Deals And Data Can Make Or Break Holiday Sales

With the holiday season nearly in full swing, shoppers are on the hunt for deals. Columnist James Green discusses why marketers need to use data to serve up the right deals to meet customer expectations.

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holiday-retailer9-2015-ss-1920The holiday season is a great time of the year to break away from the day-to-day, indulge in food and drink and get your hands on some great deals. But for marketers, the most wonderful time of year can also be the most stressful.

There’s tremendous pressure to influence people and turn purchase intent into sales at the tail end of the year. In fact, nearly one-third of some stores’ profits are made in just the final two months of the year, reports Reuters, citing results from NPD and PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

If there’s one time of the year to make sure you are giving people what they want, it’s at the start of the holiday season — Black Friday through Cyber Monday.

Holiday deals can have a real impact on how businesses shake out by year-end. In a recent study (registration required) by Retail Touchpoints and Magnetic (my employer), people found information about limited-time offers and sales to be the most helpful during their shopping journey.

In addition, 85 percent said that an email with a coupon code would help bring them back to the retailer’s site to buy.

Not only do people want to know about deals, but they actively seek them out. Recently, PwC released information stating that shoppers are increasingly looking for deals.

Using Data To Tailor Your Deals

Just sending out deals isn’t enough, though — they need to provide value and be relevant to the person receiving them. People know that retailers keep tabs on activities like purchases, digital engagements and shopping behaviors, which can help tailor marketing messages to them in the future.

How marketers use data to deliver deals to people can make or break year-end sales.

According to Magnetic’s study, 78 percent of people expect retailers’ email promotions to be tailored with offers and recommendations. In addition, half find it “frustrating” or “extremely frustrating” when online ads are irrelevant to their personal tastes and preferences.

And when it comes to ratings, reviews and recommendations, 50 percent of people want to be offered these suggestions before making a purchase.

Savvy shoppers know how to prepare for holiday offers, and they want to receive messages and deals that will help them to make informed purchasing decisions. If you’re already running email campaigns and on-site recommendations, there’s no reason you can’t make each email and site experience more valuable with the right data.

Delivering The Right Offer

And if you’re already serving digital ads, there’s no reason they can’t feature deals that are specific to what people want to buy — across all ad formats. Without the proper data streams in place, you are not going to deliver the right offer.

Let’s say I’m planning to buy my wife a nice piece of jewelry for the holidays. I’ve purchased something from a specific jewelry brand in the past, but I haven’t visited their site in at least 90 days. However, I did recently search for diamond earrings on various sites and researched the different cuts of a diamond.

By not seeing or understanding my recent search behavior, you may not even know what I’m in the market to buy. And worse, I may never have known about the special offer going on during the holidays, which may entice me to buy from your store.

We can’t understate the benefits that data brings to seasonal promotions, or begin to underestimate the value that deals bring to brands during big seasonal shopping events. The days, weeks and even months leading up to the holidays are the last-ditch effort to spike year-end sales.

Don’t miss your year-end number because you failed to meet consumer expectations and never delivered the right information when and where it mattered most.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

James Green
James Green is chief executive officer at Magnetic, a technology company with a marketing platform for enterprises, brands and agencies. James is charged with driving the company’s strategic vision and overall expansion.

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