December is a crucial time of the year for marketers. Most online retailers begin planning for Q4 in July and once Black Friday and Cyber Monday pass, it may seem fruitless to continue making end-of-year optimizations. But now is actually the perfect time to revisit your data and build in-depth customer profiles to give your holiday strategy one final optimization push.
Iterating in real time on the decisions you made back in July could also be crucial to your success this season. For example, if your data shows an unexpected uptick in customers abandoning their shopping carts, you’ll want to know why and address it immediately. Consumers today will also expect you to respond to their actions. According to research from Pricewaterhouse Cooper, 71% of marketers feel that the rise in customer touch points has led to an increase in customer expectations. To leave no stone unturned and make the most of the holiday season, here are a few ideas to get you through the final stretch.
1. Reach last-minute shoppers
If you’re like me, every year there are a handful of people that generously, but unexpectedly, give you a holiday gift. Your customers have those people too and will be more than grateful that once again you’ve thought of everything on your site. Before closing up shop for the holidays, take a look at who your last-minute shoppers were last year. Create messaging that’s targeted specifically to them — such as how they can get the fastest shipping at the lowest cost. To make those messages even more relevant to each individual, make use of each person’s preferences and affinities.
2. Use data from Black Friday for conversion rate optimization
Black Friday is the biggest day of the year for retailers — which also means it’s one of the best sources of customer conversion data. All too often, marketers settle on the results of an A/B test too early or when the sample size is too small. “You should not call tests before you’ve reached 95% confidence or higher. 95% means that there’s only a 5% chance that the results are a complete fluke,” says Peep Laja, founder of ConversionXL, a popular conversion optimization blog. You generated a lot of data on Black Friday, so why wait to act on those insights? Use the data to identify where your conversion optimization strategy may have experienced drop-off points and make changes immediately to make sure you’ve maximized your conversion rate during this high-traffic period.
3. A/B holiday offers for next year
Now that the huge holiday rush of Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed, it’s a lower-risk time to test out new ideas. Did your campaign performance this year give you some ideas of ways you could improve your calls-to-action (CTAs) to be more powerful? Or personalized experiences you could create? The end of the year is a great time to begin some initial testing that could improve your performance this year or inform your planning for next year.
4. Personalize dynamic messaging
During the holidays, shoppers are bombarded with marketing and information from brands. To stand out, an effective way to reach shoppers is with personalized messages and experiences. Using the data that you’ve collected all year, you can experiment with new ways to help shoppers find the information that they need. If you’re new to offering personalized experiences, here are a few different types to get started with:
- Inline content: Add or modify parts of a page seamlessly to personalize them for each visitor. Visitors won’t even realize that personalization is taking place. For example, you could personalize whole sections of your homepage (or any page) based on an individual’s affinities for specific brands or categories.
- Callouts: Use these to highlight a message, special offer or new feature. This way they won’t go unnoticed by visitors to the site. For example, incorporate callouts for any promotions that will resonate with individual shoppers.
- Pop-ups: These are messages that will appear over the top of the content on a site visitor’s screen. They’re an effective way to grab attention, but if abused they’re seen as intrusive. For example, you could incorporate pop-ups that are personalized to each individual showing products they are most interested in upon exit to keep them shopping longer.
5. Seek out customer support insights
Before putting together your plans and strategy for the new year, use the time following Black Friday to gain more insight into the top areas of friction for your customers. Listen in on customers support calls or read live chat logs to better understand what the pain points are so you can address them before the holiday season ends. Make the most of the customers you acquired during your Black Friday and Cyber Monday pushes by strategizing now how you can retain them in the coming year. Optimizing your customer retention rates are a good way to create a predictable revenue stream. Additionally, happy customers can amplify word-of-mouth marketing.
Marketers certainly deserve a chance to kick back a little after doing their due diligence all year to prepare for the holiday months — but don’t let this time go to waste. Now is the best time to fine-tune your plans and optimize your marketing channels to advance your goals now and in the next year.