It’s quickly approaching that critical time of year for retailers. Marketers are finalizing their campaigns to attract more consumers into their stores – and to shop with them online – this holiday season. A recent survey conducted by The Harris Poll/OpenX estimates that holiday spending will be up 5% this year compared to last year, with online shopping accounting for more than 50% of all purchases.
Convenience is a key factor in the growing popularity of ecommerce, as seen by the prevalence of mobile shopping and the rise of click-and-collect orders, where consumers shop online, then pick up in store. Some retailers have even started providing consumers with incentives to return online purchases in store instead of by mail. Providing consumers with more convenient return options helps them feel more confident about their online purchases, while also creating in-store opportunities for new sales.
The benefit of more consumers shopping online is that, in theory, each digital interaction should provide marketers with more insight into consumers’ preferences for products and delivery options, paths to purchase and more. Yet, the reality is more complex due to data silos across an organization. That’s why more marketers are turning to master data management (MDM) solutions to centralize, clean, validate and enrich the master data stored in various systems and applications across the enterprise. Mastering data across silos delivers a consolidated view that marketers can use to deliver a better customer experience.
The power of actionable data
MDM solutions help marketers ensure they’re making campaign and segmentation decisions based on data they can trust. Advanced analytics can then be used to gain insights into customers, store locations, inventory and more, giving retailers a powerful advantage as they prep for the holiday season. With a trusted data foundation at the center of their initiatives, marketers will get more ROI out of the systems they use. Additionally, they avoid inefficiencies due to unusable or inaccurate data, which results in wasted money on duplicate mailings.
However, creating actionable data that’s accurate, complete and up-to-date is the foundation to impactful online marketing. The following best practices can help marketers capture consumers’ attention – and wallets – during the holiday season.
- Get a complete customer view
To deliver promotions that drive sales, you need to better understand your customer, and the only way to do that is with a unified view of your customer data. How well can you verify identities and apply analytics or business intelligence tools to understand relationships between all your data? For instance:
- Can you link consumers’ contact information with their purchasing behaviors and preferences?
- Are you able to analyze recurring purchases to gain insight into other members of a customer’s household? For example, do they frequently purchase products for teens or for toddlers?
- Are they part of your loyalty program? Have they opted-in to receive emails or texts from you or have they downloaded and used your app?
The ability to view this type of consolidated data – and ensure that it’s accurate, complete and up-to-date – is a critical first step. Because if your data is wrong, everything else that follows will be wrong too.
- Customize your marketing campaigns
Once you have a holistic view of your customers, you can use that information to get more ROI out of your marketing systems. Segment your campaigns and promotions based on target audience for a more personalized approach. For instance, identify your VIP customers, the ones who shop every year within the first hours of the sale, and customize a campaign for them. Or if you have customers who always buy the latest electronics every holiday season, customize a campaign for them.
When building out your campaigns, apply analytics to your data to identify:
- Which customers bought during your sales event last year?
- Which customers are your big-ticket spenders?
- Which customers only shop this time of year?
- What are their channel preferences?
Reward them for their loyalty by developing personalized promotions based on how they like to shop.
In addition to thinking about how to customize campaigns using your customer data, view it through the lens of your location data or product data. Which products were slow movers last year? Which store locations had weaker sales? Consider creating custom promotions for those product categories or locations to incentivize more sales in the future.
- Enhance the customer experience
Another recommendation is to leverage your customer data to enhance your customer experience initiatives – whether it’s providing personalized product recommendations on the website based on a customer’s browsing history or making sure that your ecommerce site is optimized for mobile. This will help you create relevant experiences that not only attract customers but keep them shopping with you. A recent report by Salesforce found that 84% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services, reinforcing the significance of enhancing the customer experience.
- Comply with privacy regulations
Online marketing is not as simple as it used to be with the introduction of GDPR and other international and state-wide privacy regulations. Make sure you have a data foundation in place that allows you to set up policies around how data is processed and who can access different types of data. Clear data ownership leads to accuracy and accountability, so it’s important to use an MDM solution that includes capabilities such as role-based security, approval processes with integrated workflows and business rules, system auditing, and data quality validation.
- Meet customers where they are
Regardless of how significant ecommerce is to your marketing strategy, you need to engage your customers where they shop. According to the recent Salesforce State of the Connected Customer report, 64% of customers are using multiple channels for a single transaction, making your omnichannel strategy more important than ever.
By bolstering online marketing with actionable, accurate data, supplied by an MDM solution, you’ll increase your marketing effectiveness and save money, as well as improve your marketing technology ROI. And with a better understanding of your customer and more confidence in your customer data, you’ll be able to deliver more personalized products and services. You’ll also improve customer communication and support, ultimately leading to better experiences – and more revenue – during the holiday season.
How important is data management to your marketing initiatives this holiday season? Share this post and your thoughts below.