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Now that we’re almost two weeks into 2018, it can be tempting to forget all about the holidays as a distant memory.

Like the Ghost of Christmas Past, however, I’m here to encourage you to consider your holiday campaigns for just a little longer. The research is there for you to explore what worked, what didn’t, and what you might like to try implementing in 2018 (trust me, it’ll come round a LOT sooner than you think).

1. Black Friday is not a one-off

A few years ago, Black Friday was still a growing concern and promotions during that period may not have been available during the rest of the year. Now, it’s all about the numbers. According to eMarketer data, only 30.4% of UK customers and 34.4% of US customers planned to shop on Black Friday because of the limited promotions, with 65.2% and 44.6% respectively basing their decision on the discounts available.

Due to the large variety of offers available during the festive period, marketers have had to think of new and creative promotions to increase sales. While this definitely a positive and does contribute to the overall customer experience, it does come down to the fact that we all love a good discount. I know people who made purchases on Black Friday solely based on the percentage discount they were offered, even for items that they may not have previously needed.

 

2. Free shipping isn’t always enough

In 2016, 92% of online retailers had a free shipping option, in line with last year’s eMarketer predictions. Up until recently this would have been a very big incentive, but now we have all become accustomed to free shipping being offered. Yes, this is still one of the main factors that will influence a customer to purchase, but for next year it will be paramount that retailers go beyond this. Don’t overlook content, great timing, and brand identity over the holidays.

3. ‘Twixmas’ emails do pay off

It certainly used to be the case that scheduling an email for Christmas Day was a waste of a marketer’s time, even more so if that email was scheduled right between Christmas and New Year (when everyone had already finished their Christmas shopping). Testing can reveal surprising results, however: our client Daffodil sent out a campaign during this Twixmas period, based on the insight that their client base was looking for special offers around this time. This simple email is a real holiday blues-buster, and enjoyed a 29% CTOR – not to mention 2500% ROI.

4. The holidays are a good time to reach out

The holidays are the most sales-driven period of the year, so why not take advantage of this to enrich the quality of your data? Live polls, surveys, and preference centers have become an increasing trend in email marketing strategies. If you take into account that consumers are likely to reveal more information about themselves if they believe they are getting something in exchange, you might not want to miss out.

5. It’s not just the season of giving

If transactional email is available to you from last year, try and determine which segments of your data used the holiday season to buy an additional gift for themselves as well as a loved one. They may not be as engaged with your email throughout the year, yet a timely offer or a product recommendation based on their previous purchase may result in another sale. on 2017 the US National Retail Federation considered self-gifting to be a real game-changer, with 60% of shoppers admitting to having bought one or two gifts for themselves.

 

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