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Talking Business: 'A customer is for life, not just the Christmas Sales'

Elizabetta Camilleri is chief executive of digital marketing platform SalesGossip.

Elizabetta Camilleri

Elizabetta Camilleri

From Black Friday through to the January Sales, the sheer volume of promotions over the festive period demonstrated how intense competition for shoppers has become. But some retailers kept their promotions focused and intelligent - and they are the ones who will retain customers and protect their profits in the long run.

We saw more than double the number of retailers with Black Friday promotions on November 28 (up 137% year on year) while the number running pre-Christmas offers increased by 48% on 2013. This momentum pulled Boxing Day Sales forward to as early as December 21, so promotions have been running for six weeks.

Smart retailers ran promotions on one product category (knitwear or lingerie, for example) to attract shoppers with a view to selling other lines at full price and protect profits. Some used one-day flash Sales with ‘advent calendar’ or ‘12 days of Christmas’ themes to create urgency with shoppers and attract them back on different days, which worked especially well online. was a great example, with flash Sales including 20% off outerwear, while Missguided ran 30% off Christmas jumpers.

The entire Christmas period was, and always will be, a shopping frenzy - and targeted promotions are exactly what retailers need to cut through that noise. But it shouldn’t end there: reaching the right audience with the right message has never been so important and, done correctly, the benefits of targeted promotions could be huge.

Creating momentum and urgency is great, but if it doesn’t resonate with the recipient the results won’t be positive, especially in this era of personalisation. If you know from your data that customer A is an older, professional mum and customer B is a young woman with no children, your message to each of those women to promote your offer should be entirely different.

With great customer service in store and online, a few pertinent questions asked of shoppers (face-to-face or via digital channels) and a considered approach to promotions, everything is possible.

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