We all love a good sale. Who doesn’t want to save big on their next appliance or take advantage of a two-for-one deal? Fortunately for consumers, we’re experiencing an influx of sales and promotions across all areas of retail right now, from Amazon Prime Day last month to ongoing back-to-school sales and specials surrounding the Labor Day holiday.
Traditionally, these annual milestones are some of the most lucrative times of the year for companies. For example, back-to-school is considered the second biggest shopping season of the year, with average household spending for 2018 predicted to be as much as $510. As a result, nearly 90 percent of retailers increased their marketing spend on mobile and social media last year in anticipation of the buying frenzy.
Similarly, this year’s Amazon Prime Day was, yet again, one for the books. In fact, the ecommerce giant dubbed the day-and-a-half sales bonanza its “biggest in history,” with Prime members taking advantage of more than 1 million deals worldwide, spanning everything from kitchen appliances and smart devices to food and beauty products.
While these events are certainly significant traffic and sales drivers for Amazon and major back-to-school suppliers like Target, Walmart and Staples, they also present an enormous opportunity for the thousands of other businesses that sell through these marketplaces to gain visibility and draw in new customers.
For example, small and medium-sized businesses saw more than $1 billion in sales from Prime Day alone. Gourmet tea purveyor Tea Forte praised this year’s Prime Day as its biggest sales day of the year, with customers purchasing one of their products every two seconds. Similarly, family-owned One Savvy Life claimed sales spiked on Prime Day to 10 times their daily average.
The opportunities these massive sales events afford independent businesses is unquestionable, but what happens once these shopping sprees come to an end? How do brands convert these fair-weather purchasers into long-time customers?
Personalize the Experience
In truth, the fun doesn’t really start until the major sales end.
If all goes well, you’ll end up poring over a long list of purchasers who took advantage of your deals, providing you access to more customer data than ever before. This information has the potential to unlock vital insights into your target audience. For example, you’ll want to parse out:
- What they are buying (Accessories to larger products? Recurring goods?)
- When they are buying (In the morning? After work?)
- How they are buying (On their mobile devices? At a desktop?)
All key questions marketers must answer to make their next move.
The importance of taking the time to understand these patterns and create a holistic picture of your customer cannot be understated. Prospects funneled in from Prime Day, for example, will likely be used to a certain type of experience – namely, the highly engaging and truly personalized one Amazon has curated and perfected over the years. To convert one-time purchasers into long-standing buyers, brands must reach the high bar set by these household names.
Fortunately, today’s marketers have the tools and information they need to rise to the challenge and make their touchpoints after Prime Day and back-to-school sales impactful, memorable and meaningful.
It’s About the Journey, Not the Destination
As the adage implies, the path to success in customer experience isn’t marked by reaching the end (if there even is one); it’s about making the journey count. By understanding a customer’s journey, brands can more effectively plan, orchestrate, react to and ignite real-time customer experiences that matter.
Let’s take the example of a customer who bought a tablet during a back-to-school deal or on Prime Day. There’s a clear opportunity to continue to engage with this individual with the goal of turning them into a loyal customer and brand advocate – but it’s important to tread carefully.
Today’s consumers are so inundated with media and promotions from every direction that they’re quick to swipe away or delete anything that isn’t perfectly tailored to their needs – making one-size-fits-all emails and websites a thing of the past. It is the job of today’s marketer to know what these needs are – oftentimes before the consumer does. Fortunately, journey mapping is making this possible, allowing brands to strategically predict a consumer’s next move and respond accordingly.
In the case of our new tablet owner, it simply doesn’t make sense to push tablet promotions out to them. Since they just bought a new device, these promotions will seem redundant and impersonal – a one-way ticket to their trash folder.
However, by bringing diverse sets of data about this individual together, the company may see an opportunity to share its latest deals on tablet cases and screen protectors – items this individual may be keen to buy to safeguard his or her new product. What’s more, knowing this individual purchased their tablet in the evening, the company may decide to push its promotion out to him or her after work, when they are more likely to buy.
Bring Reliability and Time-Savings to the Table
Another important aspect to consider as you foster long-term relationships with these prospects is their time. While a deep discount may have brought them in, more likely a convenient and seamless experience is what will keep them coming back – especially where busy parents and tech-savvy millennials are concerned.
Historically, marketers and brands have heavily emphasized price, but this can only take us so far in today’s landscape. Today’s consumers are busier than ever before, and the best brands are the ones that help them save time.
If the process to engage with your brand is arduous and lengthy, even the most precisely targeted campaign will fall on deaf ears. The user experience must be intuitive, where customers can easily find what they need and be on their way.
Similarly, ensure all communication channels are continuously updated with customers in mind. A set-it-and-forget it approach to your website, for example, is no longer enough. When evaluating your digital presence, be sure to ask yourself:
- Is my content streamlined?
- Is my site easy to navigate on the devices my customers are using?
- Is my site visually compelling?
- Is my content updated and timely?
Just like our tablet owner, who may be quick to swipe away a pesky notification that comes in during their morning meeting, consumers are quick to close out of a website that’s overly complex, lacking in responsiveness and difficult to navigate – putting an end to the relationship before it’s even started.
Making the Next Move
Prime Day and back-to-school season continue to be significant traffic drivers for many companies, but the journey with these customers has only begun. It’s now up to each brand to make the next move count – so get to know your customer and, in the words of Humphrey Bogart, it might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Lynne Capozzi is Chief Marketing Officer of Acquia