Telling ‘Inventory Liquidators’ From Full-Price Shoppers

Debra Ellis, founder, Wilson & Ellis Consulting

For some marketers, “Big Data” is a scary concept. That may mean they don’t bother with data at all. Information on buyers, though, can be a marketer’s friend, says Debra Ellis, founder of Wilson & Ellis Consulting.
“Seasonal and discount shoppers are relatively easy to recognize, because they have very specific buying patterns,” Ellis writes in a piece published on Aug. 1 on LinkedIn Today. “Creating customized marketing for them increases their response and reduces costs. The dual benefits make this a logical place to begin.”

Ellis, a former Target Marketing blogger, further advises:

The Basics
For seasonal shoppers: Find out how recently they’ve purchased, how often and how much they’ve paid. Then create a marketing plan to contact them only when they’re likely to purchase, increasing efficiency by lowering marketing costs and not impacting sales.

For discount buyers: Market to them with appropriate discounts. (Know how low the prices have to go before they’ll buy, then send them information.) Ellis says customers in this group can serve as “inventory liquidators.”

A Deeper Dive
Figure out which products to promote to which people, then layer that over the “when.” Marketers may find combinations of seasonal and discount shoppers such as Ellis when she buys American Girl dolls and merchandise for her daughter—full price for her daughter’s birthday and Christmas, sale items during the rest of the year.

Even Deeper
Consider retargeting. Ellis uses the example of her search on Amazon for “soda can tops.” She didn’t buy, but the email from Amazon two weeks later gave her enough time to purchase, if she changed her mind.

Other positives Ellis found:

  • It doesn’t share how they know that the shopper is interested in a specific category or item. (The Amazon email said: “Are you looking for something in our Kitchen Utensils & Gadgets department? If so, you might be interested in these items.”)
  • It makes accessing the items easy by providing multiple links.
  • The branding is obvious with links to her account, deals and departments.

How do most marketers use “Big Data”? Do most marketers use the type of analysis Ellis details?

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.

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