Shopping online during Black Friday/Cyber Monday, over the busy Christmas period, and in the January sales (yep, they’re still a thing!) can be akin to rummaging through a jumble sale.
In order to find relevant content, many shoppers have to rifle through a mass of promotional offers on different sections of a brand’s website, sift through ‘special offer’ emails, and scan social media for discount codes.
The process is equally chaotic for many retailers’ marketing teams, which are tasked with updating content on their websites as promos change, products quickly go out of stock, new customers sign up, and prices change as competitors up their game.
The ‘chaotic’ element usually stems from team members’ inability to quickly and easily locate the correct images, most up-to-date product descriptions and prices, regional-specific video assets and so on.
Despite this often-chaotic experience, both consumers and retailers have a lot to gain from the seasonal shopping period. In the UK, Barclaycard reported that transaction value was up 16.5% compared with Black Friday last year, with the volume of transactions up 7.2%.
Footfall also increased, and was up 3.3% on Black Friday in comparison with the same day in 2018. Over in the US, meanwhile, consumers spent an estimated $7.4bn (£5.6bn) online, an increase of $1.2bn (£915m) over Black Friday 2018, making it the biggest Black Friday ever for digital sales.
The rights and wrongs of personalisation
Get the right content to the right consumers at the right time, and retailers win big. But get it wrong, and shoppers will quickly go elsewhere. According to a recent report, almost half of consumers shopping during Black Friday would abandon their cart if they received an error message upon checkout, and almost one in five would immediately go to a competitor’s site to find the same or similar product if faced with errors at the online checkout.
What does getting it ‘right’ look like? For many marketers, in addition to making changes to their brand’s website to prepare for the seasonal shopping period, they’ll also launch seasonal email campaigns with content tailored to the specific consumer. This form of personalisation can deliver relevant content direct to the shopper, removing the ‘jumble sale’ of navigating deals.
Brands that do this well can reap the benefits; those using email personalisation generated 17% more revenue through their campaigns than the average marketer, according to one report. But again, get it wrong and you may quickly lose a consumer’s trust in your brand. What does ‘wrong’ look like?
It could be a health food shop sending an email advertising a promotion on brazil nuts, when the shopper has previously stated a severe allergy to nuts. Or, it could be sending an email about baby gifts to consumers who have no children, or could be struggling to conceive à la Amazon.
Technology giveth and technology taketh away
Online shopping can be complex and time-consuming for both consumers and the brands delivering the experience. And a poor experience can damage brand trust, consistency and loyalty. But in the same way that technology taketh away, technology also giveth.
Shoppers want a streamlined experience and none of the jumble sale stuff, and marketers, similarly, need a coherent, straightforward means of locating and delivering the relevant assets and content. According to a 2018 report, teams working on personalised campaigns are producing an average of 28 pieces of content a week and can take up to 12 days to get a single piece to market.
When tasked with updating promotions, checking and amending stock levels – and everything else that comes with the seasonal shopping period – managing volumes of content can present a time-consuming challenge. In fact, 59% of marketers admit to finding it difficult to personalise content at scale, according to the same report.
Consolidation, collaboration, creativity
The answer is to consolidate all of your brand’s content and assets (video, images, product descriptions, logos, email marketing templates, blog copy and so on) into a single, centralised hub. Digital asset management (DAM) software such as this will enable team members to easily search and leverage the content they need.
A marketer putting together a personalised email going to a consumer in China, for instance, will be able to quickly find the Chinese language copy and the most up-to-date product images that are relevant to that individual, as well as being able to find similar content but tailored to consumers in the UK, the US and so on.
Or, if the brand has multiple offices across the globe, the team in China would be able to access the same DAM solution as the teams in the UK and the US, ensuring brand consistency across these markets.
If assets need to be changed or updated quickly, multiple teams are able to collaborate on editing assets in real time. This means that wherever and whenever the content is published, it’ll be of the same standard and adhere to the same guidelines as every other piece of content.
Publishing out of date content – think of a marketing email promoting the must-have toy for Christmas…which is actually out-of-stock – may have traditionally been an easy trap for busy or inexperienced marketers to fall into, but again the right kind of DAM solution addresses this.
It means comprehensive governance features, which allow teams to tightly control permissions and usage rights for assets, as well as tracking and expiration tools.
With the right DAM solution, manual processes are replaced by automated approaches, creativity and collaboration can flourish, and marketing teams can make sure that the right content reaches the right shoppers at the right time.
This is important year-round, of course, but during traditionally chaotic seasonal shopping periods, it’s particularly important. Plus, by reducing the time marketers have to spend doing tedious jobs, a DAM solution also frees up time to do value-add tasks. Or, more importantly, enjoy the Christmas festivities.
Sairah Mojib, head of marketing, EMEA, Widen