February 28, 2023 | 3 min read

Use Customer Data to Jumpstart Holiday Retail Success

Use your customer data to kickstart holiday planning and set yourself up for the most successful holiday season ever.

Illustration of hand holding a small green gift box

The holiday season may have just ended, but that doesn’t mean you should kick back and forget about planning until that time of year rolls around again. Using your customer data gives you a golden opportunity to set yourself up for the most successful holiday season ever.

The holidays are an extremely lucrative time of year, and in 2022 retail sales grew between 6-8% over 2021. People are also beginning to shop earlier and earlier, with 56% of shoppers starting to buy in October

All brands approach planning differently. Some kick off in June, and some don’t start to make arrangements until the last minute. But we believe there’s a lot you could be doing now to begin preparing. The season that’s just ended has gifted you with a trove of precious customer data full of valuable information on everything you need to know about your customers — what they like to buy, what messaging they respond to, if they purchase on discount, and much more. 

Spread holiday cheer all year round

Getting started early has huge benefits. It gives you an advantage over competitors, gathers more customer information throughout the year, and uses that knowledge to acquire new customers for the following year. 

Begin by using your customer data as a guide to pinpoint what worked and what didn’t. Then, focus on customer metrics rather than channel metrics to understand your buyers as much as possible to build a sophisticated audience strategy around them. 

Once you’ve learned as much as you can about your shoppers, you can:

  • Identify your high-value customers: Nurturing your best customers throughout the year is vital, so stay in touch with them and share any exclusive offers or early access opportunities. Use them as a basis for lookalike audiences to find more high-value shoppers. 

  • Find customers that look like your high-value customers: It’s important that these potentially valuable customers come back, so send them a premium welcome series that will make them want to return. 

  • Run early test campaigns: Trying out different test campaigns are a chance to strengthen connections with customers and figure out what approach works best. For example, if you have new customers, send them a welcome series that introduces them to your broader product portfolio so they understand your brand.  

    • It’s important to keep experimenting as you try out new strategies — a quick way to figure out what’s working and what’s not is to run controlled tests with holdout audiences.

But to do any of this effectively, you need a solid data infrastructure with long-term memory that can easily accommodate new data. 

The data foundation you need

A data foundation that will allow you to provide stronger experiences and set yourself up for a fantastic holiday season is one that’s purpose-built for the job. A solution specifically built to handle chaotic data that comes in different shapes from different sources will be able to create accurate profiles easily accessible to all the teams that need it and produce valuable insights fast. 

When it comes to holiday planning, the earlier, the better. But to allow customer data to guide your strategy successfully so you can boost retention, acquisition, and holiday revenues, you need a solid customer data infrastructure that will allow you to run tests and evolve as needed.

Learn more about the five customer data steps to follow to set up for holiday success in our guide.