Keeping Your Customers After the Rush

Patti RennerMy sister is a terrific baker; however, her pies have a strange way of disappearing after the holiday guests are gone. It’s odd really. When you leave a pie on the counter the day after Thanksgiving, the pieces begin to quietly “evaporate.” Perfect tall triangles of congealed fruit and crust soon morph into abstract shapes. Fork tracks appear on once-smooth cut edges. No one in my house seems to have an explanation for this.
So what happens to your “business pie” after the rush of Black Friday?

Industry analysts anticipate a 14.3 % jump in online retail sales this holiday season. The trick is to protect your pie long after the holiday, and build lasting relationships year-long with consumers that sought you out for those great Black Friday deals.

To quote from eMarketer’s recent “Online Holiday Sales Forecast” report, “Deloitte also expects online research will influence in-store shopping this holiday season, as social networks and mobile applications play a more prominent role in the shopping process. Deloitte recommends that retailers seek to deliver tightly integrated and consistent merchandise, inventory and promotional messages to cross-channel shoppers.”

You already know that cross-channel holiday shoppers are researching online as part of their buying strategy. And this season, even more consumers are armed with mobile devices in the field. Holiday shoppers are using the digital tools necessary for more efficient shopping – to find the best gear at the best price. Expect this trend to grow – which can be a huge advantage to your brand when managed well.

Cross-channel shoppers are sitting at your table. They’re surfing and sampling what you have to offer. Your direct digital marketing strategy should welcome them back for seconds. And thirds. When on your site, serve up the content they want most. When on their mobile device, be sure the experience is a quality one.  Use that customer data to specifically serve their needs, wants and interests. By making better use of the data gathered from this holiday season (Q4) and integrating it into a cross-channel approach for 2011, your brand can move beyond a one-time gift buy and into a customer relationship that lasts.

Having behavioral data without the proper tools to put it to work for you is kind of like leaving a pie on the counter. Little by little, bite by bite, sales can disappear. And if your current provider doesn’t have the capabilities to capture and integrate customer behavioral data into your digital marketing campaigns, you have some shopping of your own to do this season.  

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