If you’re a consumer insights professional for a brand or retailer, you’re probably getting ready to celebrate Christmas in July, although “celebrating” might not be quite the right word for it.
With so much revenue at stake during the holiday season, it’s smart to get an early jump on obtaining data that can give you an early read on consumers’ holiday spending inclinations and expectations. A baseline sense of their attitudes toward gift-shopping, travel and holiday parties could be the foundation for smart, data-informed thinking that will pay off during the year-end shopping crunch.
Those payoffs are potentially gigantic, so a few ounces of data-driven early preparation could reap a ton of success come the holidays. The National Retail Federation (NRF) reported that U.S. consumers spent $692 billion last November-December, not counting restaurants, gas stations and auto dealers. With that much money on the table, it’s worth your while to take a systematic, data-informed look ahead.
A wide range of retail categories historically have earned 20% or more of their annual revenues during November and December, according to the NRF. They includes jewelry stores, department stores, discount department stores, electronics and appliance retailers, clothing and shoe stores, sporting goods stores, hobby shops, book stores and music stores.
Here are examples of early-insights holiday research projects that might be worth exploring:
- What are your loyal customers’ deep-down feelings about what makes for a great Christmas- shopping experience?
- Start by gathering observational location-tracking data to identify your year-round loyalists (or your competitors’ loyalists).
- Survey them now about what has made past Christmas shopping experiences special, or disappointing? What they say in July could be at least as revealing as what they say during the post-Thanksgiving heat of the hunt.
- What makes special holiday features such as decorations and live Christmas music memorable and appealing rather than merely cliched? What turnoffs get in the way of a satisfying holiday shopping experience?
- Art supply stores and hobby stores can track, identify and survey their loyalists and non-buyers who shop nearby. Get a preliminary sense of the market for DIYcreativity in gift-giving and greeting cards.
- When should casual dining restaurants launch special holiday menus? What offers would induce their regular customers to ramp up their patronage by organizing larger dine-out dinner parties with friends and coworkers? When do consumers most want to socialize outside their immediate families?
If you think it’s worth breaking a sweat in July to land data and insights that will pay off when "Jingle Bells" is in the air, we should talk soon. Set up a productive and informative demo by clicking here.
Meanwhile, here’s wishing a happy and safe Fourth of July to all.