What Your Holiday Shopping Data Says About Your Discount

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Jenne BarbourIn this special guest feature, Jenne Barbour of Teradata gives us her insights into the business cases for utilizing big data in the retail space. Jenne Barbour leads solutions strategy for Teradata Integrated Marketing Cloud. Her background is in data-driven marketing, customer engagement, loyalty marketing, CRM, and social marketing, with focuses on retail, complex system integrations, and making customer relationships more profitable.

It’s the most wonderful time of year – and retailers are working to make profits and customer satisfaction just as nice. By 2018 online retail sales are predicted to hit $414 billion, up from an expected $294 billion this year, and data-driven insights are the guiding light for marketers this holiday season. As consumers are focused on finding the best possible bang for their buck, companies are working hard to collect the meaningful data behind every point, click and purchase.

From information on customers’ previous purchases, web browsing history – even social media activity – companies are using near instantaneous analysis of data to adjust prices, special offers and communication with customers in real-time based on shopping habits. Below are a three varying shopping behaviors where retailers can use data to identify and encourage purchases.

The Bargain-Hunters and Impulse-Buyers

Information gathered can affect what a person pays for a particular item. In some instances a customer may be very price-sensitive and looking for the best deal. Other customers are perfectly happy paying full price for an item if it means they can have it first. Data can help companies differentiate between customers who are often willing to pay full price for merchandise versus those who will only shop if they get a discount.

And consumers take heed: Loyalty does not always lead to low prices. Data helps companies identify impulsive versus cautious purchasing habits. If a retailer knows first availability to an item is more motivating to a customer than a discount, why should they drop the price? Having access to all this data will really help determine what sort of discount, if any, that individual will receive.

The Social Loyalists

An important objective to bear in mind is to collect this data for the consumer’s benefit, not primarily your company’s monetary gain. Companies should use it to understand what individual consumers value and send them targeted messages and offers tailored to their individual priorities. Foster personalization and loyalty, and consumers and companies alike will reap the rewards.

As social becomes a primary means of communication, companies are increasingly leveraging traditional holiday shopping channels to drive customers to connect on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest where they can get exclusive offers only available online, before, during and after the holiday peak season. Branded hashtags on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter can also be used to create contests or promotions and drive further consumer content engagement and data, in channels consumers enjoy frequenting.

The Non-Committals

Data can also help identify when a consumer has gone on a shopping spree, only to have cold feet at check-out and abandon their cart. In addition to analyzing why that happened, retailers can meanwhile nudge the customer with an instant offer or discount to reel them back in and complete the purchase.

Holiday shopping is also time-sensitive, so it tends to sneak up and overwhelm shoppers. Some in turn may abandon their purchase, or avoid online shopping altogether due to increased shipping fees. Companies can encourage purchase by creating a sense of urgency with strong reminders to buy now, rather than waiting until shipping costs go up and guaranteed delivery is unavailable – eliminating the panic and seeing conversions go up.

All in all, it’s having the wherewithal to capture and make sense of individualized insights that fosters trust-based brand relationships, and smart retailers will use today’s solutions to make the most of the holiday season, both for themselves AND for their loyal customers.


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