Customers are forever… not just for Christmas

Many brands and retailers will be facing Christmas with a mixture of excitement and fear: excitement for all the sales opportunities the season brings, and fear for falling profit margins, as discounts and offers are rolled out to fight off the competition.

Some Christmas shoppers have it all wrapped up by the 1st of December, while others are still rushing around like headless turkeys on Christmas Eve. Then there are the bargain hunters who scour the web for the best deals, the family shoppers who take their time to find that perfect gift for a loved one, and the Bohemians who will splash out on the latest shiny trinkets.

Businesses that can tell the difference between types of shoppers in store and online, can adapt their advertising and marketing approaches accordingly, can gain a significant competitive advantage, according to Ed Weatherall, Client Director at VisualDNA.

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Of course, price is not the only deciding factor for customers and prospects.

Every consumer – offline and online – is a living, breathing human being with a lifetime of experiences and a distinctive set of character traits. Personality is a key shaper of consumer behavior, playing a large role in determining how people respond to products, brands, advertising, promotions, onsite design, selection, pricing and much more besides. But with little or no way of understanding the personalities of shoppers streaming past your store or browsing your website, retailers seem to feel their only option is to outshout – or out-discount – the competition.

In the run-up to Christmas, retailers will traditionally spend more on marketing and discounting, hoping that generic messages and offers will convert enough potential buyers. Of course, marketing budgets could be spent far more effectively if it were possible to understand each customer and prospect, and the buying experience they want.

Technologies that improve the ability to identify online visitors have helped online retailers to enhance their segmentation and tailor their marketing approaches accordingly. But conventional data can only reveal what online customers are doing, where and when – not who they are or what will appeal to them. Retailers want to know how different kinds of people respond to their advertising, and their true buying motivations.

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The ultimate aim is to reach prospects on an emotional level, so that they become customers not just for Christmas, but for life.

Understanding visitor personalities of your customers means that brand you can serve advertising messages and offers that are relevant, personalized and meet the emotional needs of customers and prospects. Emotion is a major factor in both impulse-buying decisions and long-term brand loyalty. Knowing how consumers feel – about a particular advertising campaign, a set of products or the service they receive – can help businesses ensure maximum competitive differentiation. Most personality types like being sold to, so long as the product or service is relevant to their needs and presented at the right time.

By gathering and using data about the personalities of otherwise unknown online or in-store consumers, will help you move beyond marketing that appeals to utilitarian concerns around pricing and product selection, and instead appeal to people’s aspirations, self-image and dreams. Naturally, there is less competition and more margin in the second category.

This Christmas represents a huge opportunity not only for delighting existing customers and converting prospects, but also for gaining valuable insights into their year-round buying personality.

As this is the busiest few weeks of the year for most consumer businesses, it offers the prospect of capturing the equivalent of months of data revealing the correlations between purchasing behavior and visitor personality. When Christmas 2015 comes around, businesses that took the opportunity to determine the personalities of online consumers will have the information they need to create even more compelling customer journeys and experiences.

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