Few sales opportunities shift as much from year to year as the holiday shopping season. Long gone are the days of perusing store shelves and basing buying decisions on direct mail and radio jingles. Today there’s social shopping, mobile shopping—which peaked at 26% of digital sales last November—and online shopping, where consumers are now armed with comparison tools like Amazon 1Button and PriceBlink.
No doubt you’ve already labored over last year’s stats and are preparing your stores for the season. Revenue targets are in place, the warehouse is stocked and advertising campaigns are ready to go. But what if spending doesn’t happen according to plan?
If your marketing and merchandise mix are based on incomplete data, it could happen. With so much transformation in the market from year to year, there’s one thing all brick-and-mortar retailers need for a successful season.
We’re speaking, of course, about trip data.
To understand what will drive more foot traffic this season, you need not just drive times showing where customers live, but current, relevant data revealing exactly where they drive. Without this critical piece, you could be making key decisions based on inaccurate customer and location analytics. Since eSite’s launch of Trip2Trade, we’ve learned two important lessons for retailers:
1. Potential customers aren’t always where traditional data says they are.
Just because customers live nearby, it doesn’t mean they’re spending time near your locations. In some trade areas, commuting patterns significantly impact where hurried holiday shoppers pick up gifts and goods. In others, it’s an overlooked geographic barrier that prevents target clientele from traveling to stores. In instances like these, not even a heavy push to promote new flavors or the season’s hottest “it” toys will drive more foot traffic.
2. It’s not just where, but when.
In many areas, consumers’ driving patterns differ drastically from weekdays to weekends. In addition, there are numerous time-of-day factors that can impact the overall performance of a single store: Whether the surrounding neighborhoods are primarily residential or business, where trips originate, demographics of “feeder” traffic, lunch breaks, dinner hours and much more.
Keep in mind, too, that in many trade areas driving behaviors change dramatically in November and December. There are Santas to visit, pumpkin spice lattes to buy and holiday parties to attend. This is why trip data, and not just standard drive times and radius rings, are so important. Before planning holiday marketing, first figure out exactly where your shoppers will be coming from.
Use Trip Data to Create Your Most Successful Shopping Season Yet
Step 1: Know your trade areas
Step 2: Work together
This year’s holiday winners will be the retailers whose real estate and marketing departments collaborate closely. Use trip data to select billboard locations, place signs, guide mobile marketing, staff stores and plan extended hours.
Interested in learning more about how trip data and spatial analytics can help you plan for a successful holiday shopping season?
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Photo credit: William Murphy