The holiday season is here. Are you ready?

By Team Session AI on November 6, 2019

The role of 1:1 personalization in managing the holiday rush

The holiday season has arrived. With seasonal sales representing approximately 20-30% of annual retail sales each year, maximizing the holiday shopping experience for consumers is critical to the retail industry’s success. But where should retailers begin?

A recent study by Infosys indicates that improving convenience throughout the customer journey is a critical first step. The report shows that consumers value initiatives that simplify shopping experiences—ranging from better mobile apps to easier in-store pick-up and more frictionless ordering processes—particularly during the holiday time crunch. At the same time, relevance proves to be a key component of convenience, as connecting consumers with targeted offerings and promotions can minimize the time spent scrolling online or waiting in store.

With Black Friday just around the corner, retailers should focus on relevance to improve convenience for customers. Let’s explore three scenarios where effective 1:1 personalization has the power to elevate the holiday shopping experience.

Scenario #1: The in-store pickup

Jenna is looking to purchase the latest release of her son’s favorite video game as a present. Based on her purchasing patterns, a major retailer recognizes that Jenna typically buys the game after Thanksgiving. In the first week of December, Jenna receives a notification from her loyalty app that says,

Jenna, this season’s gaming favorites are now in stock for in-store pickup!

The notification features an image of the game’s cover. Pleased, she taps the notification and makes the purchase for in-store pickup. The next day when she enters the store—alerting the retailer of her presence as she connects to the store’s WiFi—her loyalty app pushes her another message:

Looking for in-store pickup? Head to floor 2.

She taps the notification and follows the map to the pickup counter. On the way, she passes the boys’ clothing section and decides to grab a graphic T-shirt for her son, as well.

26% of shoppers regularly order online and pick up in-store, and of these individuals, 41% frequently purchase additional items while in the store. By recognizing that a newly arrived item would likely be of interest to Jenna, the retailer successfully encourages Jenna to stop in by feeding her relevant, personalized information. Once in the store, the retailer maximizes convenience by guiding her quickly to the in-store pickup area, which results in a positive experience and the purchase of an additional item.

Scenario #2: The right promotion at the right time

On Black Friday, an e-commerce retailer offers a $20 rebate on all cookware. Brandon clicks on a particular 8-piece cookware set, one that he has viewed in the past, but doesn’t make the purchase. On Cyber Monday, the e-commerce retailer offers a 15% discount on cookware sets, specifically. Once again, Brandon views the item but doesn’t make the purchase. In the past, he typically only makes purchases on items with a 20% discount or more. Knowing this, the e-commerce site sends Brandon a message:

Brandon, are you hungry for more savings? Get 20% off your 8-piece cookware purchase, or 30% off your 12-piece cookware purchase. Available today only!

Excited by the additional savings and not wanting to miss out, Brandon adds the 12-piece cookware set to his cart and checks out.

Oftentimes, the holiday season is a waiting game for customers as they balance the desire to maximize their savings with the need to make the purchase in time and while items are in stock. However, adding convenience and value for customers by pushing them offers based on items that are of interest oftentimes moves transactions forward. For instance, by pushing Brandon a time-sensitive promotion for an item he previously viewed, then upping the ante by offering a greater discount on a higher quantity purchase, the e-commerce retailer was able to satisfy Brandon’s desire and secure the sale.

Scenario #3: The checkout line

Jillian heads into her favorite retailer on a December weekend. She picks up a few items off the store shelves; however, as she heads to the checkout counter, she notices 10 people are already standing in the line. As she considers leaving without making the purchase, her customer loyalty-app pushes her a notification:

Jillian, looking to checkout? There’s an available cashier in the men’s fashion department on floor 3.”

Pleased, Jillian quickly heads upstairs and completes the purchase.

Studies have shown that retailers give up $15.8 billion in potential sales to competitors—and the industry loses out on $21.9 billion in total sales—due to abandoned purchases in long checkout lines. During the holiday season, which is known for its long wait times, it is critical for retailers to keep queues short. Through geolocation, retailers can recognize when customers enter their stores and direct them to the shortest lines for faster checkouts.

To learn about more scenarios and strategies that enable retailers to engage shoppers in a relevant and personalized manner, read the Top 8 Intelligent Digital Engagement Strategies.

This holiday season, it’s time for retailers to gift themselves with a personalization platform capable of capturing 1:1 customer insight to drive greater value for the customer and retailer. At Session AI, our AI-driven in-session marketing platform is the gift that keeps on giving. By harnessing data on customer’s historic, real-time, and environmental context to ensure every interaction delivers greater relevance and convenience, we’re empowering retailers to get the most out of the holiday season. Schedule a demo today to find out how.

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