Let consumers teach you a thing or two this holiday season

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The holiday season is a festive time of the year. But it can also be a nail biter for retailers. Months of planning can be sidetracked by fickle consumers or aggressive pricing from competitors.

Paying attention to even a little bit of data can work wonders.

In October, SAS conducted online research among adult consumers from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States to uncover their holiday buying plans. This survey won’t help you restock your stores or redo your promotional plans, but it points out the potential of what you can do with your own data now and for holiday seasons to come.

We talked to 3,458 consumers. As a retailer, you’ve got lots more consumer information than that at your fingertips already. So what are you doing with it?

Here are four insights from the survey and some thoughts on how you can enhance these insights for your own company.

  • Woo millennials. Growth in holiday spending will come primarily from the millennials (35 percent of 18-29 year-olds). How well can you segment your marketing to attract this group? Are you doing enough to attract them to your loyalty program so you have a cell number or email address for marketing purposes? Do you know how to reach them on social media?
  • Attack your demographic. Discount stores and eTailers will be the big winners this year as shoppers focus on price and bargains. They won’t hesitate to look elsewhere for specific items. If you aren’t in one of these categories, have you explored the demographic that likes your store to create a unique product mix that grabs their attention for when they’re done buying low-priced televisions? After all, while 68 percent of shoppers say they’ll shop at discount retailers during the holidays, a not-too-shabby 41 percent plan to buy from specialty stores.
  • Easy does it. Digital continues to change the face of holiday shopping as customers search for gift ideas online, compare prices, and click to buy. If you’re a multichannel retailer, are you making it easy for people to buy from you by offering free in-store pickup and easy in-store returns? That’s especially important since 38 percent of shoppers plan to return or exchange a gift. This can be particularly critical for certain categories: Sixty-eight percent of shoppers plan to shop online for household goods, 67 percent will do the same for apparel, and 66 percent for sporting goods.
  • Cash in on gift cards. Gift cards are the No. 1 item on shoppers’ lists again, just edging out toys and games. Sixty-one percent of shoppers are planning to buy gift cards. Do you have a plan to convert gift card recipients into regular, loyal customers? Can you find your most loyal shoppers and entice them with “no fuss/last minute” gift card purchases to capture their holiday dollars?

By paying attention to data you can do a better job this season and set yourself up for an even merrier 2016 from New Year’s Day all the way through the 2016 holiday shopping season. I think that’s a present every retailer would like to find gift-wrapped under the tree on December 25th.

Read more about the holiday shoppers survey or download the full report.

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About Author

Alan Lipson

Principal Product Marketing Manager

I’m Alan Lipson, the Principal Industry Marketing Manager for the Retail and Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industries. I’m here to help retail and CPG companies get the most out of SAS Analytics, whether you’re seeking to plan better assortments, set a better pricing strategy, or connect to consumers in a more meaningful way. You can connect with me by subscribing to my RSS feed, or through Twitter at @SASRetail. You can also follow me personally on Twitter at @alanlipson and on LinkedIn.

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