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Converting New Shoppers to Constant Customers

While projections and outcomes for Black Friday and Cyber Monday took up many headlines, I found that the deeper part of those shopping dynamics told a far more interesting story. Sure, the shopping frenzy weekend was an overall positive result for retailers, but upon closer inspection, the numbers pointed to the successes of e-commerce rather than in-store sales.

That's not necessarily news for today's marketers, but what it should be is a reminder that changing behaviors are an entry point for fostering relationships with consumers. Smart, personalized communications are an engaging welcome mat for customers who are new to your brand, because getting a new customer is one thing - getting them back again is quite another.


Retention Science found that gross sales for 2014 Black Friday to Cyber Monday jumped 649 percent, on average, compared to a typical Friday-to-Monday period for its eCommerce customers. The same companies saw a 22 percent increase in average order value, indicating that holiday promotions and marketing campaigns were effective in getting people to spend.



So while that continuing trend is certainly reason to celebrate, it's still just a jumping off point. The same study also found that existing customers spent 30 percent more than newer shoppers in the time period between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Moreover, the existing shoppers were 16 percent more likely to make multiple purchases during that period.



That begs the question - are your holiday campaigns coming full circle and engaging a consumer with the foresight that they'll be the latter data set next year?



Preference management, the active collection, maintenance and distribution of unique consumer characteristics, such as product interest, communication channel preference and frequency of communication is the ideal first step for a new customer. By starting off on the right foot - learning what would make them a returning customer, engaging with them in the ways they self-identify - you have a better chance of converting that first-time customer into a long-term shopper. Come next year's shopping season, you can be confident that last year's new shoppers are this year's existing customers.



Eric Tejeda is the Director of Product Marketing for PossibleNOW and CompliancePoint. Eric supports the organization’s growth objectives by productizing and launching innovative new products and services that fill critical needs in the marketplace. 

With 25 years of experience, Eric firmly believes that permission-based marketing and preference management is a mega trend and the path to success for marketers today. 

Follow me on Twitter: @EricTejeda | Connect on LinkedIn: Eric Tejeda

Omnichannel Opportunities

Savvy marketers understand that the holiday season offers a two-part opportunity: the sales themselves, and vital information about shoppers captured during their busiest time of year. Executed correctly, the season can be a preference collection bonanza that boosts opt-in email marketing lists and populates databases with birthdays, shoe sizes, cell phone numbers and topics of interest.

But remember: in 2014, 53 percent of online shoppers were specifically searching and purchasing on smartphones or tablets, up from 41 percent the previous year. More than $1 trillion of all retail sales were influenced by shopping-related mobile searches. That’s  nearly a full third of sales.

Those are big numbers—figures that represent vast opportunities for deeper connections with consumers, or, if your omnichannel preference collection isn’t up to par, a great big stocking full of coal.

Simple, single-channel preference collection, such as your run-of-the-mill email preference center, will miss out on the customer knowledge and engagement opportunities that come with the seasonal sales.

Effective preference management – the active collection, maintenance and distribution of unique consumer characteristics, such as product interest, channel preference and frequency of communication – should be implemented at every meaningful point where company and customer intersect. For many companies, that means mobile, desktop, live customer service, social media and more.

It is also imperative that once preferences are collected at a given touchpoint, they are passed seamlessly across the company and reflected in future interactions. A customer completing a purchase on a tablet will expect to have the ability to change their preference information for all communication channels as part of that transaction.

Listening to the needs and choices of customers some of the time, or only through selected channels, derails the engagement process. And this is the worst time of year to screw this up.

This holiday season, don’t just settle for the sale. Get the customer’s permission and preferences as well. After all, that’s the gift that keeps on giving. 





About the Author: 
Eric V. Holtzclaw is  Chief Strategist  of PossibleNOW. He's a researcher, writer, serial entrepreneur and challenger-of-conventional wisdom. His book with Wiley Publishing on consumer behavior - Laddering: Unlocking the Potential of Consumer Behavior - hit bookstores last summer. Eric helps strategically guide companies with the implementation of enterprise-wide preference management solutions.



Follow me on Twitter: @eholtzclaw | Connect on LinkedIn: Eric Holtzclaw

Preference Collection Best Practices: How Consumers Reveal Preferences

Preference Management Video Series

Now that we’ve established that preferences are self-reported consumer opinions related to potential interactions between customer and company, the next consideration is how you might go about gathering preferences. When consumers opt-in with their preferences on things like product interest, channel of choice and frequency of communication, your company will want to be prepared for that conversation and follow best practices to get best outcomes.

The conversation the consumer wants to have with you is a progressive one, that reflects their evolving interests in what your business has to offer and their perceptions of what benefits they’ll get in return for sharing their information.

Time and again, research shows that when you’re looking for consumers to provide information, they’re more likely to do so when the opt-in method in presented in context, offers clear benefits, and is easy to understand and complete.


In this video, Chief Strategist Eric Holtzclaw describes the different ways customers reveal their preferences and the strategies you can use to leverage the intersection of consumer and company interests. 


In the following weeks, we'll continue to roll out videos to guide you through the implementation of preference management. If you haven't yet explored our Resource Center, you can download the Implementation of Preference Management whitepaper here.



Eric Tejeda is the Director of Product Marketing for PossibleNOW and CompliancePoint. Eric supports the organization’s growth objectives by productizing and launching innovative new products and services that fill critical needs in the marketplace. 

With 25 years of experience, Eric firmly believes that permission-based marketing and preference management is a mega trend and the path to success for marketers today. 

Follow me on Twitter: @EricTejeda | Connect on LinkedIn: Eric Tejeda

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