How retailers can drive traffic and increase sales this holiday season

This just in: US consumers spent $19.62 billion online over the five-day period from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday in 2017. That’s 15% more than they did during the same timeframe the year prior.

So, what can you do to get a bigger piece of the pie this holiday season?

There are two important marketing trends you need to leverage:

  1. Omnichannel personalization, which delivers personalized content, offers, or interactions across all customer touchpoints.According to a research by BCG, brands that create personalized experiences for customers are seeing revenue increase by 6% to 10%.

    In addition, 52% of marketers consider personalization fundamental to their online marketing strategy.

  2.  Retargeting/remarketing, which is a cookie-based technology that allows you to “follow” your visitors all over the web after they’ve visited your website.

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As a marketer, you can’t afford to overlook the effectiveness of remarketing:

  • Retargeted ads have 10x the click-through rate compared to display ads.
  • Website visitors who are retargeted with display ads are 70% more likely to convert.
  • Retargeted customers are 3x more likely to click on your ads than people who have never interacted with your business.

Now, what if you can combine the power of these two trends to supercharge your sales this holiday season?

You can choose from a variety of personalization strategies and retargeting methods based on your business and audience.

In this article, we’ll first look at the various types of retargeting tactics. Then we’ll show you the different kinds of personalization strategies you can apply to those remarketing methods.

You can then mix-and-match to decide on the right channel and the appropriate messaging to optimize your results:

Retargeting/remarketing methods

  • On-site retargeting: Also known as “exit intent,” it shows visitors a message such as an opt-in, a special offer, or a product recommendation when their behaviors indicate that they’re about to leave the site.
  • Social media retargeting: When you place a tracking pixel on your web pages, the social media platform will “know” to serve a specific ad to the visitor based on the segmentation criteria you set up for the ad. You can also use Facebook Dynamic Ads to serve ads of a specific product to visitors who recently showed interest in the item.
  • Email marketing: Send subscribers specific content or offers that are relevant to them based on recent purchases or browsing behaviors.
  • Google Adwords: Similar to Facebook retargeting, you can serve remarketing ads to people who have recently visited your website or specific product pages by using Google AdWord’s remarketing features.
  • Snail mail: Don’t forget the old but gold; you can deliver the same targeted message or offer to your customers by sending a postcard.

Omnichannel personalization strategies

  • Recommend products based on customers’ past purchases, searches, or browsing behaviors.
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  • If you have a gift selector or quiz on your website, you can show products based on the results.
  • Deliver targeted content that’s most relevant to your customers’ preferences and behaviors.
  • Promote in-store specials or in-store pick-up if you have a physical store at the customer’s location.
  • Add urgency, such as a limited time offer or limited quantity, to ads about an item that a customer has shown interest in.
  • Send cart abandonment reminder about products in the visitor’s cart. You can combine this with a special offer to help increase conversion.
  • Use in-app promotion to deliver a relevant offer when customers are in your store, using geo-fencing technology.

Powering up retargeting with personalization is the key to online retail success

When you layer customer data on retargeting technologies, you’ll reach the right people in the right place at the right time with the right message; the winning formula for online marketing success.

The foundation of making this strategy work for you is a robust customer data management system and personalization software so you have the right information to optimize your ROI.

The secret to being in the right place at the right time to maximize sales

Consumers want to shop whenever and wherever it is the most convenient for them, and brands are responding quickly to their needs.

If you want to increase your sales this holiday season, you have to meet your customers where they’re at and deliver an engaging shopping experience at all touchpoints.

To do so, you need a comprehensive strategy to guide your effort. Here are a few ideas to incorporate into your omnichannel marketing plan:

Augment your mobile experience

This year’s Cyber Monday was dominated by mobile sales, accounting for $2 billion of the $6.59 billion in total online sales.

To encourage customers to purchase from their mobile devices, declutter your mobile eCommerce experience and make it easy for shoppers to browse and check out.

You can also add an easy-to-navigate “holiday shopping” section featuring the most popular gift items to streamline the user experience.

