The period from November through December and into January is a critical time for online retailers. As consumers ramp up holiday spending, retailers compete to get their share by targeting shoppers across the buying cycle.
In this competitive environment, in which consumers have more choices than ever, most ecommerce brands fall back to influencer marketing, increased paid advertising, and email marketing.
Breaking Through to Consumers
Email’s role in the ecommerce marketing mix remains dominant, with eMarketer reporting that the majority of ecommerce marketers “feel pushed to send a higher number [of emails] to up their returns and increase awareness”, leading to plummeting open rates. In effect, marketers are trading brand reputation and email deliverability for short-term increases in sales.
The most effective way to break through to consumers in such a competitive landscape is by taking a customer-first approach and launching marketing campaigns that are personalized and timely. This means taking into account the context of the shopper experience and the visitor’s goals in order to reach buyers earlier in the buying cycle, and then staying top-of-mind through the purchase and beyond.
Holiday Catalogs: a Time-honored Tradition
Traditionally, retail brands kicked off the holiday season with a holiday catalog or gift guide, a hallmark of holiday shopping ever since Sears’ first started the trend in 1933. Even as consumer spending has shifted online and shopping behavior has fundamentally changed, holiday catalogs and gift guides have remained a key element of retail brands’ holiday marketing strategies, with Amazon launching its own holiday toy catalog this year.
In fact, 84.2% of retailers surveyed by Multichannel Merchant still plan to use catalogs as a marketing channel. However, catalogs are overwhelmingly viewed as a branding tool, not a revenue driver, and the data supports this perception, with a negligible percentage of US shoppers doing their holiday shopping through catalogs.
But for the first time, new tech capabilities have emerged that are enabling brands to bring the holiday catalogue into their digital marketing mix, and to do so in a way that creates a key new revenue driver.
Saks Fifth Avenue: Personalizing Luxury Retail
In 2017, Saks Fifth Avenue leveraged Headliner Lab’s chatbots to deliver personalized gift suggestions to their website visitors ahead of the holiday season. The entire experience was contained in Facebook Messenger, an experience already familiar to Messenger’s 2 billion users. After asking shoppers a few questions that they answer through chat, the chatbot intelligently recommends products that are the best fit from Saks’ product offerings. As users browse recommendations, the chatbot learns their preferences and suggests new products.
This intuitive and convenient experience allowed Saks to engage new customers and guide them to the right product at the right time in a way that was immersive, interactive and highly personalized. And unlike a traditional print gift guide, Headliner Labs’ product recommendation chatbots offer marketers deep insights into how users are interacting with the chatbot and its recommendations, directly linking it to purchases and revenue.
What Makes Chat Such an Effective Channel?
Facebook Messenger is the right place to reach consumers because it’s overwhelmingly where people are spending their time on mobile, with over 2 billion users, 89% of whom use it 14 times a day. Chat is a natural interface on mobile, meaning that there’s no learning curve. By communicating with consumers on their terms and where they want to be reached, chat leads to astronomically higher open and conversion rates than email.
Introducing Headliner Labs
With Facebook Messenger, ecommerce marketers have the ability to tap into a large audience in a way that delights users instead of interrupting them, and Headliner Labs is the platform that makes it possible.
The Headliner Platform goes beyond gift guides, with ecommerce brands using Headliner chatbots to send subscription reminders, cart and browse abandonment campaigns and offer customer service through embedded live chat, all delivered through Facebook Messenger. With retargeting, Headliner Labs’ allows brands to continue the conversation across the buyer’s journey and across devices, with over 70% of website visitors becoming reachable to the brands they visit.
Headliner Labs works with leading ecommerce brands such as Cole Haan, Sally Beauty, Saks Fifth Avenue, Carbon38 and Wander Beauty.
Leading brands use our intelligent and automated Facebook chatbots to retarget web traffic and deliver personalized marketing at scale.
Get a demo to see how Headliner Labs can help grow your ecommerce store.