It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

For retail sales! Whether you’re in full flow or just starting to plan your campaigns, we’re here to help. We’ve got some top tips for marketers to help you exceed your customers’ ever-increasing expectations. 


1. Dig deep into customer data 

What do you already know about your customers? Marketing, commerce and service records can really help you understand your customers’ preferences and predict what is going to resonate. Look at the performance by channel, any particular trending products, and recurring service-centre themes. Maybe an unusual email campaign drove peak site visits, or a product bundle got social media buzzing with excitement? 

Look closer at your most effective campaigns from the past year. Where did shoppers engage the most with them? And at what time of the day (or night)? 

Don’t be afraid of asking difficult questions. If a campaign fell flat with a certain demographic on one channel but soared with engagement on another, utilise the lesson for this year. 

You can also examine ancillary preferences, your own anecdotes, and what your competitors are doing. Turn all this data you’ve collected into insight, and examine what your customers are telling you. This works best as a team effort, to gain early buy-in from the rest of the business. 


2. Create an integrated promotional calendar 

Using the data you have collected and the outcome of your brainstorming, create an integrated promotional calendar that you can share internally. Start creating special gift promotions and grouping, such as by demographic, recipient, or ‘stocking fillers’. 

Share this calendar widely –- various teams such as merchandising, marketing and fulfilment will need to be aware of the Christmas strategy. 


3. Align with other teams

Work with your inventory planning team to ensure all marketed products have the right levels of stock throughout the festive season. And make a contingency plan in case sales aren’t what you expected –- or unexpectedly go viral. No retailer wants to wave goodbye to millions in potential revenue due to poor inventory planning. Remember Buzz Lightyear at Christmas 1996

Make sure that your supply chain can quickly ramp up or down in response to real-time results, and use the contingency planning session to think of alternatives if there are supply chain delays. Could you steer customers towards an alternative product? Will you operate a waitlist/alert system? 

Map critical functions and goals –- things are going to get busy –- and align on some common KPIs for the in-store and online customer experience. Test it in advance. 


4. Personalise your marketing for impact 

When shoppers share their data with you, it’s a matter of trust. But they also expect something valuable in return. 71% of consumers believe their preferred brands use their data for good – like providing relevant offers and messaging. 

It’s up to you honour these expectations, by creating something really personalised. Segment your data by demographic information, purchase history and even ad impressions, then craft personalised messages to target each group. Look for overlapping customer touchpoints for valuable insights to take a more dynamic approach. 

40% of consumers won’t shop with a brand that doesn’t use their preferred channel- gather feedback and data on this preference and avoid alienating Christmas shoppers.


“The reason why a readiness plan is important is because it builds confidence in your organization that you are going to deliver on what your expectations are.”

- Zachary Bezyak, Senior Manager, Marketing Technology & Operations, Best Buy


5. Keep data organised – and protected

Even after GDPR came into force, 48% of consumers don’t understand where their data is being stored. More worrying yet, 68% of consumers don’t trust brands to keep their data secure.

So that your customers’ data is being kept organised, ensure your teams are easily able to access, understand and apply data with a simple database structure. For example, use rows to represent records and columns to represent fields. And be upfront with consumers about how this data is stored.

And remember it’s not just stuff like names and email addresses. Anything that can be used to identify someone counts as personal data, so even storing dynamic IP addresses on your web server log files counts as processing personal data.


6. Test your messaging all season long

Remember, you’re going to have to do this again next year. So learn everything you can, ready to apply in the future. This includes A/B testing your offers, creative content and tactical elements such as when, where and how you target consumers. 

The results of these tests can help you increase messaging effectiveness and see what’s resonating best with your audience. From here, adjust your messaging where needed and apply your learnings to kickstart next year’s planning.


What happens next?

At Salesforce, we’re here to help you every step of the way as you embark on another year of holiday season success. And this blog is just the beginning; for the ultimate strategic guide to an unforgettable Christmas season, be sure to explore our 2019 Holiday Readiness Guide

For further strategic support when deploying your festive strategies, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.