Independent retailers are scrambling to prepare the right merchandise and desirable offers for holiday shoppers. But in a world where consumers are barraged with deals from billboards, store windows, newspaper ads, TV commercials, websites, mobile apps and more, it becomes increasingly difficult to stand out from the crowd. The key to breaking through the fray is pertinence, according to John Deal, product manager Ohana Companies, a promotional marketing incentives provider. Consumers are price conscious, but they are also value driven, and nothing screams value more than the right offer at the right time. For smaller retailers, it can be difficult to gain mindshare with consumers. So as the holiday season approaches, the path of least resistance is to sell more to your previous customers. They already know your brand, so you’re not coming at them cold, and with targeted offers, you can take advantage of the great experience they had with their previous purchases to generate a repeat purchases and potentially turn them into lifetime customers.
Know More About Your Customers – Collect Valuable Data
In order to create and deliver meaningful, targeted offers to your customers you must first tie contact data to a transaction, Deal explains. There are several ways to get to this information. Appliance retailers, for instance, can leverage delivery information (name, address, phone number) that tracks back to a purchase. Other retailers have different options: mailing list forms, business card drops, collecting email as part of the transaction, etc.
Promotions like rebates and sweepstakes are another avenue to capture information during the redemption/entry process, Deal continues. Customers often are reluctant to give their information at point of sale because they are in a hurry or concerned about privacy. They don’t have these same concerns when redeeming a rebate or entering a sweepstakes. Most of these promotions are run online, so consumers can submit their information from a laptop or iPad in the comfort of their own home, and they’re highly likely to provide complete, accurate information because they want to get paid.
For post-sales transactions like rebates, the sky is the limit with the data you can collect. Besides name, address and email, you might ask:
- How big is their family?
- Do they own a house or rent?
- How many cars do they have?
- Do they do their own repairs?
- Do they have any pets? How many?
The goal, of course, is to form as complete a profile of a given customer as possible to feed the marketing machine for future offers. With these techniques, demographic and contact information can be married to send follow-up offers that are based on what your consumers like, where they live, their life situation and more.
Leverage Data and Deliver Targeted Offers to Drive Sales
The real personal touch, however, comes from bringing the previous purchase data into the fold. By combining purchase history data with demographic and contact information, you can craft extremely pertinent offers that deliver on the very valuable proposition: “Hey, we really appreciate you as a customer and we pay attention to your needs, so this offer is especially for you.” This can play out in any number of different promotions, such as:
- “Thanks again for purchasing your new oven in March. Here’s a special deal on cookware just for you.”
- “We hope you’re enjoying your beautiful gold necklace. We invite you to come in for a cleaning and inspection on us.”
- “Sleeping like a baby in your new bed? Stock up on some wool sheets for winter.”
Now that you’ve nailed offer content, you need to get the word out, Deal remarks. Distribution should cover as many channels as possible. Since independent retailers don’t have the extravagant marketing budgets of the national brands, leveraging email and social media campaigns is a good way to reach a wide audience while keeping your costs in check. Ideally, you’ve engaged your customer through one of these outlets before, so your holiday offer communication is perceived as continuation of a dialogue instead of spam.
Make Your End-of-Year Promotions Count – Partner with a Professional and Knowledgeable Incentive Company
A structured, pervasive data marketing strategy is central to positioning your value among the frenzy. But you don’t have to go it alone, Deal points out. There are firms with extensive promotional and data experience that can help guide you and give you the tools to execute. These firms leverage standard platforms and resources to give smaller retailers economies of scale so they can get affordable promotional services despite being independent.
Between gift giving and trying to take advantage of sales for their own benefit, the holiday season can be overwhelming for consumers. Retailers can break through all the noise, stimulate additional purchases before year end, and build a lasting relationship with their customers by giving them offers that demonstrate they understand their customers’ needs and are there to meet those needs.