Christmas is just around the corner and retailers everywhere are feverishly planning their festive period.
This year, as well as stock, merchandising, distribution, fulfilment, plus the hundreds of other details that preoccupy ecommerce managers, many online retailers will also be planning personalisation strategies around newly implemented CRM technology.
With many retailers offering a sign-in with social option and mobile and multi-device shopping on the rise, this is truly the year of the logged in user.
The biggest challenge for all retailers is now gathering enough data from individual customers to create a meaningful, differentiated experience. Personalised content is key, but there are intricacies to be aware of, especially around the Christmas season.
Clearly, the major focus of Christmas retail is gifting; the purchasing of goods for other people changes shopping habits of customers. The ability to identify when someone is looking for a gift, rather than a personal purchase, will be the key to effective Christmas personalisation. Explicit choices, such as browsing a gifts section or choosing products to be gift-wrapped, are easy to spot. But it is not always that straightforward. The purchase of anomalous goods could offer an indication of gifting intent, albeit not as concrete, such as a male user buying female products, or a shopping basket filled with a diverse range of products for mixed ages. Other factors could also be fed in – e.g. shoppers on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the final days before Christmas are likely to be gifting focused.
2. Purchase cycle
It is common knowledge that our shopping behaviours change at Christmas. Whilst we might be focused, mission-led shoppers throughout the year, shopping for the festive season can quickly reduce us to indecisive wanderers, endlessly roaming the virtual shopping halls. Understanding the difference between Christmas and non-Christmas habits could inform personalisation to great effect. If previously collated data indicates that your Christmas shoppers are going to be more browsing-led, home pages should be configured to account for this. As the season progresses and shopping becomes more frenzied, personalisation that offers users easy solutions to last minute gifting needs might yield positive returns.
3. Spoiling the surprise!
We have all heard complaints about misplaced retargeted ads ruining a Christmas surprise and the increasing prevalence of personalised retail will increase this risk exponentially. Particularly relevant on shared devices, unwitting personalisation has the potential to reveal a gifting purchase. Product recommendation is a powerful tool during the Christmas period for recapturing indecisive shoppers. However, it might be useful for your customers to give them the option to turn off recommendations for specific products.