So many companies put all their eggs into one basket. They expect big sales focusing all of their attention on digital. From brands with limited financial resources all the way up to some of the world’s biggest retail corporations, holiday season selling has been increasingly focused on the digital space. Though this focus is not anti-sales, marketers need to realize that reaching consumers at home goes beyond digital.
Driving online customers to online stores is important, yes. And it’s easy for both company and consumer. They want a new pair of shoes so they go online to your store, click on their favourite item, and some weeks later, they receive it via mail. Then, what happens from a marketing standpoint, typically is that the person who has made this person is then retargeted with ads for similar items.
This is where problems start to occur and why we say not to invest it all in digital. This person has already bought the shoes they’re going to buy. To continually market to them shoes and shoe accessories, it has limited rewards. Even on a good day, an ad’s CTR is less than 0.2 percent. With many retailers making up to 30 percent of their annual revenue in November and December, there’s much investment made in this 0.2 percent. When you’ve got merchandise to move, this is not the only place your financial resources should be put.
The holiday season is a great example of this phenomenon because shoppers are looking to buy product for themselves, their friends, and their family. They just want product. They don’t want to become ‘members’ or to dedicate themselves as a lifelong customer to your brand. They just want their stuff. As long as it arrives on time, it’s good by them. As a company though, depending on the way a customer’s purchase is handled and the quality of product, there is a real opportunity here to make a lifelong customer without even realizing it. Making an investment in infrastructure to ensure that a product is delivered on time and as promised could be a smart way to go.
Another way to take it is that the data reveals several offline channels left untapped in the lead-up to Christmas. Think about it. Nearly all intent data is available online on a direct one-on-one basis. Nearly all meaningful purchase decisions are made at home. Yet, over ninety percent of purchases are not made online. Digital marketing has always worked at driving and collecting data but when it comes to making a meaningful purchase, the vast majority of people still go to non-online channels to buy. No matter if it is something as small and inexpensive as earbuds or something as valued as a new car, consumers prefer non-online buying.
Knowing this, the opportunity to influence someone comes through the thought process regarding making a meaningful purchasing decision. For example, in making their decisions, most consumers either visit online review sites such as Amazon to check out a product or service, read through articles published online, may even call a specialty store to inquire about delivery, will consider coupons and offers received, and sometimes seek out advice from friends. Most shoppers are going to hit upon two of these components at least, irrelevant of what product or service is being bought.
The real power is in intent data and reaching users at home though not necessarily through digital platforms. The amount of data that marketers have on their customers should reveal opportunities to reach them in ways that are relevant and meaningful. This may involve sending them coupons or special offers, creating media pieces to be distributed online, or it may be in partnering with another brand to create online and offline marketing content designed to entice the consumer.
Digital is certainly important but holiday retail marketing needs to move past the limitations of that and instead, seek to influence the offline moments when the real purchasing decisions are being made. The companies that are going to succeed this holiday season will be the ones who make the most out of that influence. Marketers and digital marketing agencies have a real opportunity to combine traditional and new approaches to drive holiday sales. By investing the time into crafting an online/offline strategy, you can help foster long-term organizational success while subsequently winning over new customers.