Don’t forget your mobile app. Update it with content relevant to the holiday season, add a gift selector, and offer personalized product recommendations based on a customer’s preferences and browsing history.

Beef up your website with interactive content

Finding the right gifts for everybody can be challenging and your customers would appreciate all the help they can get.

Develop an interactive gift selector or a product comparison widget to streamline the shopping experience and help customers make the right choices.

Feature trending items and offer different ways to sort product listing to help visitors find the products they want.

You can also add shoppable images or videos to your website to enhance the user experience, increase engagement, and boost conversion.

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Get more sales from your email subscribers

Email marketing is an extremely effective way to send targeted content and personalized offers to people who have already shown interest in your brand.

Segmenting your list and sending personalized content that is most relevant to your subscribers can help increase engagement, click-through rate, and conversion.

Your emails can feature this holiday’s hottest items and offer product recommendations based on the recipients’ profiles, preferences, and purchasing behaviors.

If they have recently visited your website and shown interest in certain items, you can offer them a special discount for the particular products.

You can also send cart abandonment reminders to shoppers who have items in their carts but are yet to complete their orders.

Increase social media reach with ads and retargeting

Paid advertising is a great way to boost your social media presence and show up in front of your ideal customers during the holiday season.

Target your messaging to specific segments based on interests, geographic locations, demographics, occupations, and more, to deliver a personalized experience.

You can also import your email list and show subscribers the special offer you have sent in an email.

In addition, you can use retargeting and Facebook Dynamic Ads to show the most relevant products or content to an audience.

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Explore the new frontier of messaging apps

The top four messaging apps now have a larger combined user base than the top four social networks.

As consumers are getting comfortable with messaging apps, such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, brands are using these new platforms to engage with their audience.

You can answer pre-sale questions, assist customers with placing their orders, and offer post-sale support through these touchpoints.

With personalization and chatbot technologies, aided by machine learning and natural language processes, you can now deliver a customized shopping experience at scale using messaging apps.

The key to successful omnichannel marketing

No matter what strategies you’re implementing this holiday season, keep in mind that the ultimate goal of omnichannel marketing is to deliver a customer-centric shopping experience.

When you design your plan based on the preferences and behaviors of your customers, you’ve already won half the battle.

How to use personalization strategies to increase conversion rate.

The holiday season is the “make or break” time of the year for many retailers.

Whether you’re an online merchant or a brick-and-mortar business, you’ll be facing tough competition this holiday season.

In this era, it’s no longer enough just to offer better pricing or a larger product selection. Shoppers are looking for a customer experience that’s as painless, frictionless, and convenient as possible.

Given that the average American purchases 14 gifts, consumers can use all the help they receive so that they don’t have to spend endless hours on their holiday shopping.

With today’s omnichannel personalization technology, retailers can augment the holiday shopping experience and increase sales by helping customers find the most relevant products and take advantage of the best offers, which in turn will entice them to buy more.

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Real-time web personalization

When visitors interact with your website, you can promote the most relevant content, products, and offers based on their browsing behavior.

By using real-time web personalization, you can display items that shoppers have spent the most time viewing but haven’t purchased. This way you can increase the chances that they’ll re-engage with the products.

Keep in mind that many shoppers are looking for gifts to find recommendations related to the product they’re currently viewing helpful – even if it doesn’t match their personal profile.

You can also leverage aggregated customer data to map a shopper’s behavior to past customer purchases to display products they’d most likely be interested in.

Last but not least, there’s no better way to offer product recommendations than having shoppers tell you what they’re looking for.

Offer an interactive gift guide on your website to help them narrow down their choices. This will not only allow you to offer the most relevant recommendations but also increase engagement with your audience while educating them about your products along the way.

Personalized coupon offer

By using mobile and geofencing technology, you can send shoppers coupons when they’re near a physical store via text message or push notification on a mobile app.

Mobile coupon usage has been on the rise and 98% of SMS message is opened within the first minute, making this a powerful combination to drive more traffic and sales for brick-and-mortar merchants.

This real-time coupon offer can be a discount for one of the products they’ve viewed repeatedly on your website or it can be a recommendation based on their customer profiles.

