In the largest holiday shopping year ever, Salesforce recorded 10 billion data collection events through Marketing Cloud on Cyber Monday and nearly 62 billion during Cyber Week (November 21–27).

That’s a lot of email opens, digital ad conversions, abandoned carts and more — all in one week. For everyone feeling the pressure of data overload after the holiday shopping season, let’s take a deep breath and a slow step back. It’s time to figure out what this consumer data really means for marketers and what marketers can do to put it to use heading into 2018.

Here are five tips to help marketers use holiday data to create, optimize, or expand their customer journeys:


1. Update content calendars.


Some marketers have most likely mapped out content for Q1 of 2018 already, but while getting ahead of the game can be beneficial, that doesn’t mean marketers should be complacent with the content plan they have. With so much shopper data from the holidays, marketers should take a closer look at content that performed well — from paid ads and organic social posts to emails and product landing pages — as well as content that failed to gain traction.

For example, if you know that a particular organic, promotional Facebook post leading to a product’s landing page performed the best out of all your other organic posts, consider ways to repurpose that content or create similar content for Q1. Can you update the creative assets from the post and repost it? Can you offer a different discount on the product that wasn’t in the original post? Can you send a dynamic email that showcases similar products to people who might have abandoned their cart after visiting the product’s landing page?

The goal here is to analyze both organic and paid content that performed well or poorly and use it to amp up customer journeys for 2018. Download The Marketing Holiday Calendar to help you make one final content push throughout January.


2. Know when and where customers jump ship.


Data from eMarketer shows that approximately three quarters of online shoppers abandon their carts (man overboard!), yet a study by Salesforce and Litmus reveals that fewer than one third of marketers send abandoned cart emails. While abandoned cart emails can be a huge opportunity for marketers to nudge customers to convert, some marketers may not even be aware of browse abandonment opportunities.

Browse abandonment is when prospective customers visit certain pages on your website or app but never add items to their cart (or otherwise convert). By sending browse abandonment emails, marketers have the opportunity to increase revenue from conversions that otherwise may never have happened. But — there’s always a but — there are some things to consider when strategizing how browse abandonment emails fit into customer journeys.

  • You can only send browse abandonment emails to people who have given you permission to do so. In other words, they already have to be subscribed to one or more of your email lists.
  • Shoppers don’t take a linear journey to purchase, meaning that they might explore options on social media, in stores, on a company’s app, on a website, and more before making a purchase.
  • Shoppers who abandon browsing are usually in an earlier stage of the buying cycle than those who abandon carts.
  • Send dynamic browse abandonment emails that include product options from a category instead of calling out a specific product someone browsed. This provides additional options to shoppers within their broader areas of interest.
  • Send browse abandonment emails to customers who browse multiple products in one category or customers who return to a single product three or more times while browsing. This ensures that you’re targeting people who have a high level of interest in a product or service, instead of sending emails to everyone who browses your website.


3. Build journeys after a purchase.


A customer’s journey shouldn’t end after a purchase, but so often, it seems like marketers miss out on opportunities to engage and retain customers after conversion. According to Salesforce’s 2017 Connected Shopper Report, “62% of all shoppers say they like retailers to provide product recommendations based on their purchasing history — a figure that increases for millennial consumers (75%).”

With so many people wanting personalized recommendations, it’s a no-brainer that marketers should try to capitalize on this, especially after customers make a purchase. After the holiday shopping season, marketers should have a lot of purchase data at their disposal, and they can use it to build post-purchase customer journeys. Here are a few things to consider when creating content for these customers:

  • Start by asking about their experience or if they’re satisfied with their purchase. This is a good way to show that you care about their opinions and are dedicated to providing a positive experience.
  • Don’t be pushy. Remember, these customers have already made a purchase, so your first communication in their post-purchase journey probably shouldn’t promote other products.
  • Direct them to sign up for updates or other communications. This is a great way to keep customers in the loop, and it’s also one way to eventually build loyalty.

 Find more tips for building post-purchase journeys in this blog post.


4. Collect additional customer data.


After the holidays, customers have given you a lot of data, so tread carefully with this tactic. Using a method like progressive profiling to gather customer data is one way you can send customers more personalized messages. Before asking for more data, however, you should have clear goals and objectives in mind for using that data.

For example, if you request that customers share their interests with you — for example, if they’re interested in camping gear — you should be ready to use that data to tailor communications with them. Avoid asking for data that you don’t plan to use to improve a customer’s experience.

Once you have additional data, you should be able to build more comprehensive customer journeys.


5. Take a step back from the data.


Taking the time to analyze your data may be one of the best things you can do after the holidays. Just like most marketers are probably tired from the rush of creating and delivering communications across every channel, customers are just as fatigued from having their inboxes and social media feeds bombarded.

January is the perfect time to dig into your data and find relevant opportunities to engage customers across many customer journeys.

To learn more about how to build awesome customer journeys, check out these four steps to get started (and make sure to listen to the podcast episode included).