5 Tips to Help Retailers Prepare for the 2021 Holiday Shopping Season

 In Customer Centricity, Insights and Analytics, Tag Management, Uncategorized

It’s that time of the year again as retailers begin to plan their strategy for another busy holiday shopping season.

And last year was definitely one for the books with digital engagement reaching all-time highs and in-store shopping on hold. However, even though in-store shopping will be back this year, consumer preferences have shifted, meaning retailers can still expect high levels of digital engagement.

That said, a good first step when preparing your holiday strategy is to reflect on those new consumer attitudes and learnings from last year.

Consumer expectations in 2020 and how they’ll change in 2021:

Buyers want safe experiences

Last year, customer safety took shape with in-store cleaning procedures and maximum occupancies. This year, consumers still want safe experiences but are instead referring to increased data security and trusted interactions with brands.

This attitude around privacy isn’t just applicable to the holiday shopping season. In fact, consumer attitudes around privacy began to change when the CCPA and GDPR went into effect and have only continued to reach new heights ever since third-party cookies started to crumble.

Buyers want convenience

When we hear the word “ecommerce” we tend to think of traditional online shopping from a desktop website. And while online shopping was the poster child of convenience last year, it’s predicted that 73% of total ecommerce sales will happen on mobile in 2021. This forecast may come as a troubling surprise to brands whose mobile experiences aren’t quite up to par, especially with consumer personalization expectations continually on the rise.

Buyers want personalization

Again, this is not a new concept, but what is new is how personalization is being executed. However, if you’re unable to access crucial insights in real time, keeping up with your customers will be challenging.

5 tips for meeting consumer expectations this holiday season

The consumer expectations we just discussed may seem daunting, but really there’s nothing out of the ordinary going on here. In fact, meeting these expectations is something you’re probably already doing with your year-round customer data strategy.

However, the complication with meeting these expectations during the holidays is the digital surge and influx of data that is guaranteed to come again this year. 

Luckily, we’re here to help! Keep reading to see five tips to help you capitalize on the 2021 holiday season.

1. Design your strategy around privacy

At Tealium, we like to call this privacy by design, meaning you are baking in ways to prioritize customer privacy from the start, rather than going back in and squeezing it in later. Oftentimes when we hear ‘privacy’ we immediately feel restricted. However, implementing value exchange along with centering your strategy around privacy from the start can not only help you drive stronger personalization, but also help with identification.

2. Implement value exchange for personalization and recognition

Like we just said, value exchange and privacy will go hand in hand. If you’re unfamiliar with value exchange, it is exactly what it sounds like; you offer something of value to your customers (i.e. discounts, free shipping, a better experience, etc.) and they give you a crucial piece of information for identification such as an email address or phone number.

There are many benefits to incorporating value exchange into your data strategy even outside of the holiday season. For starters, this allows you to easily identify returning customers after the holidays as well as strengthen your one-to-one relationships with your customers, making them more likely to return once the snow has melted.

3. Make sure your tech is all on the same page

Like we said, data is going to be coming at you left and right so it’s crucial that all of your tech is working together so none of the insights you need get left behind.

Our Customer Data Platform is vendor neutral, meaning we not only work with all of your existing tech (and yes we mean all of it), but also optimize what you already have. This enables you to see complete pictures of your customers and use those 360º views to activate campaigns in real time.

4. Navigating code freeze with better tag management

Believe it or not, there are actually ways to avoid getting trapped in the holiday code freeze. With a tag management system (TMS) like Tealium iQ, you’re able to deploy a single tag on your web and mobile channels. From there, you can easily add, edit or remove the tag of any vendor solution. 

This means marketers are free to use the tag management solution to manage their tags by themselves through the web-based interface, without requiring any web site coding.

5. Have a back-up plan already in place!

With how much traffic retailers will receive this holiday season, it’s inevitable that some experiences won’t make the nice list. Instead of dwelling on and ignoring those negative experiences, be proactive and think through contingencies ahead of time. 

For example, have an email campaign ready that apologizes for an item being out of stock. Or personally reach out to high value customers and assure them the discrepancy they experienced on your mobile site is being resolved to ensure their loyalty stands.

It’s also crucial to understand where consumers get frustrated on your site or what issues they face in terms of product, shipping, etc. By gathering these insights, you can not only better prepare for surges to come, but it also shows your customers that you care. 

Looking for more tips for crafting your strategy for the holiday season? Check out our holiday retail readiness panel with AWS, Braze, and Quantum Metric to hear their tips for capitalizing on the digital surges ahead!

Or check out our Retail Marketing Readiness Holiday Tool Kit to get our complete guide to holiday success and see inspiring retail-specific use cases.

Here’s to your best holiday season yet!

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