With the end of the year soon approaching and most festivals and holidays behind us, it’s time for marketers to shift their focus towards securing a spot for their brand under the Christmas tree! As retailers may have observed from the past sales this year, consumer behavior during the holiday season changes drastically when compared to other sales periods, and every brand out there is vying for the top spot. In order to cut through the clutter, the biggest factor in getting customers to choose your brand over the others is personalization. While everyone out there is trying to guess what consumers want – and how they want it – based on the expertise of their human teams, stepping in to eliminate a significant portion of this guesswork is none other than Artificial Intelligence.
AI is helping brands take their relationship with customers to the next level, and it is no surprise that by the end of 2019, close to 50% of marketers will have adopted AI or machine-learning in some form (eTail Holiday Report 2019). By taking a deep-dive into several data points, providing real-time insights and recommendations as well as automating internal processes, AI is augmenting the roles of human marketing teams. This is enabling enterprises to create scalable business impact and deliver heightened, more relevant customer engagement across every channel. Since the holiday season brings about a huge surge in traffic and even more volatility, let us look into some areas that marketers can implement AI to amplify their efforts in the lead-up to Christmas.
Understand your consumers and aim for greater engagement
With AI, marketers can effectively utilize historical data to enhance their strategies for holiday sales by unearthing valuable insights on consumer behavior. It enables them to target those who are most likely to engage with particular communication channels and/or specific products and services, while profiling them based on their previously recorded buying patterns.
In line with this, several companies such as Sephora and Levi’s have implemented ML-powered bots which ask customers questions to help determine factors around their immediate need for the product as well as general shopping preferences. The bots act as a perfect companion to frontline sales teams, as they take care of a significant amount of consumer traffic by instantly addressing a majority of basic queries. Moreover, marketers can use the insights gathered from these interactions to further personalize the consumer experience as well as to shape future marketing and sales initiatives with greater accuracy.
Personalize ads, offers and recommendations
As Christmas sale season soon approaches, marketers should look towards investing in AI tools that can help them personalize their outreach for email marketing campaigns and social media communications as well. AI can help them improve open rates for emails and engagement on social media posts by helping marketers provide content relevant to each consumer as well as help them identify a time that particular consumers are most active on a certain channel. Additionally, even with paid social media ads, more accurate data points can go a long way in ensuring that marketers are targeting the right audiences with content that appeals to them and, in turn, converting it to more revenue.
Once marketers gain a deeper insight into customer behavior and preferences, using buyer behavior intelligence, they can set predetermined rules to map past searches complemented by deep learning capabilities. This will enable them to send out personalized recommendations for gifts, and save customers from the hassle of having to browse through and make several layered purchase decisions, thereby making it more likely that they will convert.
Get your brand into the holiday spirit, too!
Just as it is with dressing oneself up in ‘Christmas colors’, this holiday season brings about great opportunities to give your brand a makeover in line with the particular festival. It is a good idea to experiment with layouts and categories centered on the latest trends as well as customizing landing pages based on the type of customer that is viewing it. This can include creating collections such as one for Christmas themed décor, or categories based on the family members and friends whom consumers are looking to get the perfect gift. By utilizing analytics dashboards, brands can get a good idea of what works best for various consumer segments to maximize conversions.
In order to make the most of the Christmas season sales, marketers must start planning early, leaving enough time and room for continuous testing with AI. This will help them gauge the best way to implement it in a manner that is suited to their brand and target consumer base, as well as identify channels that help them stand out from the competition. How strategically they utilize AI to maximize engagement and create a consistent experience across multiple channels will go a long way in enabling the successful execution of future marketing initiatives as well.