Who are my customers? What do they like? What do they dislike?
These are age-old questions entrepreneurs and brand builders often ask when it comes time to put together a marketing plan.
Understanding who your customers are and what drives them to make a purchase is key to your brand’s growth. And it’s critically important to have this information as you prepare for the holidays, which can account for as much as 30 percent of a brand’s annual sales, according to the National Retail Federation.
So how can you use the information you have about your customers to create an effective marketing plan that drives holiday sales?
Creating buyer personas is a particularly valuable way you can use your data. Buyer personas are fictional representations of your customers based on data you have about your existing customers, including their shopping behavior.
Buyer personas are an incredibly helpful way to learn more about your customers, but you don’t have to go overboard when you’re creating them.
Mark Schaefer, a well-known marketing strategy consultant, says three to four buyer personas often account for more than 90 percent of a company’s sales.
By figuring out the right buyer personas you need to create ahead of the holidays, you can tailor your product assortment, promotion, content, and messaging to your audience so you deliver relevant, compelling messages and experiences that ultimately drive sales.
Here are some common holiday shopper personas and ideas on how you can engage them:
The deal hunter
Missy is a classic deal hunter. She typically waits until the Thanksgiving turkey’s put away, but then she hops online or jumps into her car to go looking for holiday deals.
A suburbanite who loves to save money, Missy gets a thrill not by how much she spends, but by how much she saves.
Her only brand loyalty is to the stores that gave her great holiday deals last year. Otherwise, she’ll shop wherever she can find the best savings.
Capture Missy’s attention by sending her promotional emails with the deal called out specifically in the subject line.
Take 30% off everything!
Today 5am-10am: doorbuster deals up to 50% off!
Everything’s on sale! Up to 60% off this weekend only.
You can also capture the deal hunter’s attention with your social ads. Since Missy frequently visits Facebook and Instagram, you can build a Facebook custom audience to target her with your promotions on those channels.
The last-minute shopper
It’s not uncommon for Rob to miss the free shipping cutoff dates that most online retailers put in place. To get his holiday gifts in time and to avoid disappointing his parents, he typically ends up choosing an expedited shipping option.
He’s a young, single urbanite who usually makes purchases on his phone while he’s commuting on the subway to work or during downtime while he’s at work.
Rob’s a procrastinator like many people—nearly 134 million people plan to shop the last Saturday before Christmas, according to the NRF. Capture his attention with emails that convey a sense of urgency in the subject line.
15% off + free shipping ends tomorrow!
Order by 12/10 to get free shipping!
Still searching for holiday gifts? 20% off ends 12/20!
You can also make it clear to him that you offer expedited shipping options so he doesn’t turn to a competitor.
Only 3 days until Xmas! Get rush shipping today only.
Haven’t found the perfect gift? Buy by 12/22 + get 2-day shipping.
2-day shipping = guaranteed 12/24 delivery
Sarah typically purchases high-value items from your store and she buys them frequently. She’s also left a few positive product reviews on your website. She’s what you’d call a brand loyalist. If only every customer was like Sarah, you’d be growing faster than you’d planned!
This suburbanite is a generous gifter to others, but she also makes purchases for herself during the holidays.
Capture Sarah’s attention by giving her special treatment and making her feel like a VIP. Consider offering her experiences like early access to a limited-edition product you’ve brought in for the holidays or send her a highly personalized thank you note that you either handwrite or email.
You can also use her past purchase history to recommend products she’d like for herself or for others. Or prompt her to share a discount with a friend who’s not familiar with your brand and give her a discount, also, as a thank you.
The window shopper
Barry’s a browser, not a buyer. He often looks around your website and he may or may not add items to his cart, but he almost always leaves your site before making a purchase.
He’s an indecisive urban shopper who needs a little nudge.
Capture Barry’s attention by reminding him about the items he’s left in his cart. Send him browse abandonment or abandoned cart emails, and dynamically populate them with product images so he remembers the specific items that caught his attention the last time he was on your site.
You can also build Facebook custom audiences and target Barry with your products on Facebook or Instagram, which are the social channels he frequently visits.
The holidays are an important time of year for any ecommerce business. But with all of the noise of the season, brands must work hard to stand out from the crowd. The best way to do that is to show your customers you know who they are, what interests them, and send them relevant messages as part of a highly personalized experience. Create buyer personas for your business, try some of these tactics, and make them even more effective with segmentation and personalization strategies.
Want more tips to prepare your store for the holiday shopping season? Check out this holiday planning guide to learn how to drive more sales.
Back to Blog Home