The holiday season is the most important time of the year for retailers, and while many companies pulled out all the stops to ensure they cashed in, there was one key element missing: tracking online and mobile marketing offers and tying them back to in-store purchases.
In a year where initial reports showed a decrease in spending on important days like Black Friday, this missed opportunity to gather intelligence was especially glaring.
So why is this data so important? To start, the digital and physical worlds are increasingly converging, and there are so many marketing channels being used to generate awareness around holiday deals (digital, email, mobile, etc.) that it has become critical that retailers and brands can provide attribution and accurately assess which channels are responsible for driving in-store business.
Additionally, advertisers need to be sure they can connect their digital offers to the basket size of a consumer. A brand like Best Buy may get someone in the door with a deal for a 50 inch TV, but they’re offering that deal with the expectation that the consumer may also buy a Blu-Ray player, some DVDs and a few other items as well. When assessing the effectiveness of the campaign, just seeing how many times the ad was clicked on is not enough, and simply looking at how many TV’s were sold won’t tell the full story either.
Finally, retailers need to place a strong emphasis on getting this data quickly. Retailers could have used holiday data to gain insights about consumer shopping behavior and shape their 2014 marketing plans, but to do this, they needed to get the data instantly. Next year, if a retailer can get the data fast enough, they could hypothetically leverage insights from Black Friday to shape the rest of their holiday marketing plan.
The holiday shopping season is more than a six-week opportunity to generate revenue. The holidays are a chance to gather crucial data about how consumers shop, and the best way to do that is to track purchases from the moment a person saw information about a deal, to the moment they pay.
2013 represented a missed opportunity for many players in the space, yet hope shouldn’t be lost. Technology is improving by the day, and this coming year, both retailers and brands have an opportunity to tackle the problem ahead of time and get the infrastructure set up so they can capitalize for the 2014 holidays.