional campaign calendars. Preparing marketing initiatives that resonate with your shoppers can feel a little overwhelming. After all, you're trying to please a lot of different types of people who all have their own set of expectations when they shop your brand. My company's 2012 holiday marketing infographic provides important dates and research data that can help you plan.

Start Planning Customized Campaigns Early

But, it's clear that consumers are getting accustomed to having experiences with their favorite brands tailored to their personal preferences. So, for this holiday season (and every other season for that matter), online retailers will have the added challenge of customizing a shopper's experience while trying to drive sales in the busy season. And because online retailers can't be there in person with shoppers, like a traditional salesperson can in a brick-and-mortar store, they need ways to figure out who is shopping on their sites.

Traditional retailers staff additional salespeople during the holidays to ensure the rush of holiday shoppers are appropriately serviced, served, upsold, and cross-sold additional products. But what about online retailers? What can they do to prepare their business and website for the holidays so that they have the same advantage as traditional stores?

Segmenting and Targeting Based On Buying Behaviors

A lot of online retailers are already using a retargeting solution to provide tailored ads to people based on past browsing history. However, there's a problem with traditional retargeting, because it puts shoppers into broad buckets based on general information, and general information isn't enough to effectively customize a shopper's experience with your brand.

Behavioral segmentation, however, uses data about the shopping personalities and buying behaviors of individual shoppers to create hyper-segmented groups. For example, Folica, a leading hair and beauty products retailer, used behavioral segmentation to market directly to its best customers and saw a 68 percent increase in conversions for its efforts.

Use Case Examples

This holiday season, with a behavioral segmentation tool, you could create multiple marketing campaigns to target the different types of shoppers on your site. For example, an online retailer could:

  • Activate a 24-hour Santa Sale that offers free "express" holiday shipping for all customers who have put at least $75 worth of merchandise in their cart. For those with less than $75 in their cart, send an upsell message offering express holiday shipping if they add items to their cart to total $75 or more.
  • Show your holiday spirit by pledging to give 1 percent of all sales on a certain day to your company's favorite charity for all orders above $250.
  • Remind shoppers who have visited your site more than two times in the three weeks before Christmas of all the products they've viewed and may have even added to their carts but abandoned.
  • Build holiday excitement and anticipation by messaging onsite visitors in the weeks leading up to Black Friday. Have them sign up for your list to receive free shipping on Black Friday.

Prepare Your Marketing Campaign Schedule for the Holiday Season

So what can you do to make sure that you're creating the most relevant marketing campaigns for each of the different types of shoppers on your site? You can start by using a retargeting vendor that has behavioral segmentation capabilities. After that, it's all about A/B testing and finding out what works for each type of shopper.

When coming up with your offer campaigns, just remember that in NRF's 2011 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, consumers said that "sales and price discounts" will be the most important factor (42 percent) when they're shopping online this holiday season, while "a quick and easy checkout process" (30 percent) comes in second place.

Here are some other things to keep in mind when preparing for your holiday marketing campaigns:

Top 3 Holiday Offer Campaigns

  1. Free express shipping
  2. Buy more, save more
  3. Post-holiday sale

Top Days for Holiday Sales Conversions

  • Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving): 23 percent
  • November 28: 17 percent
  • November 30: 17 percent
  • December 6: 17 percent
  • Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving): 16 percent


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Aubrey Beck

Aubrey is the director of marketing programs at Salted Stone, a digital marketing agency in Southern California. She specializes in brand strategy and inbound marketing, working with emerging tech companies and B2B providers to identify their voice and create revenue-driving content plans.

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