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Sep 29, 2022

How to Use First-Party Data to Drive Holiday Shopping

Businesses are collecting customer data more today than ever before. Learn how to utilize your first-party data to increase revenue and retain new customers this holiday season.

By Robert Woo, Writer @ Endear

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If your retail brand’s holiday shopping sales were up 40% from your base average, would you consider that a pretty successful season? Probably! So what’s the best way to achieve that revenue bump? The answer isn’t advertising more to win new customers. Rather, research from McKinsey found that companies can generate 40% more revenue by doing something many other businesses don’t: personalization.

This is great news for retail brands with smaller marketing budgets that make it hard to compete during the busy holiday season. Because that’s when so many businesses throw money at social network advertising, CPM and CPC prices can increase up to 140%! But by leveraging personalized marketing and promotions to your existing customers, your brand can see a much better ROI.

After all, research shows that 80% of customers are more likely to shop with brands that can deliver personalized offers. And 59% of shoppers would rather buy from brands that are already familiar to them. This is why leveraging your first-party data from your CRM software is key to increasing Average Order Value (AOV).

What is first-party data?

Generally, first-party data is the information on customers that you collect directly. Be it from web activity on your own website (or ecommerce store), purchase history, emails & texts, and in-store interactions; first-party data is the holy grail of customer behavior analytics.

First-party data is especially important now that Google and Apple have cracked down on tracking, which made third-party data much less reliable (and thus, much less desirable). That’s why Facebook ads are less targeted now, and why data from social networks such as Instagram don’t convey a true profile of any one shopper anymore.

Today, more and more retail brands are relying on their own first-party data to make up for this gap. And while it is absolutely a more active data-gathering process compared to the relative passive nature of third-party data, first-party data is also absolutely more actionable and reliable.

A robust retail CRM solution can make collecting first-party data simple. They can accommodate omnichannel retail teams, enabling both the in-store reps and online marketers to collect data such as order history and purchase behavior and sync them together in the CRM. That way, the customer data is already actionable right from the CRM that sends marketing promotions through email or SMS, as well as being a quick resource for sales associates when assisting customers in retail locations.

How retail brands can use first-party data to drive sales

Let’s dive into three ways that your brand can leverage first-party data.

Personalized Notifications – We’re choosing the word “notification” here instead of promotion because the best way to increase sales is to inform your customers of products they are already willing to buy. It’s a matter of knowing exactly what they want, and timing your notification to when they want it.

For example, Jenette Bras maintains such a great relationship with their customers that they know their size, preferred color, and preferred style. Because of this, when a new shipment or product comes into the store, their CRM lets their team know exactly the customers that have been waiting for the new products, and they can notify them via SMS that day. This type of personalized notifications drove 36% more transactions for their brand.

Similarly, many brands have found higher ROI by engaging with customers during their “resupply window,” which is the window of time they will need to refill products that run out. So by sending a reminder to buy more lipstick when your customer is due for a resupply, that’s a personalized notification that will drive sales.

Localized Promotions – Fostering an in-person community is a powerful way to drive loyalty as well as more sales, especially during the holiday season as people are looking for more things to do while having shopping in mind. By leveraging your first-party data, your CRM can show you the customers with addresses near your store locations.

Your team can then use Campaigns to segment your base into those who live within a few mile radius of a store to promote in-person events such as 2-for-1 sales, bring-a-friend sales, and even just a happy hour event.

By targeting only the people in close proximity, you reduce your marketing spend and efforts. This is a great example of how personalization increases the efficiency of your marketing spend by 10-30%, as cited in the McKinsey study mentioned earlier.

Curated Recommendations – Perhaps the most effective way to leverage first-party customer data is to send customers the products that are right for them. After all, Amazon has made multiple fortunes by working on a recommendation algorithm that is designed for just that purpose.

Your brand can do this (albeit on a smaller scale than Amazon’s) by tapping into your CRM and creating curated recommendations specific to individual customers, or a highly segmented set of customers. One way is to send a text or email with a Shoppable Story included.

Increase AOV with Shoppable Stories from Endear

A Shoppable Story from Endear.

Created and sent right from Endear’s CRM interface, a Shoppable Story isn’t just a visual way to recommend targeted products. It’s also a transaction-enabled channel that can take a customer from browsing to checkout directly from a text or email. It’s a powerful way to drive more sales by showing products not just as static images, but as a “story” or collection; how they can be part of an ensemble or how they can match one’s color scheme. All this carefully selected through the first-party data collected in your CRM.

How first-party data drives new customer acquisition

Marketing to your existing base will always give you the best ROI for your retail brand, but that doesn’t mean customer acquisition isn’t also worth some of your marketing efforts. Luckily, first-party data can also help your team here.

We already mentioned bring-a-friend events, but because the holidays are all about shopping for someone else (ie. gifts!), understanding what your current customers purchase can give you insight into their friends and family who you can market to next.

With each purchase, your brand should always include a holiday promotion redeemable when the gift recipient signs up with an email or phone number. That way, you already have first-party data on the gift they received as soon as they come into your CRM. And since your CRM has captured that immediate data, you can already start recommending other holiday items to your new customer-by-gift-proxy that you think they might enjoy. This is a great way to make a gift recipient into a loyal customer.

Ready to start organizing your customers and get your first-party data synced into a CRM?

Start leveraging your customer data better today with Endear.