If you ask around in retail, you’ll likely get mixed answers as to why Americans call the day after Thanksgiving Black Friday. Perhaps the most enduring legend is that Black Friday was the day retailers’ winning slips switched from red to black.
But in our new digital economy, that legend is being put to the test. Stores like Target started their Christmas sales on November 1st this year. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the trend we’ve already seen in the retail industry – more consumers are snagging great deals off their couch, and Cyber Monday continues to gain momentum. The profit made on Black Friday is now spread over a whole month.
With such a dramatic change in the way we shop, Black Friday (and the weeks surrounding it) is no longer just about winning money. It’s about building relationships with consumers—whether it’s re-introducing it to a consumer who hasn’t visited in a while to restore that trust and relationship, or building a whole new relationship with a buyer. The key to building those relationships? clean data. Here’s why retailers keeping tabs on the master data they collected this November could see improved sales — and improved customer experiences — in 2021:
Understand which promotions work and which don’t
When it comes to Q4, retailers have customers’ attention. Buyers have gift lists to check off. So once they’ve found the right deal, they’re more likely to be encouraged to buy than window shop. However, once the holiday season is over, that pressure is gone. To boost sales from January to October, retailers need to personalize offers and convince a customer that they really need to buy an item before they leave the site.
The data collected in Q4 can help with these personalization efforts, but only if retailers clean and leverage it. Perhaps the best place to start is with the app — analytics firm App Annie estimates that Android users alone will spend 50% more time on shopping apps in Q4 2020 than they did in Q4 2019, with more than 1 billion hours invested. These shoppers use promotional codes, tap on push notifications, and take advantage of flash sales. We can track all kinds of data on how they do it – what specific promo code did they use before purchasing an item? Were they unable to convert for a sale but continued when the item was 5% cheaper? Do they deliver to your home or do you collect the item in store?
Data collected during the holiday peak season can help guide marketing efforts throughout the year. Retailers can offer email and push notification campaigns to promote the brands customers bought in Q4. You can create better suggestions for items that the customer might be interested in. You can even determine what time of day an offer should be sent to best capture the customer’s attention. Opportunities to collect this type of data at this scale are few and far between.
Closing the deal on the Internet
Q4 can help us gather good data on what customers are buying – but just as important is what they haven’t bought and why. It could be that the price wasn’t quite where the customer wanted it to be. But selling doesn’t always depend on price. Important information may be missing on the product page, e.g. B. product dimensions or photos, which makes the customer reluctant to buy the item unseen – especially with a very short return window before Christmas. The checkout process could also cause retailers to bleed customers dry; According to studies by the Baymard Institute, an average of 70% of shopping carts are abandoned. Hidden fees, lengthy forms, and sign-up requirements are among the top reasons customers abandon an item.
With so many customers flocking to websites and apps this holiday season, retailers can collect a tremendous amount of data on how customers explore their website and why they leave. Which products are most searched for and viewed but not bought? This could mean incomplete product data. Do customers abandon their shopping cart on the last page before clicking “buy”? Hiding taxes and shipping costs up to this page could affect the final sale.
Retailers should use the browsing data they’ve collected over the bank holiday weekend — and during this shopping season — to conduct an intelligent, data-driven website and app makeover in early 2021. You can update product specifications, add more accurate product photos, and improve visibility of additional fees (even better, remove additional fees!) early in the checkout process. Retailers who can use data to identify key actions can improve their customer experience and build loyalty that will help keep their app on customers’ phones well beyond December.
Get the most out of data
The data retailers collect during the holiday season can be invaluable, but it can also be worthless if not managed properly. Customer and product data often reside in different silos, making it nearly impossible to make product and website improvements based on insights gained from comparing different types of data. Data also needs to be continuously cleaned and updated; customized email offerings are less effective when the retailer sends duplicate emails to a customer, calling into question their ability to protect the data.
Retailers planning to leverage their data during the holiday season should consider solutions to manage the information overload. Investing in technologies like master data management can break down data silos, giving retailers visibility into customer and product data from a single system — and when retailers have a 360-degree view of their data, they can make more informed decisions about where improvements should be made did. MDM also comes in handy when making these improvements. For example, if size information is missing from the product page for a coffee table, MDM can help syndicate the updated product information efficiently and consistently across all platforms where that table is advertised.
Holidays are a busy time for retailers and their shoppers, but it’s important to keep an eye on the future. By generating new deep insights from clean and trusted data using the information gathered in November, retailers can take more informed actions that will keep their customers coming back throughout 2021.