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Personalized email automation

Email marketing is a great way to deliver targeted content and offers to individual subscribers on your email lists.

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Use personalization strategies such as email retargeting or triggered email campaigns to draw your customers’ attention to products or offers they’ve shown an interest in.

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In addition, you can customize these emails based on each customer’s browsing behavior, preferences, location, past purchases, or items left in the cart, to increase engagement.

Another way to generate more sales from email marketing is to make good use of receipts. “Predictive receipts” are email receipts that include personalized product recommendations based on the products purchased.

These are emails your shoppers are expecting and will open. Not to mention, since they’ve already purchased from you, they’re more likely to buy again.

Boost your holiday sales with omnichannel personalization

Your personalization strategy should work across multiple channels and reflect shoppers’ interaction with your brand real-time.

Using an omnichannel marketing platform that supports personalization strategies will help you make the most of your customer data so that you can offer the best shopping experience that will not only increase brand loyalty but will also make more sales.

Want to get a piece of the $3.45 billion Black Friday pie? Here’s how to get ready.

In 2016, US consumers spent $3.45 billion on Black Friday. Is your retail business set up to make the most out of this year’s Black Friday Cyber Monday sale period?

With more eCommerce retailers competing for shoppers’ attention, you can’t afford to cook up a last-minute promotion and hope for the best.

It’s more important than ever to plan ahead and get your retail business ready for Black Friday/Cyber Monday.

Here are a few things you can’t afford to ignore:

Start early

The National Retail Federation (NRF) has found that 40% of shoppers start doing their research for holiday shopping as early as October.

Plan to start promoting holiday shopping related content and products, such as holiday gift guides, during that time. Set up website personalization strategies that leverage data from your customer profiles to ensure that you’re displaying the most relevant content and offers to your visitors.

In addition, make sure that you have contingency plans in place. For instance, figure out what your options are if your shipping company is delayed by a higher volume.

Not only should you be planning for things that may go wrong, you must also plan for when things go well. For instance, can your website handle a surge in traffic? Is your fulfillment system set up well enough to handle a large number of orders?

Last but not least, forecast your sales and communicate with your suppliers to ensure that you’ll have the right products in stock to fulfill your orders.

Plan your marketing efforts

Decide on the products you want to highlight, plan out your sales schedule, and coordinate all the promotional efforts to maximize your sales:

  • Schedule email marketing campaigns ahead of time and don’t forget to include personalized content and offers that are most relevant to each recipient.
  • Set up your social media promotions and use strategies such as email retargeting to deliver a personalized omnichannel shopping experience.
  • Connect with influencers early on so they can work any mention of your products or promotions into their schedule.
  • Do some social listening to find out what’s trending this holiday season and identify which products to promote.
  • Design a holiday-themed giveaway or contest with a viral component to help increase brand awareness and drive traffic to your website.

Be mobile-ready

During the 2016 holiday season, half of the web traffic and 30% of retail sales came from mobile sites.

If your eCommerce platform isn’t optimized for mobile, you could be missing out on sales and losing revenue this holiday season.

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Mobile devices offer great opportunities to deliver personalized shopping experiences that will help you increase conversion rate.

Other than website personalization, you can deliver an omnichannel experience by using technologies such as geofencing (if you have a physical store) or mobile apps and leveraging data from your customer profiles.

You can also facilitate the mobile purchasing process with features such as tap-to-call or auto-fill by using location services to deliver a seamless customer experience.

Don’t get left behind this holiday season

An omnichannel personalized shopping experience will be the key to success for retailers this holiday season as well as for the ones in the coming years.

Thankfully, implementing these strategies are getting much easier with sophisticated technologies that will help manage customer data, personalization automation, and omnichannel personalization so that you don’t have to do all the heavy lifting yourself.

The Key to Boosting eCommerce Conversion Rate This Holiday Season (Part 1)

While the total retail growth may be slowing down, the US retail eCommerce sales jumped 17.8% during the 2016 holiday season and are expected to climb 15.8% in 2017.

