For generations, retailers have created detailed, strategic holiday season plans focused on everything from their in-store marketing to their advertising to their inventory. However, it's probably well past time that most retailers add one more strategic plan to the mix — data management.

After years of conditioning by the likes of Amazon, Uber, Spotify and Netflix consumers now expect seamless and personalized experiences from the brands they engage with. Indeed, the Salesforce Holiday Marketing Calendar shows that more than half of consumers feel overwhelmed with the various marketing communications sent by retailers via text, email, and other channels throughout the holiday season, demonstrating that personalization needs to be a key focus for most brands.

And it’s no secret that those personalized experiences are fueled by data captured and gathered across various consumer touch points. The holiday season is unique in that it offers many retailers the chance to gather, activate and analyze a significant amount of this precious data as consumers embark on a myriad of customer journeys in search for those perfect holiday gifts.

While each retailer’s data management plan should be tailored around the specific needs of its business, there are a few action items every retailer might think about this holiday season as consumers gear up to spend more than they do at any other time of year.

  • Gather Intention Signals: As consumers hunt around online for gifts they are leaving clear signals about the types of products they are considering purchasing. In fact, 85% of shoppers said they research products prior to purchasing online in the latest Salesforce Connected Shopper report. There’s a plethora of second-party available in Salesforce Data Studio that can provide retailers with information about what a consumer may be looking to buy. Whether it’s the latest cool cooking gadget for Dad or even a new car for a wife, there’s valuable intent data available to shine a light on a what a consumer is looking to purchase. This data can help inform your targeting strategies by ensuring that you are offering personalized and relevant experiences to the consumers you should be focused on engaging.
  • Capture Point of Sale Data Online and Offline: While engaging your target consumers during their holiday sales journey is critical, it's also vitally important to capture and analyze as much point of sale data as you can - both online and in-store. Retailers that use Salesforce DMP can ensure that their online holiday sales can be captured and used for a cross-sale opportunity or post-sale analytics. For example, knowing someone has just bought a new coat for mom is a great signal that they may consider a new scarf or pair of leather gloves as well. This same sales data can also tell you more about the type of consumers buying outerwear this holiday season and what messages may resonate with them.
  • Analyze the Journey with Einstein: Every purchase this holiday season is the end point of a customer journey. By leveraging Einstein Journey Insights within the Salesforce DMP, retailers can gain a deeper understanding of what journeys are driving sales and then build their marketing plans around optimizing for these journeys. For instance, knowing that a consumer who watches two videos about a jewelry present is twice as likely to purchase jewelry than a consumer who watches one video, is an extremely valuable insight. It's also equally valuable to know that a customer who watches two videos is no less likely to make a purchase than a consumer who watches three videos. These insights help the retailer to efficiently design a plan that optimizes the consumer journey towards driving target consumers to watching two videos.

By focusing on data management this holiday season, retailers will be in a better position to more efficiently and effectively leverage their marketing budget and reduce the chance their holiday sales this year will make them say “bah humbug.”