The 2021 retail holiday season is projected to rise 2.7% to $1.093 trillion in sales with ecommerce sales rising 11.3% to $206.88 billion and accounting for nearly 20% of total sales. To ensure a profitable selling period, retailers need to start preparing now.

Leading Australian customer data platform, Lexer has published a Holiday Marketing Guide with nine data-powered campaign ideas that will set retailers up for a successful holiday season.

  1. Gifting campaigns

Many customers will be buying gifts for friends and family so if you can identify these gift buyers in your database, you can easily engage them at the right time each year.

There are a few different ways you can identify segments including customer surveys, inferred segmentation based on past purchasing behaviour, segmenting by customers who purchased gift cards the previous year, as well as frequency and recency of purchases.

Once you identify ‘gifters’ in your database, as well as their motivations for buying gifts, you can target them with personalised marketing campaigns with gift-related messaging.

For example, if you discover a segment of men buying for women, you could send targeted messages including “gift guides for her.” For customers who purchase early in the season, you can upsell them by sending personalised messages. Because many consumers will still be shopping online this year, encourage gift-givers to start gifting early to minimise shipping delays.

2. Treat yourself campaigns

During the holiday season, many shoppers overfocus on spending for others and just need to be reminded that it’s okay to treat themselves, too. Based on order history and predictive analytics, target existing customers a “treat yourself” campaign featuring products they’re likely to be interested in.

For example, Mountain Khakis used real-time insights to retarget gifters with a “treat yourself campaign” and the follow-up campaign encouraged second sales from newly-acquired customers just two to three weeks following their first purchases, resulting in a 7.1x ROI.

3. New customer rewards

Personalised communications throughout the customer lifecycle is critical for any brand—and new customers are no exception. You always need to give new customers a warm welcome.  Identify prospects in your database who’ve yet to purchase from you and send them special offers and messaging to encourage their first purchase.

If you offer a discount for prospects to incentivise them to sign up for your email newsletter, you could segment your prospect database by those who signed up for your email more than a month ago and reactivate the discount for a limited time.

4. Discount segmentation

During the holiday season, you’ll likely get an influx of customers who will only ever purchase from your brand during a sale. However, you’ll also have customers who are always willing to pay full price for your products.

By segmenting your database based on customers’ propensity to buy at a discount, you can identify the discount buyers versus the full-price buyers and target them with separate, personalised offers (or lack thereof) throughout your marketing campaigns to maximise margins while engaging the greatest volume of customers.

5. Re-target last year’s buyers

Often, customers acquired during the holiday season will only purchase again during the next holiday season. Since these shoppers are only likely to purchase during a short period of time, it’s important to target these shoppers during the holidays to grow their lifetime value.

Identify shoppers who bought during last year’s holiday season but haven’t made additional purchases since. By looking into their past purchase data, you can infer their shopping interests and send them personalised product recommendations to encourage a sale. Also design thoughtful, year-round communications to keep your brand top-of-mind.

6. Social campaigns for opted-out customers

If you’re only using email as your primary engagement channel for holiday campaigns, you could be missing out on engaging a huge portion of your database. To reach these customers with holiday communications, segment them by email engagement status and target opted-out customers via paid social instead.

7. Post-holiday upsells and cross-sells

Use past customer data to analyse and understand buying behaviour following holiday purchases. Identify which products customers are likely to purchase next, as well as the most likely time frame for making that second purchase. Set up an automated post-purchase email to send during this time period, with special offers and messages to drive a second sale.

8. Post-purchase surveys

To collect additional information about who your holiday shoppers are, what motivated them to buy, and other critical data that will inform future holiday campaigns, send a follow-up survey after each purchase with a small discount or special offer as an incentive to respond. This strategy can not only provide additional revenue, but also deep customer insights to guide future campaigns.

9. Last chance scarcity messaging

Scarcity is a great call to action, especially during the holiday season, when many shoppers are trying to cross things off their gift list in the midst of busy stores and shipping delays.

To encourage sales using the scarcity technique, send customers a sequenced set of count-down messages informing them of when they need to order to guarantee shipping before Christmas. You can also segment your customers into regions for more granularity with shipping timing. Once the shipping window closes, then you can start to market online gift card offers that you can fulfill digitally.