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As an online retailer, how can you capitalize on this trend?

To answer that question, we need to look at customer expectations.

More and more consumers are looking for a personalized shopping experience from their favorite brands.

A recent survey has found that 86% of customers say personalization affects their purchase decision while another study showed that 74% of shoppers get frustrated by seeing irrelevant content or product recommendations.

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Thankfully, you don’t need to do all the heavy lifting to deliver a personalized shopping experience to your customers.

With the aid of technologies that allow you to collect and analyze customer data and automation software that helps you deliver the right message to the right customers at the right time, you can leverage the power of personalization to increase your online store’s conversion rate:

Product recommendations

Using information such as the customer’s preferences, shopping habits, and past purchases, you can recommend products that are timely and relevant.

One merchant has seen a 248%  increase in conversion rate by displaying personalized product recommendations on the homepage.

For the holiday seasons, during which customers are likely to be shopping for gifts, make sure to factor in their real-time interactions with your website and offer recommendations that are related to the products they’re looking at or searching for.

You can do so by mapping their real-time browsing behaviors to aggregated consumer data to predict the type of items they may be interested in.

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Don’t forget to feature new and popular products that are your bestsellers. Chances are they’d make a great gift and you’ll be saving your customers a lot of time and headache!

Upsell and cross-sell

Displaying items related to the products that shoppers are looking at or have put into their carts is a powerful way to increase your average order value.

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You can recommend items often bought together with the product, complementary to the product, or offered as a bundle with that product.

Past and recurring purchases

Make shopping easy for your customers by displaying the past purchase list so that they can pick up their favorite items quickly.

You can pair the past purchase list with personalized product recommendations to help shoppers discover new products that are likely to be relevant to them.

In addition, for items that need to be replenished periodically, you can offer a subscription service so your customers can “set it and forget it.”

Your customers will appreciate the convenience and be more likely to buy more from you while you will generate a recurring revenue from these subscriptions.

Streamlined checkout

For shoppers who already have an account on your eCommerce site, you can streamline the checkout flow so that they can complete their purchases quickly and conveniently.

Use the customer data on file to offer one-click checkout, pre-populate forms, allow shoppers to choose shipping addresses (e.g. for sending gifts directly to recipients,) offer the ability to add recommended products, or apply loyalty points to their orders.

A faster checkout experience will not only improve customer loyalty but also reduce cart abandonment and increase your conversion rate.

Seamless customer experience made possible by personalization

A robust customer data management system and personalization software is the key to delivering an outstanding customer experience that will help you increase sales this holiday season.

In the next installment of this series, we’ll look at how you can use targeted content and email marketing with personalization automation to boost your conversion rate.


The Key to Boosting eCommerce Conversion Rate This Holiday Season (Part 2)

eCommerce will be driving the growth of US retail eCommerce this holiday season. On the flip side, online retailers will also face increased competition as more businesses and merchants recognize the opportunity.

In Part 1 of this series, we showed you how to deliver an outstanding shopping experience to increase eCommerce sales through personalization on your online store.

In this article, you’ll learn how to extend the personalized experience beyond your eCommerce platform to create an outstanding customer experience with targeted content and email marketing automation.

Email isn’t dead!

Contrary to what many are saying, email is far from dead.

In fact, it’s one of the best marketing tools for the busy holiday season when consumers are bombarded with generic messaging from online and offline channels:

  • Email works well with mobile, which accounts for 48% of holiday shopping traffic.
  • Email offers instant buying options.
  • Email can marry targeted content with a specific call-to-action aimed at driving sales.
  • Email automation allows you to deliver relevant offers effective and efficiently.

Here are a few ideas to help you increase sales by using personalized email automation:

Saved cart and reminder emails

Cart abandonment statistics from a recent report show that desktop has a 61% abandonment rate, tablets have a 71% abandonment rate, and mobile has an 81% abandonment rate – which translates into over $4 trillion of merchandise left unpurchased in shopping carts!

To recover some of the sales from abandoned carts, you can send out reminder emails to shoppers who have registered on your site.

