We know it’s only August, but since the pumpkins and bags of candy are already hitting store shelves, we felt it was time to share holiday readiness tips. So, we hosted a virtual user group—made up of members of the Iterable community—where we covered trends, strategies, and considerations for the upcoming holiday season. We also organized small discussion groups so the attendees could hear from peers and get different perspectives on how to handle the holidays.
Getting this information out early is of particular importance because this holiday season is going to look a little different than those in the past. With the economy teetering on the edge of a recession, retailers are not expecting a huge boom. In fact, according to CNBC, 43% of retailers expect a lower peak season compared to last year.
With inflation impacting buying decisions, student loan payments restarting in October, and Amazon announcing their second annual holiday Prime event, consumers are looking to not only get more bang for their buck, but spending less in general.
Purse strings may be a little tighter these days, but there are still some strategies and tactics retailers can employ to help ensure success this holiday season.
1. Drive Revenue and User Engagement With Personalization
Personalized marketing messages open the door to a wide array of promotions and customer communications. For example, by understanding each customer’s history with your brand, you can offer personalized cross-sells and upsells, sharing related products to those they’ve purchased in the past. Any data you’ve already collected can be used to tailor each individual’s customer experience.
If you’re worried you don’t have enough customer data, time is of the essence! With the death of third party cookies, brands have had to rely on zero-party (directly from the customer) and first-party (behavior-based) data to fuel personalization. There’s no better time than the present to whip up some quizzes and other zero-party data collection methods to help prep your team for the holidays.
2. Take a Cross-Channel Approach
Holiday messages are expanding beyond email as mobile marketing continues to make a huge impact on sales. According to Radial, “overall mobile order share rose from 60% in 2021 to 63% in 2022, with a peak of 68% during Christmas and Boxing week.” While yes, customers can receive emails on their mobile devices, there are mobile-specific channels that can deliver powerful results.
Think about adding channels like push notifications and in-app messaging (if you have a mobile app) or SMS messages to the mix to deliver a seamless experience regardless of where customers interact with your brand.
Iterable Tip: Iterable’s AI-powered Channel Optimization tiles help your team automatically recognize which channels each customer prefers and helps determine the right one at the right time.
3. Test, Test, and Test Again
You’ll never know what works best for your customers if you don’t test out a couple options. Try testing subject lines, different body copy, images—you get it. The key is to start now. Let’s say, for example, you’ve been testing your subject lines and learn that emojis lead to higher open rates. You can use that knowledge to set yourself up for success in the coming months.
You should also keep a close eye on other metrics like send frequency and send times. How often are you messaging your customers, and what time of day? Based on these results you can pinpoint the optimal amount of messages and the right time to send them for maximum engagement.
Iterable Tip: With Iterable’s A/B Testing feature you can run a test between variables and, in-real time, activate the winning result.
4. Keep Loyal Customers Close
Hang onto ‘em and don’t let ‘em go. (…Or something a little less intense than that, but with the same sentiment.) Existing customers are incredibly valuable to brands year-round. According to Invesp, “existing customers are 50% more likely to try new products and spend 31% more, on average, compared to new customers.”
Casting too wide of a net with promotions and ignoring your steadfast, loyal customers could not only be expensive—it costs five times more to attract a new customer versus an existing one—but it would be a huge missed opportunity.
Iterable Tip: Iterable’s Brand AffinityTM can gauge customer sentiment and use that sentiment to determine which messages each customer receives.
5. Give Existing Campaigns a Tune-Up
Getting ready for the holidays doesn’t mean you need to reinvent the wheel. You likely already have a ton of campaigns set up that may just need small tweaks here and there. Take this time to review your abandoned cart and abandoned browse campaigns, evaluate your email list hygiene to make sure your emails will get delivered, and consider how you track your conversions—make sure you can measure success!
There’s a lot you can do to make sure your campaigns are optimized without totally starting from scratch. There are likely areas where you can amp up the personalization and cross-channel harmonization and this is the perfect time to start reviewing.
Iterable Tip: With Iterable’s Deliverability Services you’ll have the support you need to ensure your emails will reach the intended customers and not landing in the spam folder.
Time is of the Essence
Yes, it’s August, but as you can tell, there’s a lot you can do in the next few months to ensure you’re prepared for this year’s holiday season. Like we mentioned, holiday shopping this year is likely going to look a bit different from previous years—so prepping early is crucial. By personalizing messaging, taking a cross-channel approach, testing, connecting with loyal customers, and reviewing existing campaigns, your team will hit the ground running when the holidays arrive.