5 tips for successful holiday campaigns for retail

November 28, 2017 Data-driven customer journey

5 tips for successful holiday campaigns for retail

End of the year is closing fast on us and holiday season usually means good sales, but with good preparation and pinpoint execution it is possible to make good GREAT!

This is why we wanted to dish out these five tips, that based on our experience, can be the difference that makes the difference.

1. Communicate relevantly to your customers -don’t spam!

Less is more, even during holiday season -more sales should not equal more messages to the customers. People will get most marketing messages during end of the year, which means that your message has to stand out from the mass to be noticed and drive sales. In addition for email campaigns targeted messages improves deliverability compared to mass mail but also decreases unsubscribes.

Segment your customers into audiences based on:

  • What they have browsed going into the holiday season
  • What they have tended to buy historically in holiday season
  • Or use their geographic location to drive traffic into the closest store.

Small targeted audiences + more relevant messages = More sales!

2. Enrich data for holiday season and use it

All useful data which can be used during holidays to target your campaigns is worth it’s weight in gold. Having and using data about your customers’ sex, buying tendencies and location is great. But we want you to take one step further and try to get to know what every customer is planning to buy this year.

How to do it? Here are few examples

  • Do the same category offering on your site with targeted banners. The banner clicks can be then in turn used to segment your customers
  • Create a poll on your website asking about your customers preferences, or have it embedded in your email. Below is a great example of this from Ikea. (For non finns, they are asking ‘What does your living room need the most for the holidays?’)
  • (Send an email to a customer with a discount or free delivery for gifts combined with links to your different categories. Most likely customer clicks the one they are most interested in.)

Enrich your data and use it

A Screenshot from

All of this data is valuable for your targeting purposes, as it’s something that is very up-to-date compared for example what your customer browsed or bought last Christmas. So even though they don’t right away buy something, you have the chance to target based on this info and give them a bit of a nudge to the right direction with spot on gift ideas or product recommendations. Or even offers if your margin’s allows.

3. Get creative with omni-channel data

Being able to collect in-store customer and sales data and use that effectively for marketing and sales is a key for perfecting the holiday season. A simple, yet useful application is to decrease spam by excluding customers who have recently bought the same products from stores from your abandoned shopping cart messages. Or tell customers what is happening in the store that they buy most often, whether it’s online or physical store.

One of the best applications for in-store data is catching customer's location in stores even if they don’t buy - this is the clearest indication possible (including browses from your webstore) that customer is on the lookout for gifts. One way of doing this is to give customers a reason to identify themselves in stores (promotion, discount, special in-store offer) and catching that store location to their data. After this, it’s child's play to search out customers who have been in the stores but haven’t bought anything there or online and target them.

4. Give your customers a panic button

People's inboxes are going to explode from all the holiday offers and promotional campaigns for the end of the year. Many will want to unsubscribe. Make sure that if they do unsubscribe, it will be from your holiday mailing list only. Separating your general mail subscription from your holiday subscription allows you to give customers a break during November and December, without losing them for good for other communication: They just might be eagerly waiting for your first message of the new year and never receive it if they unsubscribe altogether, so give them the panic button to relieve their inbox for the holiday season!

5. Plan, execute, evaluate

Be sure to have a clear plan what do you want to communicate to your customers and when. For Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas create audiences of customers who have bought on these dates last year and have different targeted message alternatives ready. However don’t forget to have flexibility here for ad-hoc campaigns that you can implement on the go, if you see good tendencies, create a quick campaign and chase the good selling.

Communicate all the deadlines clearly to your customers. For example tell your when is the last hour to place an order to get the gifts home in time and when do your special offers and discounts end.

Constantly keep on eye on how your campaigns and actions are performing. Follow-up conversion percentage from both online and offline. Which message worked and generated most money or drove most traffic to stores and why? How can you duplicate the success and constantly improve. In addition, for emails look constantly at the opens, clicks and unsubscribes - these give a good indication if your message was relevant enough and that you’re not driving your customers away with spamming.

Happy holiday season and great sales!

Custobar is a customer communication platform enabling effective use of all customer and transaction data in marketing. If you got interested about Custobar or want to hear more about any of tips discussed in this text, contact us.