The first half of this year has seen consumer spending drop to its lowest point in over 30 years. At the same time, businesses are working with shrinking budgets and tighter margins.

Today, consumers are expecting more from brands they shop with, while making further considerations about their purchases. Research from Wunderkind into the spending habits of Aussies found over half (52%) have switched to more affordable alternatives amidst the rising cost of living.

With the sales season just around the corner, there are many unknowns as to what Aussie retailers can expect from consumer spending. Amongst it all, there is one certainty: capturing and using first-party customer data is key to capitalising on demand during peak periods.

So, here are three marketing strategies to boost revenue this sales season and beyond.

1. Build an effective tech stack

With an efficient tech stack organisations can avoid financial drain and gain agility and adaptability. However, many retailers are still using legacy tech systems with multiple platforms and tools that have accumulated overlap.

Firstly, doing an audit of your tech stack is key. Here you can gain a greater understanding of which tools are covering what functionality, which applications are delivering what, and how much they’re used. Understanding this will help you determine the return on investment (ROI) of tools within the tech stack and how efficient they are. Lastly, you can determine how each system aligns with future business goals.

Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools, for example, are an essential part of the tech stack, particularly during high-traffic periods like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. CDPs and CRMs gather all relevant customer data which marketers can then use to centralise the relevant data points, track lead generation, and trigger personalisation capabilities.

When thinking of updating your existing tech stack or adding something new, be sure that each tool will work in collaboration rather than in silos. It’s important to remember to balance legacy technology with emerging tools. Aim for a stack that maximises efficiency while driving ROI and business outcomes, and reduces the cost of acquisition.

2. Make the most of your website experience

The sales season will inevitably see retailers ramp up paid media spend and invest heavily into new customer acquisition. Given the heightened volume of traffic during this period, delivering a streamlined onsite experience becomes even more crucial. In the short term, doing so can increase the cart value of purchases over Black Friday – but continued success relies upon turning these ‘one-hit wonder’ buyers into loyal repeat customers.

While a customer might be initially drawn to your site to take advantage of a limited-time sale or discount offer, it doesn’t, and shouldn’t, stop there. Capturing the customer’s data – ideally through behaviourally triggered on-site experiences – is vital to growing your owned, addressable database and unlocking a cost-efficient way to re-engage your audience.

Once your customer has provided their details, you can then implement smart nurturing and retargeting strategies such as personalised category, product and cart abandonment messaging. Another effective way to convert interested customers is reaching out with stock updates based on the items they have viewed – for example, price drop, or low in stock messaging.

This period is critical for bagging those sales, but it’s also about considering long-term, lifetime value and how to convert that temporary spike in sales traffic to sustainable, ongoing sales and growth. Thinking about the long-term goals and lifetime customer value ensures that increased media spend continues paying dividends – something that’s growing increasingly important in the context of shrinking marketing budgets.

3. Utilise performance in conjunction with brand marketing

Wunderkind’s recent ‘CMO State of the Union’ report found brand marketing typically receives a significant portion of the overall marketing budget, with 26 per cent of marketing executives indicating it as their top investment for this year. Meanwhile, 23 per cent of executives surveyed stated they’re prioritising performance marketing within their marketing spend.

When used in conjunction, performance and brand marketing share the same goal: to create engaging, memorable experiences that resonate with businesses’ target audiences to increase market share and revenue.  In the lead-up to sales season, competition for consumer attention is fiercer than ever – meaning that engaging, brand-forward creative (as well as a smart media plan) will be key to cutting through the noise.

While the sales season is an important time for driving revenue, the retailers that thrive will be the ones who look beyond the short-term goals and conduct strategies with a long-term focus.

Jamie Hoey is general manager of Australia at Wunderkind.