We’re very much advocates of the latter. Because no matter the extent of the savings you offer, if the experience is lacking the only competition you’re likely to win is a race to the bottom.
On the other hand, if you cater to their specific needs and exceed their expectations, customers won’t just purchase from you this BFCM. They’ll keep coming back to you time and time again.
The key to all of this is zero-party data - data that is willingly given and reveals the unique makeup of each individual customer.
Here’s how to collect it, how to manage it, and how to turn it into your holiday season secret weapon.
You can’t leverage data without the right technology in place - so if you want to collect, manage, and use zero-party data effectively you need to optimize your tech stack ahead of the BFCM period.
Think about all the things it would be useful to know about your customers - like their purchase history, how they interact with marketing campaigns, and their product preferences - and then consider the tools you need to collect and use this information.
A good tech stack will have solutions for customer support, email and SMS marketing, reviews and UGC, personalization, loyalty, and more.
Most importantly, these solutions will all talk to each other. Integration allows for unified data so you can build detailed customer profiles and deliver unique experiences.
You have two types of shopper to focus on over the coming months - your existing customers and those that are yet to discover your brand.
For your existing customers, the sooner you get to know them the better. So start collecting that zero-party data now and be specific with it.
For example, you could use customizable post-purchase surveys to ask about their holiday shopping behaviors, gift preferences, and favorite holiday activities. You can also use review attributes to collect demographic data and data on product preferences to segment your audience even further.
This knowledge can then be used to craft targeted marketing campaigns rather than generic seasonal offers and discounts.
For first-time buyers, you’ll want to focus on data that allows for post-purchase personalization so you can turn them into loyal customers. Again, surveys and review requests are great tools for this.
What did they like about your brand? How did the product suit their needs? What could you have done to improve their shopping experience?
The more data you collect the more chance you have of turning a sales season purchase into a long-term customer relationship.
A good personalization strategy starts at the very first interaction and continues indefinitely, evolving as the customer moves through their journey. And zero-party data is the raw material that makes this possible.
When it comes to BFCM and the wider holiday season, here are some key personalization techniques to employ:
Unique offers: provide tailored discounts or promotions to existing customers based on their purchase history, preferences, and loyalty status.
Product recommendations: use data on a customer's past purchases and browsing history to suggest products they're likely to be interested in - across your website, in emails, and during the checkout process.
Dynamic content: implement dynamic content on your website that adapts to each visitor's preferences and behaviors, like showcasing different product categories or banners based on the customer segment.
Personalized customer support: when a customer gets in touch, make sure your support team has access to their profile and purchase history so they can provide relevant and efficient assistance.
Post-holiday engagement: continue to use zero-party data to keep customers engaged with year-round personalization.
Personalized content can land you big wins over BFCM, but you also need to pay close attention to when and how you deliver it.
Here you can analyze historical zero-party data to identify engagement levels for past communications, or you could simply ask customers when and how they would like to be contacted.
Email remains the most popular option, but if a customer is open to SMS you have a more direct and immediate way to communicate.
With this information at your fingertips, you can create different flows for different customer segments - so you can send messages that not only resonate but land at the right time and through the right channels.
The holiday season brings a lot of opportunity for customer acquisition, but don’t let that be at the expense of those customers already loyal to your brand. Instead, use events like BFCM to make those relationships even stronger.
If you already have a loyalty program in place, use the zero-party data it generates to tailor your interactions with each and every member.
Send them timely updates on their loyalty status, remind them of their available rewards, and highlight opportunities for loyalty tier progression.
Importantly, make sure customers are able to redeem their points easily and in a way that suits them.
Creating a good experience means giving the customer as much information as possible about the product they’re looking to buy. As another form of zero-party data, user-generated content is a valuable tool here - particularly visual UGC.
Over the holiday season, shoppers are inundated with generic product imagery that gives little indication of what they can expect from a product in real life. Customer photos and videos on the other hand tell them exactly that.
They show products in action, giving customers more confidence in their purchase decisions (whilst making you stand out from the competition).
You can leverage this type of data at multiple touchpoints - from having visual review content available on product pages to embedding shoppable UGC galleries in email campaigns.
When you use it consistently across all your marketing channels, you enhance the customer experience with engaging and authentic social proof.
BFCM in particular is synonymous with rock-bottom bargains and flash sales. But while deep discounts can drive short-term sales spikes, they can also damage brand value and profitability in the long run.
And there are alternatives.
For example, using zero-party data you can create seasonal product bundles that align with a customer’s specific interests, offer exclusive early-access deals to loyal shoppers, provide discounts on items they've shown a keen interest in, or expedited shipping.
If your pre-holiday data collection shows your customers value certain things - like a particular product feature or its suitability as a gift - you can highlight these using the review nuggets widget.
It's all about finding ways to tailor your offerings to individual preferences and anticipate customer needs, rather than relying on traditional sales tactics.
By doing so, you not only enhance the shopping experience but also build lasting customer loyalty that extends well beyond the BFCM period.
Stats show that customer acquisition costs are 13% higher over BFCM compared to the rest of the year, and the LTV of those customers acquired is 9% lower than average.
Referrals on the other hand are a cost-effective method of acquisition and more profitable in the long run - with the LTV of a referred customer 16% higher than a non-referred customer.
Zero-party data collected pre-, during, and post-sales events can help you identify which customers are most likely to recommend you to their friends and family, i.e. those that have made multiple purchases and/or left glowing 5* reviews.
It also helps you tailor your referral program so you can offer incentives that resonate.
For the refer, it improves the customer experience by making them feel like a valued advocate. And for the referred party, not only get an introductory offer but also the confidence they’re shopping with a brand they can trust.
Long-term profitability is the name of the game here, so use your zero-party data for ongoing engagement. This should start as soon as a product lands on a customer’s doorstep.
Think about retention techniques like:
And of course, if you’re not yet running a loyalty program now’s the ideal time to launch one - giving those holiday season shoppers yet another reason to come back for more.
Creating exceptional customer experiences should be a top priority this holiday season, and zero-party data is the driving force behind it all.
As a REVIEWS.io customer, you have a host of market-leading features at your disposal - like customizable surveys, review attributes, and UGC collection tools - to help you gather valuable customer data. And because we integrate seamlessly with a range of eCommerce solutions, you can share that data across your tech stack with ease.
As a final tip, check out how to optimize your BFCM strategy with AI sentiment analysis. It’s all about learning from past campaigns to make each one more successful than the last.