Technology Can Help Retailers this Christmas

With the Christmas season already in full swing, Anthony Capano of Rakuten Marketing, explains how retailers can leverage technology to navigate the shifting habits of Australian online shoppers.

The busiest time of the Australian retail calendar is upon us. Not only is the lead-up to Christmas going to be a boom for online shopping, but the post – Christmas Boxing Day sales are becoming more popular than ever before.

At this crucial time, it is essential that retailers use the marketing technology available to them to reach the right shoppers at the right time, and on the right device. Maximising the effectiveness of marketing campaigns through technology will set you up for Christmas and the rest of the calendar year.

digital gifts

The Retail Council’s Christmas Spending Index predicts that Australians will spend around $5.6 billion online in the lead-up to Christmas. Consumers will certainly be spending more, and they are also going to be looking at a much wider variety of products as they hunt for the perfect gift. While some Christmas shoppers are time-poor, others will have time to thoroughly research their purchases, comparing prices and deals. Then there’s the complicated sales landscape to navigate, which all starts with the lead-up to Christmas, but quickly progresses to Boxing Day sales and into the January discount period.

So, how can advertisers use technology to help navigate this time of year?

Using technology to understand your shoppers

The most successful retailers will engage technologies that break down the customer journey into online and offline touchpoints. Incorporating all devices and store visits to map out a full customer journey will track the most frequent routes to purchase, giving you the freedom to invest, deprioritise, or boost different retail marketing campaigns as needed. These changing shopper journeys mean that your technology should be flexible, trackable, and able to capture all points of online and offline data.

A typical Australian customer journey occurs over a number of devices, with 58 per cent of Australians making a purchase on their smartphones, and 73 per cent on tablets last year. A customer journey might begin when they visit your site after seeing a display ad for a product on a desktop computer as they shop online during their lunch break. As the customer was logged into Facebook, they are then retargeted later that afternoon as they read through their newsfeed on the Facebook mobile app, reminding them of the items they viewed at lunch. The next day, they might be retargeted again with a video ad on their tablet, before dropping into the store after work to try the product before purchasing.

Data from the Rakuten Marketing network reveals that while the end purchase may not come on mobile, up to a third of a typical shopper journey takes place on mobile devices, highlighting the importance of this channel.

Knowing where to spend your marketing budget

The technologies available to help retailers understand and dissect customer journeys means that a clear understanding of the most important marketing channels has emerged.

Through attribution, we can now view the impact different devices and channels have on the customer journey. Attribution can also reveal the incremental impact on basket value that different ads and marketing campaigns have. This means that, over hundreds and thousands of journeys, a true picture emerges of the value of any marketing program , display ad, keyword, publisher, or email campaign.

As a retailer, you can begin to understand how different user segments respond to alternative marketing messages, enabling you to hone those messages and more accurately prioritise their placement.

To ensure your Christmas and January sale campaigns are maximised, it is essential to adjust your marketing technology accordingly to suit the unpredictable nature of the festive season. Understanding the true value of any interaction in the context of all marketing touchpoints will empower you to confidently optimise your creative, placement, and overall campaign.

Enjoy the challenge of the Holiday Season!