A how-to guide for brands
entering the holiday season
With retailers earning 40% or more of their revenue during
the holiday season, it’s the most wonderful — and important —
time of the year.
Many brands have already begun preparing for the changing future
of retail, creating operational efciencies and developing more
personalized messaging for their target audiences. Alliance Data’s
businesses have again joined forces to provide retailers with rich
insights, expert advice, and actionable recommendations for making
the most of the holidays. The following pages offer a detailed look
at the issues and inuences affecting all brands as we head into
the holiday season.
It’s a whole new retail norm out
there. How customers shopped and
engaged with brands in previous
years has shifted. Their expectations
have reached new levels.
This year, one thing is clear.
Get in sync with
The advent of new technologies has enabled consumers to go from
browsing to buying faster than ever before. Cross-channel experiences that
focus on the customer have become table stakes. Speed and convenience
now compete with price as priorities for the time-starved shopper. And at
75 million strong1 — now the largest generation — the millennial segment
in particular is changing the traditional path to purchase.
Information of all kinds is available at our ngertips, which means
consumers can scrutinize and research every purchase, in real time. As
competition gets tougher, brands need to uncover what their customers
really need and want, beyond basic promotions, to make their holiday
shopping experience a good one. By getting in lockstep with their customers,
brands are more likely to get their attention — and their wallet share.
Turn customer interactions into memorable moments.
Especially during peak holiday times, optimize in-store and online shopping
experiences. Customers should be able to quickly navigate your brand, get through
checkout, and get on their way.
Think quality over quantity.
Use journey maps and data insights to identify and prioritize your customers’ most
enjoyable — and frustrating — experiences to inform marketing, merchandising,
and operational decisions.
Maximize omnichannel effectiveness.
Amp up online efforts early in the season, then add benets like in-store pickup, easy
gifting, and other time-saving, feel-good benets to drive last-minute impulse purchases.
Aim for frictionless experiences.
Understand which customer experiences have the biggest negative impact on
shopper performance, and address those rst.
Activate your front-line employees.
Your employees have a direct effect on your customers’ experience. Reward
them for relationship-building actions, like solving a customer’s problem or
LOWE’S is leveraging articial
intelligence to aid in-store
waynding and help customers to
get in, easily nd what they need,
and get out quickly.5
BEST BUY overhauled its entire
customer experience to eliminate the
need to shop anywhere else. They
used showrooming, price-matching,
and gave customers more visibility —
and accessibility — to products
across all channels.6
NUDGE REWARDS encourages
employees to accomplish specic
outcomes through app-based
Leading brands address the landscape shift head on.
of online sales, excluding
Amazon, were from
brands with a brick-and-
of shoppers 45 and
under say they look
online, then buy
products in store376
of U.S. consumers
interactions with a
brand to be easy2
Build a digital bridge
to your customers
With so many devices available to the masses today, 24/7 connectivity means
in-the-moment access to information, offers, advice, and service. And whether
or not customers are shopping a brand online, we know they’re researching it.
Online may make up only 15% of total retail sales8, but its inuence runs deep.
As digital elements pervade the in-store experience, customers are increasingly
able to self-service and navigate their own interaction, without sacricing any
of the experiences they expect and love. It’s important for brands to develop
solutions that complement, rather than distract from, customers’ desired
experience in every channel. Digital is the undercurrent moving retail forward —
and tools that enable its use are as much a part of the holiday shopping
experience as bustling crowds and twinkling lights.
EBAY’s ShopBot goes beyond
basic search requests. By asking
clarifying questions and learning
from each experience, it can tailor
future suggestions and prompts.9
MEN’S WEARHOUSE and
JOS. A. BANK brands have a
digital personalization solution
that uses shopper insights, real-
time context, and predictive
analytics to provide online and
mobile shoppers with a highly
HARLEY-DAVIDSON OF NYC’s
articial intelligence marketing
platform uses look-alike modeling
to pair potential users to products
in a more intuitive way.11
Leading brands bring digital to life.
Optimize the customer journey.
Chatbots, machine learning, mobile apps and wallets, and other digital solutions
remove barriers and encourage self-navigation, enable product discovery based on
personal preferences, and make life a little easier for the customer (not to mention
Realize the potential of your seasonal workforce.
In-store technology and training solutions will help inform seasonal associates of key
product and promotional details, so they can go beyond serving basic customer needs.
Prioritize your digital communication channels.
Wherever your customers go — get there rst. As in-store mobile use grows,
focusing on email, a mobile-optimized site, and text solutions will drive more
buy online and
pick up in store
buy online and have
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