Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and beyond: Personalization and UGC fundamentals for peak season

Black Friday and Cyber Monday marks the start of peak season, and being just a few months away, merchants need to prepare. We’re here to advise you on how you can optimize the shopper experience across touchpoints for a successful peak, through personalization and user-generated content (UGC). Here’s how to ensure a top-tier shopping experience that gets you glowing results this holiday season and thereafter!

Remember to inspire gift shoppers

Of course, it’s likely you’re going to have lots of new traffic visit your store over peak season who you won’t immediately have the requisite data on to personalize their interactions. Also, many of your shoppers will be buying for others as opposed to themselves, so you’re going to want to consider how you can surface items that might be relevant as gift purchases instead of what they’re necessarily interested in.

Setting up best-seller Product Recommendations is your first essential, acting as a fallback for 1:1 Recommendations that can also be useful for inspiring gift shoppers on what to gift. Enticing people to interact with these placements also creates opportunities for you to gather on-site behavioral data that can be used to create more unique recommendations upon following visits (or even throughout their same session!).

Another tactic for gift inspiration that doesn’t rely on historical shopper data is using bundles to promote cross-sells of related products (say, to what’s being viewed, what’s in the cart). The shopper might want to snap items like these up as additional stocking fillers—especially when there’s a discount involved!

Shoppers’ locations can also be considered. Highlighting locally-trending products in a particular area to those within it can be useful for those stuck on what to buy. For example, if a certain toy is trending in New York City, you can target parents with that must-have item, or with content/products related to it.

For more tactical actions that will both help gift searchers and other holiday season shoppers (while nurturing conversions and AOV for you, of course!) download our newest guide:

For now, let’s pass through a few more fundamentals.

Boost conversions to capitalize on all that extra traffic

So all that extra traffic (and money spent driving traffic to your site) isn’t falling through a leaky bucket, you’re going to want to optimize your site for conversions ahead of peak season.

Firstly, be sure to have a substantial amount of campaigns targeting returning visitors specifically, be it through Product Recommendations, Content Personalization, or more. Highlighting discounts around specific brands that a returning customer has shown affinity to, for example, can be really impactful. 

Another goldmine is to include user-generated content within your product imagery onsite. Showing trusted, customer content is highly-influential when it comes to purchasing decisions, and might be the deciding factor on whether or not a customer seals the deal.

It’s not just about the social proof of UGC being validating for shoppers, either. Within verticals like fashion, it helps them visualize how items can be styled or fall on a more diverse and relatable selection of people than what your studio imagery of a single item will likely model (meaning fewer returns).

Lastly, be sure to really highlight discounts (duh!). Wherever an item’s cost is reduced, showing its full price crossed out or highlighting the exact percentage that would be saved upon purchase sounds simple, but can motivate shoppers that are on the fence.

Nurture customer lifetime value as your traffic naturally peaks

Despite the extra traffic merchants inevitably see across the peak season, one challenge they face is the transient value much of it comes with. But hey, there are a few things you can do!

Firstly, be strategic with your Pop-Ups. One of the best moments to have a pop-up surface is when shoppers are about to leave your store with something in their basket—especially on BFCM, when abandon cart rates soar. Use them to offer discount codes that encourage shoppers to continue browsing or even purchase. 

Also, target new visitors with pop-ups that encourage email subscriptions, such as sign up for free shipping-type incentives. This gets you valuable customer data which you can use to not only send abandoned cart reminders, but other emails retargeting them at a later date. 

It’s also important to focus on maintaining the ‘commitment’ of your loyal customers during peak season. You can do this by rewarding them. One campaign example is offering exclusive access to your BFCM and boxing day sales to VIP segments. You could promote this through SMS or email and drive them to your site before your sales go public. Early access vs. public access is a clear perk that shows your most loyal purchasers that you appreciate their support, and encourages them to continue favoring you.

So, what else?

These are just a few tips… you can dive much deeper into this topic in our new guide: How to prep for peak season with personalization and UGC. Download it today!

New research: Festive Shoppers 5x as Likely to Click on Retailers’ Product Recommendations and 81% More Likely to Click on Personalized Content This Year

Shoppers browse 22% more pages per visit, lingering 10% longer on each page as retailers’ product discovery campaigns contribute to a 4.10% hike in average...

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