10 Techniques to Squeeze More Out of Holiday Buyers

Holiday buyers are a unique segment of your catalog’s house file. Here are some effective tactics to help treat holiday buyers differently.

1. Segment your holiday buyers by the date range of your holiday buying season. Rather than fit them into traditional RFM segments, put them as a specific holiday recency segment – say, Oct. 15 to Dec. 31 holiday buyers.

2. Plan a different frequency for the holiday buyers during the holiday season, such as consider extra mailings, late season mailings, and e-mails to holiday buyers. Consider hotline mailings to hit early season buyers one final time in December. Test a mailing to arrive in-home during the week between Christmas and New Year to holiday buyers who didn’t get what they wanted from Santa Claus.

3. Plan a different frequency of holiday buyers for the non-holiday quarters. Drop money to the bottom line by not mailing them as frequently during the first three quarters.

4. Use the co-op database’s time bandit models to find the best holiday buyers in your house file and among prospect files. The time bandit models can also be used to suppress your house buyers who aren’t buying gifts from your catalog.

5. Always segment out Web buyers from the last holiday season. One-time web buyers who purchased during the holiday season should have lower frequency of mailing than other recent buyers.

6. If you can segment specific merchandise as gift items, do it. Typically you should mail these buyers of gift items less frequently, especially if they’ve only bought from you a single time.

7. Segment and separate gift ship-tos from ship-tos in which the bill-to and the ship-to are the same name. Test mailing to both gift ship-tos and your same name / different address ship-tos.

8. One-time holiday buyers will respond less than two-time-plus holiday buyers so tailor your mailing schedule to one-time buyers to shelter your profits and make sure the buyer mail drop is well above breakeven.

9. Test mail last year’s gift buyers early in the season. Personalized reminders and ink-jet messages will stimulate repeat gift purchases this season.

10. Consider covers, cover wraps, package inserts, and extra catalog page signatures with holiday gift items using demographic binding to focus on the season theme and point customers to hot gift items.

Jim Coogan is president of Santa Fe, NM-based catalog consultancy Catalog Marketing Economics.

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