The 2010 holiday season was a merry one for retailers. Consumer spending rebounded 5% compared with last year, the largest increase since 2005, according to MasterCard’s SpendingPulse. The numbers are impressive, but the holiday season represents less than one-sixth of the fiscal year, and retailers will attest to the fact that their work doesn’t end when the big ball drops in Times Square.
For direct marketers, this means that they must leverage that holiday enthusiasm by making follow-up offers across all channels to customers who’ve already shown an inclination to buy related products.
“During the holiday season, consumers are excited about buying for family and friends,” says Bill Brand, EVP of programming, marketing and business development at HSN. “As marketers, you have to continue to excite and delight them.”
HSN launched a sweepstakes campaign January 1 designed to drive return customers to the website and increase customer reviews. Any customer that reviewed a product on the site was entered into a sweepstakes to win one of more than 70 prizes. The reviews were then leveraged into a “Customer Picks Event” on the HSN TV network that was slated to run January 28-30. The event featured hourly prize giveaways and daily grand prizes. HSN sent out a January program guide to the 1.5 million customers in its database, along with SMS alerts announcing the event.
“Once a customer comes in throughout the holiday season, we have to figure out how to assimilate her into the overall experience at HSN,” Brand adds. “We’ve got to get her from the TV or the website to download our iPad app and to access us on her mobile phone. The more places we are in her life, the more relevant we are for her and the more she’ll be shopping with us.”
Capturing data points on new customers is essential to remarketing.
“Most retailers don’t ask detailed questions of loyal shoppers,” says Todd Hale, SVP of consumer and shopper insights at Nielsen. “They don’t want to turn them away by getting too deep, but once they have a name and address, they can leverage other companies who can append that data to reveal pretty interesting data sets to add more characteristics about the customers.”
For Jewelry TV (JTV), an e-commerce and home shopping network jewelry marketer, leveraging holiday enthusiasm can mean the difference between a successful and unsuccessful Valentine’s Day. “The holiday season keeps the wind in our sails,” says Craig Shields, VP of e-commerce at JTV. “Demand doesn’t really pick up until the end of January and early February, so we must make sure the new customers we bring in during the holiday season have a great experience.”
JTV uses mobile, e-commerce, e-mail and broadcast channels to acquire new customers and re-market to them. The company promotes its new mobile website and apps on all of its direct marketing and e-commerce materials so that customers who’ve already shown intent to purchase are added to its mobile database.
At press time, JTV was planning a “big event around our new mobile strategy,” says Shields. The promotion includes a giveaway incentive that will drive mobile customer penetration.