Australians are shopping more than ever, with the ABS reporting a record $34.2 billion in retail sales in May 2022, but with rising inflation forcing consumers to tighten belts, many are looking for sales events to get more bang for their buck. While consumers have already taken advantage of events such as Click Frenzy Mayhem and the End Of Financial Year sales, this mid-year celebration is just getting started with Amazon Prime Day (12-13 July) and Click Frenzy JuLove (26-28 July) on the way.

However, as the wave of sales events swells, so too does an overwhelming stream of online marketing, making it difficult for retailers to stand out in the crowd. Consumers today have an incredible range of choice, so your marketing strategy needs to be personal, targeted and engaging to guarantee they choose you. This is where Commerce Media comes in, allowing retailers to activate their first-party data and inventory, and package it for advertisers to drive commerce outcomes.

Recent research by Criteo, following Click Frenzy Mayhem 2022, identified three key consumer trends that retailers can leverage to develop a strong marketing strategy for upcoming sales events. Here is what you should keep in mind:

The early bird gets the worm

Consumers are increasingly conscious of their spending; however, this doesn’t mean they aren’t online planning their next purchase. Criteo’s Click Frenzy Mayhem 2022 research revealed that while purchases remained steady during most of May, there was a large spike on the first day of the event. Sales of apparel & accessories and sporting goods jumped 68% and 36% respectively[1] on the first day of the sale period indicating consumers are not only eager to spend during the sales periods, but also planning ahead so they are ready to purchase as soon as the sales begin.

So how do you ensure your brand or product is top of their list and already in the basket ready for sales day? You need to target these consumers early during their peak consideration phase ahead of the event. They need to know what products you have on offer, what the discounts will be and the timeline of your sales. Begin targeting your key audience in the weeks leading up to the event through Commerce Media, leveraging commerce data and AI to better understand their shopping interests and intent. Better yet, provide a ‘wish list’ option on your website, to allow shoppers time to research and plan, easily access information and then complete the purchase for a seamless end-to-end experience come sales day.

Consumers are considering carefully

While many consumers are planning their purchases in advance, we are also seeing Australians who want to continue researching during the sales events. For larger purchases in particular, a little extra nudge may be needed to get the sale over the line.

Further Criteo research from Click Frenzy Mayhem 2022 found that there is a longer consideration stage for home goods compared to other categories. The overall sales of home goods almost doubled over the three-day event, but interestingly most sales in this category were made on the last day. To help address this, consumer re-targeting is the answer. You can entice them back to your website to purchase by dazzling them with personalised offers and messaging. Partnering with a specialist like Criteo with our Commerce Media Platform can help unlock valuable insights to create a strong retargeting strategy. The strategy, based on machine learning capabilities, enables you to deliver the right message, in the right format, at the right time.

Even at the final stage of the purchase journey, customers can get distracted or need an extra nudge to complete. This is where you can retarget again through display ads highlighting previously searched products, a social media promotion offering a larger discount or an EDM calling out the items left at checkout. Commerce Media only delivers valuable ads recommending things consumers have actively shown an interest in. This ensures your retargeting is on point, helping to build trust and strengthen relationships, which can be leveraged for future brand loyalty.

Product recommendations bring in the dollars

Discovery commerce is becoming more prominent with the rise of personalised product recommendations. No longer are these recommendations based purely off bestsellers. They are increasingly becoming intent-based recommendations – looking at consumer intent signals to determine the items each shopper is most likely to love.

As consumers are on the lookout for a bargain during sales events, guiding them towards other products that might interest them is a great way to increase consumer cart value. If they are looking at a new tennis racket, show them a new tennis skirt and tennis ball set. If they are looking to purchase a TV, highlight the sound system that would enhance their experience. Create an experience that is like shopping with a trusted friend who knows your taste and always suggests something just right. Taking the time to invest in technologies such as first-party data driven Commerce Media also sets retailers up for future sales’ success.

With consumers moving their focus to sales events, retailers need to find the right technology partner to help them drive awareness, consideration and conversions when it matters most. Through utilising tools such as the Commerce Media Platform, your brands’ marketing strategy will be a cut above the rest and your growing sales will prove it.

Colin Barnard is managing director of ANZ at Criteo.

[1] Statistics are in comparison to the average sales between May 1 and May 7, 2022