It’s the most wonderful time of year! Marketers, celebrate the holiday shopping season (the ultimate chance to get cozy with your shoppers by demonstrating value and relevance, of course).
Oracle Marketing Cloud recently released a report titled: Holiday Research 2014 Part 1: Unwrapping Shopper Plans. In the fall of 2014, Oracle Marketing Cloud and Edison Research began a multi-phase study to examine the habits of holiday shoppers. Unlike previous, snapshot studies of consumer intent or self-reported behavior, this project involves both quantitative and qualitative studies of the same sample of consumers during two distinct time periods: October, when consumers are generally in the planning stages, and mid-December, when consumers have either largely finished or are still actively engaged in holiday shopping.
The data offers a granular view of consumer shopping tendencies by uncovering more qualitative feedback on why they plan to shop accordingly. We compiled some specific takeaways that marketers (both B2B and B2C) can employ in their messaging this holiday season to center their communications on these consumer-driven needs, habits, and preferences. After all, ‘tis always the season to be relevant and helpful.
Here are some helpful tips revealed by several of the report’s data points: Follow these for more fruitful, lasting customer relationships.
1. Develop a plan to react and respond to key purchase intent indicators- Retailers in particular need to pay attention to shopper behaviors during the holiday crunch-time and react and respond in near-real-time to key purchase intent indicators, like abandoned shopping carts. Set up alerts to support relevant, helpful outreach at these moments of digital shopping truth. You can encourage a purchase by maintaining a focused presence in consumers’ inboxes based on their search and discovery history.
2. Focus messaging on value-driven offerings- Nearly half (41%) of holiday shoppers surveyed indicated that they did the bulk of their shopping last year in December, and 35% indicated they will do the same this year. The reason appears to be primarily price/value-driven, as 47% said they prefer to wait for discounts, while 27% said they tend to procrastinate. Value-based communications help demonstrate clear relevance to a primary shopping pain point.
3. Holiday shoppers are suffering from ‘mo’ gifts; mo problems’ when it comes to their shopping. The primary reason that some holiday savers are planning to spend less, cited by half (50%) of respondents, is a change in their personal financial situation (which includes unemployment, underemployment, significant expenses, or other pressures on household income). The biggest reason for increased spend was the need to buy a larger quantity of presents (not more expensive presents) due mainly to a larger list of people to buy for (bigger family/circle of friends/etc.) To address this shopping pain point, marketers should center holiday comms on messaging that appeals to the need to buy more but stay on a budget. Offering gift sets, bundled purchases, and buy one/get one values is a helpful way to get consumers’ attention.
4. Mind consumers’ cross channel tendencies- Nearly half (41%) of holiday shoppers indicated they will make the bulk of their purchases online, a clear shift year over year. Though the percentage is decreasing, the majority (59%) of consumers still plan to make most of their purchases in physical stores. The reality is that there is hardly a consumer out there who solely purchases everything online. Most customers shop both in the store and online and retailers need to provide shoppers with a consistent shopping experience regardless of where that customer is shopping.
For more detailed holiday shopping trends, including primary eCommerce shopping destinations, as well as mobile device preference inclinations, check out the full report Unwrapping Shoppers’ Holiday Plans here.