The 2014 holiday season proved successful for marketers but was profit left on the table?

February 20, 2015 by Experian Marketing Services

The 2014 holiday season proved successful

Despite a slight decline in retail sales for the month of December, retailers ended the overall season with sales at their highest level since 2011.

Two of the channels playing an important role in marketing this holiday season were email and mobile. Email proved that it is definitely not dead nor dying. It is the second biggest driver of traffic to retail sites after search. Marketers sent 17.5 percent more emails this holiday season, compared to the previous year, and saw a 7.4 percent boost in revenue. And, relevant to current economic conditions and the prevalence of price-sensitive shoppers, 95 percent of emails sent this past holiday season included an offer.

Email was a key channel in offering deals. Two of the most popular types of offers were free shipping and percentage off. The transaction rates for free shipping mailings were 31 percent higher than mailings without free shipping. Transaction rates for percentage offers were 17 percent higher than for mailings that did not offer a percentage discount.

Mobile was also big for deal-seekers. Deal seeking is migrating to mobile where consumers have access to pricing and coupons while on the go or even when in-store and ready to make a purchase. Searches for mobile coupons were up 14 percent since July, and this holiday season mobile was a key driver of traffic to retail sites. Specifically, there was a 35 percent year-over-year increase in the percentage of clicks received on mobile devices during the peak of the holiday season, and this continues to grow at a rapid pace. Additionally, one-third of the top retail sites now get a majority of their traffic from mobile devices.

While the demand of these channels continues to grow, it is critical to target deals and discounts strategically to consumers who need and want them most.

Through our deal-seeking analysis we’ve discovered six distinct types of consumers, ranging from Deal-Seeker Influentials to Deal Rejectors. One of the most interesting takeaways for marketers from this holiday season is that while deals were flying rampant, 56 percent of consumers still fell into segments for whom deals are not a high priority. These include everyone from the Deal Takers — those who like a deal, but aren’t actively seeking them out — to Deal Rejectors — those shoppers who value convenience overall.

It is critical that marketers know which of their customers really want a deal, which need a deal and which outright reject a deal. Knowing the difference will help tailor specific offers and discounts to meet consumers’ needs, as well as maximize profits by not offering deals to customers who are not looking for them.

Most importantly, in today’s customer-centric environment, brands must have the ability to take their customer understanding to the next level, offer a more personal and relevant journey on the path to purchase, and meet their customers’ expectations each and every time, regardless of the channel. That is what will ultimately drive marketing successes for holiday seasons to come.

Want more insights on the six consumer segments? Download our free Deal Seekers Report today.