- By Nick Frost
As summer rides off gracefully into a sunset, that yearly epiphany of “Oh hey, the holidays are coming up soon!” is starts to creep back into shoppers’ minds. Like clockwork.
If you’ve been preparing for the influx of shoppers, there’s a chance you’ve been analyzing your data and re-wallpapering your office with creative idea Post-its the last little while (along with reading our gift-wrapped campaign inspiration and holiday campaign preparation tips) to brace yourself for holiday impact in just a few short months.
Part three of our holiday series looks at putting your focus on obtaining and using the most complete insights to guide your customer’s journey at every stage, from search to sale. Think of it like a string of sparkling holiday lights — if even a single step in the journey isn’t plugged into the right data, the rest of the sequence won’t light up either.
In this post, you’ll learn about:
- How many channels Canadians are using to complete their journeys
- The growing popularity of chatbots
- The need that can’t be stressed enough: keeping your data clean
- Great go-to insights for the leadup to your holiday campaign
Go Omnichannel or Go Home
Never underestimate the power that all channels of communication possess when the holidays come around.
Customers have every kind of resource available at their fingertips to be able to make fully informed buying decisions 365 days per year — and it’s your business (yes, yours!) that’s expected to keep up by giving them a seamless experience that brings together as many of those channels as possible.
During the 2016 holiday shopping season, 56% of Canadians used four or more channels within a 48-hour period leading up to a purchase. (And of course, just to be clear, by “channels,” we mean everything: apps, desktop websites, mobile websites, search engines, social media, chatbots, your physical store, etc. Everything.)
That means well over than half of the shoppers in this country aren’t just going, for example, from an initial search straight to brick-and-mortar. In between, they’re gathering up info on your website, then checking out your Facebook page to eye up your photos, then jumping to read your Yelp reviews or live-chatting with one of your bots —the possibilities are endless.
Open Yourself up to Chatbots
Generally speaking, sure, humans would rather ask questions and get responses directly from other humans, rather than an algorithm and a flow chart. However, if this is the logic behind not letting your business jump aboard the chatbot bandwagon, you may want to reconsider.
According to a recent survey, almost 25% of American households already use chatbots, both before and after completing a purchase, while a whopping 83% say they’d be more likely to remain loyal to a business if it used chatbots.
While that might seem like a high percentage, it’s a testament to consumers’ dedication to brands willing to provide every informational avenue possible, as well as developers’ rapid improvement of conversation quality making the medium a viable option.
As for the holidays, the earlier on in a consumer’s journey you can provide answers to their specific inquiries, the more people will appreciate it. Remember, you still write and program the responses, so they’re still coming from you, just in a new and more automated way. This type of customer service is expected for a broad percentage of the population.
We Can’t Stress This Enough: Double… No, Triple-Check Your Local Data
Sorry to bring this up again – e know harp a lot on making sure that your online listings, your social media pages, your website, etc. all have the correct info. But,around the holidays, the right information may make the difference between a purchase or a pass-by.
We can’t promise we won’t mention it again, even after this time, but here are a couple of numbers to think about.
During the recent bank holiday in London, a time when businesses use sales to drive customers in-store during their extra day off, it was discovered that almost 85% of brands hadn’t even updated their opening hours online on GMB, Apple Maps, etc. to reflect the holiday. Not just local shops, either — telecoms, fashion retailers, major furniture chains, etc.
Cross-reference that number with the fact that 72% of in-store purchases are made following online research and use it as motivation, not just to make sure your own listings reflect the right holiday hours, but to pick up the slack, where other local retailers may be dropping the ball, at the most opportune time of the year.
Keeping your local data clean and your information accurate carves out a clear pathway for customers to visit your store.
Know Your Platforms and Use Your Local Marketing Data to Make the Best Choices
Ask yourself: how much do you know about the channels your customers use?
Before you clear your campaign for takeoff, here’s a quick checklist of important insights we’ve compiled from some of the major platforms that will help you tighten up the creative ideas you’ve already gathered:
- Over 2 millions businesses use Foursquare and, as of 2015, the company averaged 50 million monthly users wading through 75 million tips.
- Location data can be harvested for specifics on everything from how old your shoppers are, to what they’re purchasing, to when they’re purchasing and so on. The more finite your data, the more precisely targeted your holiday campaign will be.
- Foursquare is ripe with opportunities for acquiring user-generated content, which will, in turn, also help you get to know your customers (and how they tick) better.
- Tourists uses Foursquare a lot, so capitalizing on micro-moments with people from out of town adds a nice little boon to your pre-existing local audience.
- Bing accounts for just over one quarter of online searches. Close to 72% of their audience is over the age of 35 and 48% make over $75,000 per year.
- Many businesses, though, still view Bing as irrelevant — this makes it the perfect platform on which to fill the spaces others are leaving open.
- Facebook has over 2 billion active users around the world. In the US, users spend an average of 40 minutes on the social media site per day.
- Age demographics, follows/unfollows, shared content clicks, page visits and post reach are the most important stats to have, as they’ll allow your campaign to target exactly what people are interested in about your business.
- Said data will only steer your campaign, though — it’s still up to you to make it engaging.
GOOGLE MY BUSINESS
- Nearly 2 trillion searches pass through Google every year, which breaks down to 3.5 billion searches per day and roughly 40,000 per second.
- Understanding how customers are reaching your website, through ad clicks or through organic searches, is an important distinction to make.
- Also understanding where your searches are coming from is important to help you figure out where you’re succeeding and where needs a boost. This can help you target your campaigns down to the very neighbourhood, depending on how local you want to focus.