Consumer Communications: Prep for Holiday Marketing Using the Kaizen Method

For most retailers, a successful holiday shopping season is critical to sustained growth and success.  Historically, we will begin working with our retail clients on the following year’s holiday traffic driver campaigns as soon as all the decorations are taken down from the previous season. The first step to planning is taking the time to look back.

We worked with Toyota over the years on various campaigns. One of the best takeaways from that relationship was the adoption of Kaizen practices. Kaizen stands for the continuous improvement. In our work, together we planned Kaizen sessions at the end of every campaign where we assembled all decision makers and key stakeholders to evaluate learnings, best practices and ways to innovate and evolve.

Now, before, during and after every campaign we monitor results and explore opportunities for improvement, looking for ways to increase the value of the campaign. Approaches include:

  • Assessing more affordable pricing strategies
  • Improving or increasing workflow efficiencies
  • Increasing impact and results

Next up, we need to look at how consumers approach and plan for holiday shopping. The National Retail Federation recently surveyed consumers and identified some important numbers for marketers to consider before finalizing any holiday campaigns:

47 percent of holiday shoppers say they visit stores to gather gift ideas.

What does this mean for marketers? Don’t rule out brick and mortar retail and, when possible, employ an omni-channel approach to capture the consumers at key points on their buying journey.

63 percent noted they’d like to use online wish lists to assist with gift purchasing.

Make sure you have curated your best product offering by early June and begin long-lead gift guide pitching by the end of August. In addition, find a way on your platform to facilitate online wish lists if you haven’t done so already.

Three out of four holiday shoppers checked return policies before making purchases.

In the age of Amazon, retailers must make sure the return policy is simple to execute or they will lose the sale.

93 percent of consumers said their loyalty would be affected if they didn’t receive a response to a negative comment.

Consumers have become vocal on social media and will demand a satisfaction publicly when they do not get satisfaction through more traditional customer service channels. Make sure your team is trained and ready to respond during key shopping periods.

While retailers may not be able to predict what holiday item will be the “must have gift,” employing the Kaizen method to continuously improve your holiday campaigns will help ensure success.

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