When Charles Dickens wrote “A Christmas Carol” in 1843, he was driven as much by financial desperation as inspiration. Dickens wrote and published the classic tale to pay off crippling debt, says a WIFE.org article. But, thanks to a few ghosts from his past, even Scrooge changed his miserly behavior and experienced the joy of Christmas gift giving.
A new holiday trends shopping report from Yesmail Interactive says that, due to the sluggish economy, many shoppers may act similarly Scrooge-like. According to an eBay/Edgell Network report, retailers are looking at a 5% decline in Thanksgiving sales due to showrooming; the use of stores as showrooms to research, view, touch or try, but then buy elsewhere wherever the best value can be found.
In addition, according to the Yesmail research, there will be a lot of procrastinators (51 percent) making their holiday purchases during November and the first two weeks of December. However, a full 24 percent will wait until December to start their shopping.
The bright side to this Scrooge-like Christmas – 7 out of 10 surveyed consumers plan to spend the same or more than they did in 2011, thus continuing the trend from last year when overall holiday sales increased by 4.1 percent. Read more
Chase Paymentech talked to a variety of retailers and found that the majority (59%) of them expected 2012 sales to top those of 2011. They were also very optimistic about the percentage of sales coming in through online channels.
Now, I’d like to present my reward for the Short and Sweet Graphic of the Week. It goes to eMarketer!
Seriously folks, it doesn’t get more plain than that. eCommerce is on the rise but mCommerce is still barely a blip on the radar. Read more
- Preferences, Please
Few marketers ever say “hello.” If email is about building a long-term relationship throughout the customer lifecycle, first impressions mean a lot. Once you’ve acquired a customer’s email address, trigger a welcome message that exposes her to the benefits and value of the subscription and relationship. Many of our travel clients have been enormously successful implementing triggered lifecycle email communications. They often start with a welcome message at the first booking. They send subsequent messaging throughout the customer lifecycle, which may include the latest news about the recipient’s destination as well as money-saving travel tips, assistance, and relevant up-sell opportunities (car rentals, etc.). These communications continue to generate high click-through and conversion rates due to their timeliness and relevance.
- Personalization and Control
Smart marketers deliver the control over and relevance to continue relationships consumers demand. E-mail is about building a relationship over time.
A well-designed preference center is an instrument for communicating control and maintaining profiles and preferences up front. But it must be married with an existing email strategy that allows consumers to customize their email experience further with every interaction.
A leading newspaper client’s efforts include a contextual relevant-personalization option within its newsletter. Subscribers are encouraged to select additional topics and columnists of interest to their subscriptions. A link within the newsletter allows them to “Personalize this email further now.”
- Interest-Based Triggers
Amazon.com does it. You can, too. Retailers are already scrambling to grab their share of the multibillion-dollar online marketplace this holiday season. Critical to success will be the careful development, timing, and deployment of interest-based products mapped to each customer’s purchase history, actions, and profiles. For example, “Customers who have purchased X product also purchased Y product. For a limited time, you can preorder Y at a savings of 20%.
- Customer Service
Great customer service is pivotal in building customer loyalty and satisfaction. As marketers prepare for another record e-commerce season, they must consider strengthening their interactive customer service initiatives. Incorporated into those initiatives should be relevant email responses that follow online chat sessions and inbound customer requests.
In an age of phishing (define) and heightened information security sensitivity, marketers should rethink their existing preference centers, including content, layout, and design. Some of today’s best-in-class preference centers provide full transparency and include information icons and links to privacy policies. Threaded messaging runs throughout the subscription process, summarizing the use, value, and benefits of the specific data requested and captured. Several leading financial services and mortgage firms as well as retailers have made significant strides enhancing the registration process with these best practices in mind.