Why marketers’ approaches to sales shoppers must change

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The preconception of sales shoppers looking to save a quick buck on an impulse bargain is leading marketers to make expensive mistakes. This is just one of the insights we uncovered when producing our 2017 Shopper Profiles report.

The report highlights the shopping behaviors that will drive fashion, luxury, beauty and travel purchases in 2017 across the US, the UK and Australia. The four profiles identified use data to challenge the preconceptions of how typical shoppers behave.

It’s no longer effective enough to think of shoppers in terms of age, gender and job. Instead, marketers need to embrace a more informed, data-led approach in defining their core audiences and how to reach them.

Understanding the behavior of sales shoppers

Here’s what we uncovered about just one of the key profiles.

Shoppers looking for savings (which we’ve dubbed “Discount Dependents” in our 2017 Shopper Profiles report) are best engaged with using consistent messaging over a longer time, rather than short, sharp sales. This gives these shoppers the chance to discover and consider products, meeting their need for extensive research before buying.

Black Friday month is still the peak for sales

Although the focus must shift from trying to attract Discount Dependent shoppers only during typical sales periods, November is still the biggest peak for these shoppers. This is unsurprising, as they scour the web for coupons and savings in the run-up to the holiday season, and, of course, try to grab a bargain during Black Friday week. Black Friday in 2016 saw a 120 percent increase in conversions globally over the previous month.

Always on the lookout for savings

Average spend remains fairly consistent for Discount Dependents across a series of consecutive purchases, while other shopper profiles see a big drop in spend around the ninth order. This suggests that Discount Dependents’ budgets actually remain the same, even when there are promotional offers and discounts.

The times these shoppers make purchases are also very consistent. There is a mere 1.8 percent increase in the number of orders from 7 p.m., which is typically a peak time for post-work online shopping. This demonstrates that Discount Dependents are looking out for sales all the time, keeping a close eye on things like email, social media and display ads to notify them if a product has come down in price.

Lengthy research and consideration phase

In terms of device, these shoppers are most visible on desktops, showing a preference for thorough research before committing to buy. On average, it takes 61 hours from the moment a desktop user clicks through to a product page to the point at which they place an order.

What this means for your marketing activity

What becomes clear is that Discount Dependent shoppers are willing to put the time and effort into making a considered purchase, rather than act on impulse. They’ll wait until they find what they’re looking for at the right price before finally committing to buy. They have alerts and feeds to notify them if a product comes down in price, and discount, coupon and cashback sites are a shopping destination in themselves.

This lengthening research and consideration phase is a trait common across the profiles we identified. Today, retailers must make sure they deliver a strong multi-channel approach to cater to this extensive period of online research.

But how do you know which channels and tactics to use?

Having a full view of the user journey and understanding your business objectives means that the mixture of channels and tactics needed to attract your key customers — and encourage them to behave in a way that gives your business what it needs — can be identified.

Say, for example, you want to attract new shoppers to your brand who are consistent with their spending. Data from Cadence, our attribution and insights platform, shows that working with coupon publishers is an effective way to do just that: 76 percent of the attributed revenue brought in by coupon publishers is from new customers — this despite the misconception that coupons only convert people who would’ve converted anyway.

An affiliate program featuring these coupon publishers should likely be part of your strategy, and other channels such as targeted Facebook ads and display retargeting also are key to reaching your objective.

Different marketing channels can achieve a multitude of things. Having a transparent view of the user journey allows you to understand the value driven by different aspects of your marketing activity.

Choosing the channel mix for your campaign based on data, rather than being led by assumptions, helps you avoid making expensive marketing mistakes.

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

James Collins has spent his entire career in the IT industry during which he has held senior project management and consulting roles. For the last decade, he has been working within the digital and online sector – delivering actionable insights from advertisers’ marketing data and empowering them to use these findings to make more effective marketing decisions. As well as a sound understanding of technology, James has strong people and change management skills, which he has used to deliver proven value from Rakuten Marketing’s attribution technology, and to help grow the business effectively. Working with brands like EDF, BSkyB and Virgin Holidays, his role is to ensure Rakuten Marketing’s attribution technology delivers insight and value to all clients, to enable confident data-driven strategic decisions.


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