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Top 10 Holiday Circulation Tips You’ll Want to Try This Season

Well, we’ve practically entered the month of September (how’d that happen?!?) which means the Holiday season is quickly approaching. Knowing that this time of year can be super busy with people being pulled in every direction, it is important to not lose focus on the goals set for the season and recheck your plans for a second (and possibly third) time! As such, we are finalizing our own print strategies with our clients and have some great planning strategies and tactics to share. So, before you give your Holiday plan the final green light, I wanted to share with you some tips to help your Holiday season succeed.

  1. Identify and Segment Your Seasonal Buyers – When building out your circulation plan or list of lists, make sure to segment the buyer file using recency bands (i.e. January – June and July – December). This will help identify customers that have a tendency to make a purchase during the core Holiday season. When making final mail selections, you’ll want to make sure to mail Holiday buyers because that may be the only time they make a purchase with you. And by identifying holiday buyers by season of last purchase, it allows retailers to mail deeper into core seasons especially when you layer frequency and AOV as additional selection criteria.
  2. Include Web Browsing Behavior in Your Segmentation and Mail Strategy – We at CohereOne believe that more data and insight available to you, the better. Consider installing a NaviStone or 4Cite tag and score the customer file to identify customers that are active on your website. Tests have proven that customers that are highly active on your website are much more likely to respond to a catalog than somebody who is not browsing your website.
  3. Email Opt-In – Similar to the web browsing behavior, include customers that have an active, Opt-In email address into your segmentation. Customers that are engaged with other digital programs, perform anywhere from 25%-200% greater than those that are not regularly engaged with your brand.
  4. Build Prospect Models Using Holiday Responders/Mailfiles This one is pretty simple, when building prospecting models through the co-ops, make sure they’re using season appropriate responders and mailfiles to ensure they’re bringing in prospects that are more likely to make a purchase during the Holiday season.
  5. Triggered Postcards To supplement the current catalog program, we recommend partnering with either NaviStone or LSDirect to mail a triggered postcard to customers and prospects during the peak Holiday season. Once a browser abandons your website, a custom postcard is in the home 48-72 hours of abandoning the site. The timeliness, content and promotion make this a very effective marketing program during your peak season.
  6. Consider Testing Various In-Home Dates Over the years, we’ve seen customer purchase behavior move from earlier into the season to later into the season. To find the optimal in-home window moving forward, consider testing various in-home dates during the Holiday season.
  7. Allow Yourself Enough Time to Fulfill Before the Shipping Deadline – Often times, mailers will want to put one last catalog in the mail to generate a last minute push before the shipping deadline. Make sure to allow yourself enough time between the in-home window and the shipping deadline to allow customers to react to the mail piece and place an order. If the shipping deadline is 12/18 (one week before Christmas), you’ll want to be in-home a week and a half at the very least to ensure customers have time to react to the catalog before the shipping deadline.
  8. Make Sure You’re Fully In Stock – I’ve experienced this first hand! When putting a catalog in the mail during any season, make sure the items on the cover are fully in stock. Ideally, ALL items depicted in the catalog should be in-stock because if a customer or prospect find an item they just have to have and find out it’s out of stock, you run the risk of losing them forever!
  9. Check Google Analytics to Shape Their Experience During Peak Holiday Time – If leveraged correctly, Google Analytics can provide valuable insight into who visits your website, how they got there in the first place, and what pages they spend the most time on; this is powerful data for marketers that can be used to enhance their holiday strategy. This critical information impacts how retailers improve catalog pagination, what should be displayed on a home page / gateway pages / hotspots, and what to market via email. By utilizing, analyzing, and focusing on these various sections within Google Analytics, you’ll have a deep understanding of who your audience is, what they want and how to improve the customer experience.
  10. Sync All Your Marketing ProgramsWhen going into the Holiday season, make sure all your marketing programs are buttoned up and firing on all cylinders. Make sure all of your marketing programs and synced up and are displaying the same imagery and promotions so there is a consistent customer experience across all of your marketing platforms. When companies use social media, ecommerce, email, and other channels to engage customers, it is important to deliver a seamless message across all touchpoints to maximize customer experience. This will help create a seamless story for your brand during the Holiday season.

I know I covered a lot here, but hopefully you’ll use (or are already using) one of the above tips in your Holiday planning. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at bslattery@cohereone.com

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