Consumers may complain that Christmas comes earlier every year, but Christmas planning is year round for marketers (the savvy ones, anyway). Adroll, Responsys and Practical Commerce have all weighed in with some best marketing practices for retailers.
AdRoll offered some retargeting best practices.
First, be sure you have the creative to promote holiday deals. "You’ll see higher ROI by putting together some holiday-specific creative that clearly shows any promotions you may be offering or seasonal merchandise you may be selling," advises the company on its blog.
Second, put deals front and center. According to AdRoll’s own data, 39.7% of holiday shoppers seeking free shipping and 20.9% comparing prices online according to shop.org data.
Similarly, push any credit or financing options, sooner than later. As email platform provider Responsys describes, Montgomery Ward is already referencing the holiday season in email blasts (see graphic), by appealing to buyers’ finances. Montgomery Ward is pushing its customer credit over layaway. Note the tree and presents. "Financial messaging is one of a number of early holiday messaging tactics that's targeted at locking in holiday sales or intent well before the weather turns chilly."
Next, target past purchasers, and include recent purchasers, advises AdRoll. The most likely customers have already bought from you before. A Shop.Org survey of 2011 holiday shoppers revealed that 63% of shoppers had shopped on a company's website before and returned for holiday gift shopping. So while it is common to remove recent customers from retargeting campaigns, a customer may make several purchases during a season.
That said, target people who have not returned in 90 days as well; perhaps they purchased from your site nearly a year ago, as "It’s fair game to assume that they’ll return to buy that exact same item or others as gifts for the holidays."
Finally, boost your CPM bid. Q4 is a peak season for online advertisers, and a higher CPM will keep you ahead of the pack. Consider increasing ad frequency as well.
A practical point, from the Practical Commerce blog: A retailer's online shopping cart needs to be up to date, with all security patches applied, and enhancements and changes in place. "By the end of September you should freeze all development. You should not consider any change to your computer systems. The last thing you need is a failure on your busiest time of year."