E-Commerce Holiday Shopping Will Be Huge This Year— Can Retailers Capitalize?

 In digital marketing

Every year, there are headlines proclaiming that holiday shopping begins earlier and earlier. Oftentimes, that’s because retailers move Black Friday— the traditional kickoff of the holiday shopping season— deals earlier and earlier. With the demand for e-commerce holiday shopping increasing this year and the strain on retail supply chains making wait-until-the-last-minute shoppers at risk of leaving empty-handed, consumers and retailers alike agree: the holiday shopping season is already here.

Recent data from Accenture illuminates just how different this holiday shopping season will be for both consumers and retailers, in large part because shoppers want to prioritize their own safety and the safety of retail and essential workers. They found that

  • “76% of consumers want retailers to close on Thanksgiving to give workers a day off or to spend the day with their families” which would be a shift from the traditional Thursday kickoff for most Black Friday shopping
  • “61% of consumers plan to minimize in-store shopping to reduce health risks to essential/retail workers” which would accelerate the year-over-year trend of increased e-commerce holiday shopping.

The holiday e-commerce boom won’t be a flash-in-the-pan, though. The pandemic has already put a strain on the capabilities of retailers’ e-commerce teams. A recent study from Selligent found that 36% of consumers are shopping online at least once a week, which is up from 28% prior to Covid-19. The prospect of increasing infection during the winter months with the desire to stay away from crowds indoors is, as the data from Accenture shows. 

What retailers do today to bolster their ability to handle e-commerce holiday shopping rush will resound into 2021 and beyond. It’s not just about the sales, but also about the customer experience and the customer data that will allow retailers to build a new, loyal e-commerce customer base in the months to follow. 

Three Tips for Maximizing the E-Commerce Holiday Shopping Rush

To help retailers pivot to meet the coming e-commerce wave and capitalize on that momentum in the future, we’ve put together three tips that you can follow today.

1. Ensure you’re capturing as much data as possible.

There are a multitude of tools that make up the e-commerce customer experience— from your social media channels to your e-commerce platform. Make sure they’re configured to capture the data points you need and that the data is visible to the teams that need it. We know, according to research from Splunk, that “55% of an organization’s data is “dark” —unquantified and untapped.”

So not only do you need to ensure that data is being collected, which may include auditing your tags to make sure that they’re firing correctly, you need to make sure that data is accessible to take action on. 

With Chrome pulling the plug on third-party cookies in 2022, the time is running out to collect all of the data you’re used to. And, with more visitors than ever expected this year, you’re going to have the most first-party data available to you than ever before. Effectively capturing that information that will be useful for much longer than any third-party data you might collect by ensuring you’re getting authenticated users and opt-ins to collect data.

Even if you can’t do something with all the data now, you’ve got the customer data to effectively market in the new year.

2. Filter through the noise.

The increase in e-commerce holiday shopping means increased noise in the data signals. If your advertising practice is to cast the net far and wide, you’re going to end up with inefficient ad spend and poor targeting.

Make the most of your holiday campaigns by focusing your ad spend on new consumers with the highest likelihood to buy. One way to do this is with a Customer Data Platform. By creating audiences that reflect your highest value customers, you can create targeted campaigns to find similar consumers in ad networks and on social media. 

3. Get your privacy ducks in a row.

In an environment where identification increasingly requires consent, how you gather that consent during this busiest-ever online shopping season will be critical. You’re trying to capture as much data as possible, but you want that data to be usable in a future where privacy regulations are commonplace. 

Move towards a first-party data strategy this season by making the language around your data collection and consent opt-ins/outs clear and value driven. Consumers need to understand how you’re going to be responsible with their data and why you need their data to provide the best possible customer experience. 

Don’t let legalese turn away customers— and valuable customer data. The more you can create a human approach to what is often one of the first customer touchpoints, the better the relationship will be for you and them in the long run.

Delight Your Customers This Holiday Season

With so many consumers turning to digital channels to safely shop this holiday season, brick-and-mortar retailers have the chance to delight old and new customers by replicating or exceeding the in-store experience. Digitally-native retailers have the chance to attract new shoppers who may have never turned to e-commerce for everything from holiday dinner pantry staples to stocking stuffers.

Beyond what we’ve laid out above, retailers should try to create that consistent experience from channel to channel. Whether engaging customers through social media, the website, chat, or over the phone, you need to know about your customer’s experience with your brand in real time. That’s one area where a real-time CDP like Tealium AudienceStream can make the difference this holiday season for retailers.

Contact us today to find out more about how Tealium can help you turn customer data into a competitive advantage in the competitive world of e-commerce retail, for everything from efficiently targeting ads to providing better customer support over the phone.

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