Acxiom VP Promotes “Generating Jingle” To Engage Last-Minute Holiday Shoppers

While the recession is technically over, research shows consumer sentiment is still dismal.  According to a recent survey from BIGresearch, 81% of consumers believe the recession has not ended.

To help retailers engage those still-skeptical shoppers, Acxiom recently published a report titled “Generate More Jingle This Holiday Season: Engaging Last-Minute Shoppers to Lift Holiday Sales,” which analyzes last-minute holiday shopper trends and behavioral traits. The report offers retailers strategies to leverage key last-minute shopper insights to reach and engage them with renewed confidence.

Recently Retail TouchPoints caught up with Jim Harold, Acxiom’s VP of Retail & Consumer Markets, for a Q&A. Harold emphasized the importance of in-store presentations and displays, how analytics can help retailers determine valuable customers and the demographical personas assigned to last minute shoppers:

Retail TouchPoints: During the 2010 holiday season, competitive differentiation is key. The report discusses how retailers who are able to identify their last-minute shoppers can provide a competitive margin of differentiation. What can retailers do to achieve this goal?


Jim Harold: The thrust of the report is about understanding customers’ behaviors and intentions well enough to recognize opportunities and optimize customer value at every interaction.  For retailers, this means using multidimensional insights to deliver targeted communication messages through a mix and rhythm of media based upon what is known about and desired by specific groups of consumers.  For example, the study suggests that holiday shoppers who began in early December are more influenced by print ads, direct mail or perhaps word of mouth.  In contrast, if retailers know to expect a new group of first-time holiday shoppers with greater urgency later in the month, they might shift some of their media dollars to channels like broadcast or mass media. And the millennial age group, 18- to 33-year-olds, responds positively to emerging media.

It is also important not to overlook in-store presentations and displays.  While no retailer wants to make major floor changes during the holidays, subtle changes to end caps, highlighted merchandise and promotional signage can grab the attention of the appropriate shopper. For example, in mid-December, a clothing store may want to de-emphasize some presentations targeting women under 35 (this group is likely to drop off by one-half) and reinforce presentation of items that target the over-35 female shopper (this group may nearly double in numbers during this time period).

RTP: The report highlights the two types of last minute consumers called “Power” and “Panic” shoppers, who can be reached based on their shopping behavior and media consumption preferences. Can you explain this concept in more detail?

Harold: Using analytics to model the likely shopping behaviors and intentions of specific groups of consumers and marrying that analysis with known customer preferences, we can determine which consumers are high value and likely to respond to a specific message through a particular channel. Acxiom has great experience in the analytics space with offerings that helps clients better understand their target customers.

The study demonstrates that looking at consumers through the filter of timing can be an effective tool to identify potential value this holiday season. This can help retailers refine their media and messaging so that their stores or web

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