mohamed_hassan / Pixabay

Ah, the holidays. It only seems like yesterday I was watching the classic festive films for the 30th year in a row. Now they’re already upon us again, and I’ve barely had time to digest last year’s feasts.

First up is Thanksgiving, and that means the phenomenon of Black Friday. According to the National Retail Federation, 174 million US consumers went shopping online or in-store last year over the Thanksgiving weekend, which amounts to about 70% of the adult US population. If that’s not crazy enough for you, how about this: a record $5 billion was spent in just 24 hours. It really is the most profitable time of the year, and I’m sure those of you with dollar signs in your eyes are brilliantly over-prepared already.

However, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry, and there are probably more than a few of you out there who have a terrible feeling that you’ve forgotten to do something. And I’m not talking about turning off the coffee, closing the garage, or leaving your 8 year old son home alone. No, I’m talking about something much more important than that: optimizing your messaging across channels.

174 million US consumers went shopping online or in-store last year over the Thanksgiving weekend

The truth is, if your messages aren’t relevant to individual consumers during this busy time of year, they’re going to be ignored. And while engagement rates of around 1% may be enough to keep you afloat, you’re still leaving millions in revenue on the table. Focusing on the 99% of customers who aren’t engaging, and improving this number significantly, will lead to revenues that might even make your boss consider hosting a separate thanksgiving dinner in your honor.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at a few things that may have missed your radar this year that will help make your brand speak to individuals at scale, and enable you to stand out from the crowd of turkey vultures:

Create Perfect Audiences With Payload Targeting

Imagine you’re in the living room after yet another delicious and plentiful meal, slumped on the couch, eyes glued to your mobile devices or tablets; the whole family each looking at vastly different things on their screens.

Meanwhile in the corner of the room TV adverts scream out relentlessly in between snippets of a constantly interrupted movie that no longer makes sense. No one is paying attention to the ads. Why would they? Most of them are completely irrelevant to their interests.

Enter relevance as the cornerstone of 21st century marketing, and in particular payload targeting. It’s now possible to build audiences based on essentially any combination of attributes or ‘events’, defined with any combination of recency and frequency criteria, and all based on real-time information from any relevant channel.

Compare this hyper-relevant example to the random TV adverts above: a personalized push notification, with the individual’s name and first-choice language, can be targeted at consumers who have purchased a video game in the past year, and have viewed the PlayStation Classic mini console at least 2 times in the last 7 days, notifying them that there is limited stock left at the discounted price. Pro-tip: after the push notification is delivered, start counting your money.

Harmonize Physical and Digital Experiences

While online sales are getting bigger every year, nothing really beats the thrill of getting to the store at 2am to start queuing in the freezing cold with a hundred other people who are all sizing each other up to see who could be easily elbowed out the way in the desperate gauntlet dash to that 75” 4k Ultra HD TV jackpot when the doors are finally blown open at 6am.

In other words, although physical locations are not seeing the levels of growth that online sales are, they are far from down and out. In fact the overwhelming majority of shoppers make their final purchase in physical stores. And the particularly savvy brands are harmonizing their physical and digital channels to create a unified customer experience.

One especially effective way to do this is through geolocation technology, which has come a long way in recent years. Improved capabilities and accuracy for geofencing enables brands to trigger messages and target customers at moments that really make a difference to your bottom line.

For example, we all know how important it is to get people through the doors of your store and browsing. Geolocation campaigns can drive in-store foot traffic with push notifications triggered and delivered to consumers when they are near your store. Or perhaps even more important, message them when they are near, or even inside, one of your competitor’s stores.

Maximize Revenue with a Cart Abandonment Strategy

Around 86% of mobile shopping carts are abandoned. That’s a colossal amount of potential revenue left in the basket. But improving this number by even just a little can potentially generate millions in sales that was otherwise lost.

First, you need to have a comprehensive analytics solution in place, to help you identify which steps consumers are abandoning their purchases. For instance, if you know that there are an abnormal amount of consumers dropping off at a purchase page where a lot of data is entered, you can work to optimize this page, remove friction, make it easier to progress with the purchase, and increase revenue as a result.

86% of mobile shopping carts are abandoned

For carts that are already abandoned, all is far from lost. Perhaps they just got distracted from buying those blue suede loafers by the loud snores coming from Aunt Ethel in her rocking chair? Whatever the cause of the cart abandonment, it’s your duty to do everything within your power to recover that cart and convert that purchase.

Automated recovery messaging, in the form of push notifications, in-app messages, email, or ad retargeting, based on user behavior patterns, are extremely effective at maximizing conversion rates. For them to really cut through the noise these messages need to be personally relevant with the user’s name, product details, and crucially, a deep-link to the checkout page. Get this right and watch the dollars roll in. And what better time to reach out than Black Friday?