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Delivering Personalized Experiences is Key to Holiday Shopping

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The Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. shoppers went online to purchase holiday gifts and score Black Friday deals they once crowded into malls to grab, as the coronavirus pandemic accelerated the years long remaking of the U.S. retail landscape.

The newspaper reported that roughly half as many people visited stores on Black Friday as they did last year, according to research firms that track foot traffic. Meanwhile, online spending jumped 22% from a year ago, making it the second-best online shopping day ever measured by Adobe Analytics.

For the six key weeks of the holiday season this year, traffic in retail stores is expected to be down 22% to 25% year over year, an earlier forecast by Sensormatic Solutions said.

Advertise to Individuals with Relevance

Richard Jones, CMO at Cheetah Digital, says that those that win in this rather saturated marketplace will be those that deliver truly personalized marketing and experiences.

“Advertising to individuals with relevance and asking them about their interests, motivations, and desires, rather than inferring or snooping on them,” he says. “Brands should be relying on deep data insights, first and zero-party data and using machine learning to derive not only the right content, not only the right offer, not only the right channel but the right sequence of events that leads to an automated path to conversion.”

Jones says that to collect the data required to power true personalization, consumers need to be entertained, engaged, and receive something in return for their attention and preference data.

“Marketers can deliver this through holiday-themed interactive experiences that conduct research, accrue opt-ins, and deliver an altogether better experience with a value exchange for the consumer,” he says. “Think favorite Christmas movie polls, trick-or-treat quizzes, or Thanksgiving menu social stories that incorporate reward mechanics that give consumers a genuine reason to engage and submit their data.”

Delivering on Personalization

Guy Cierzan, managing partner ICF Next, adds that there are a number of trends shaping the retail experience, one of which is really delivering on personalization.

“Despite new shopping behaviors and physical restrictions, retail brands can still connect with customers and make the experience more relevant by providing a more personal ‘touch’ in customer service, reacting to declared wish lists and favorites or simply recognizing local differences and preferences,” Cierzan says.

“Customer relationship management is the key to engaging customers and continuing to foster a relationship and maintain loyalty on a more personal level by knowing their location, preferences, and potentially new shopping habits,” he says.

Jones says that capturing consumer motivations, intentions, interests, and preferences at scale allows for a truly personalized customer experience.

“By leveraging the right mechanics, and offering a value exchange, your customers will tell you the holiday products they desire, what they look for in a service, and what motivates them to purchase,” he says.


Visit https://www.icf.com/next and https://www.cheetahdigital.com

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