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This is a very effective sales recovery tactic. Research has found that nearly 50% of all abandoned cart emails are opened and over 33% of clicks lead to purchases back on site:

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Targeted content

Gift guides create some of the most popular content during the holiday season. Take it to the next level by personalizing them for specific segments of your audience.

Create gift guides that focus on different target markets and send personalized emails to specific segments of your customers, directing them to the content.

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You can further customize shopping experience with an interactive gift selector, such as a quiz on your website, to help shoppers narrow down their choices.

Besides gift guides, publish other holiday-related content that maps to shoppers’ preferences and customer lifecycle and share it with your audience via email and retargeting campaigns.

Deals and discounts

Another way of utilizing email marketing to increase sales is ending personalized offers to your customers.

Email segmentation makes it extremely cost-effective to deliver deals and discounts tailored to the preferences and purchasing behavior of your audience.

By delivering relevant offers, you can increase conversion rate and drive more sales.

Personalized email automation also allows you to send out action-triggered messages. For instance, you can recover abandoned carts by offering a special discount on the specific items in a shopper’s cart via email.

Make personalization automation work for you this holiday season

Personalization is the key to cutting through the clutter by delivering an outstanding customer experience designed to drive sales and improve loyalty.

Thankfully, today’s marketing automation technology means you can put these strategies into action in no time. So, don’t let another year go by without upping your online retail game!

Omnichannel Today – Black Friday Edition

Happy Thanksgiving from NectarOM! As we gear up for the eCommerce holidays of Black Friday and Cyber Monday these are the latest news articles we’ve been paying attention to:

JC Penney’s Retail Reinvention

Unlike Nordstrom’s and Macy’s, JCP is on course to exceed holiday expectations during a season where eCommerce and digital platforms are taking away business from retail. The secret, as CEO Marvin Ellison puts it, is finding the balance between the “art” and “science” of retail. JC Penney is taking a completely different approach to their in-store experience, developing attractive new features such as store-within-a-store kiosks for both younger shoppers and the upcoming cohort Millennial-age parents. Next up for the department store? Focusing on the science side of things by making improvements to their eCommerce, supply chain, and data processing abilities.

Amazon’s ingenious scheme to undermine Black Friday

Black Friday and its younger sibling Cyber Monday are a major source of income for the retail industry every year. Since this last Friday, web giant Amazon has taken advantage of the holiday shopping fervor to entice customers with constantly updated deals and featured items, hoping to sway buyers that won’t miss the authentic “Black Friday Experience” of elbowing through crowded stores. That said, certain stores such as Best Buy and Target have responded to Amazon by making their in-store discounts apply to their eCommerce platforms as well.

Facebook Says Nearly One Third of Online Shopping Transactions Are On Mobile Devices

New data from Facebook suggests that its users are becoming much more comfortable with using mobile devices to shop and make purchases. The social media titan expects a 30% increase in the percentage of users who buy on mobile by the end of the fourth quarter. Facebook researchers also observed that about 45% of all shopping occasions involve mobile devices in some fashion, such as during product research that results in a purchase on a desktop.

Retail enters third phase of digital evolution: ‘Emotional’ eCommerce

A new article from the Financial Times discusses how modern shoppers expect brands to develop a relationship with them over social media and other digital platforms. The thought leaders interviewed point to the success of apps like Instagram, Etsy, and Olapic, who offer businesses the ability to showcase their “human side” to potential customers by using memes, shareable posts, and conversation starters to promote fan engagement over social media.

Other stuff we read this week:

How James Murdoch thinks the ad industry should innovate: ‘Empower the Consumer.’
Here’s how advertisers will be able to target TV viewers who see competitors’ ads
Goodbye privacy, hello ‘Alexa’: Amazon Echo, the home robot who hears it all
Volvo Wants to Use Microsoft’s Sci-Fi Glasses to Sell Cars

Check back next time for the latest developments in omnichannel! We’ll bring you news, facts, opinions, and infographics that will help you gain a broad perspective of the industry. Drop in, stick around, and subscribe to our newsletter – and who knows? You just might learn something.