The holiday season is just around the corner. And it represents a perfect chance for your e-commerce business to connect with customers and prospects. However, to tap into this holiday goldmine you need to adjust your email marketing strategy and focus on personalization.

Why personalization matters

I have been at Moosend, and now Sitecore following the 2021 acquisition, for over 4 years. The digital world is constantly evolving, and it’s always exciting to see email marketing steadily have a high ROI. Email marketing trends may come and go, but there’s one strategy that isn’t likely to go out of style any time soon: personalization.

And while personalization is a favorite marketing buzzword, it’s what consumers expect these days. They want to be heard and understood by their favorite brands.

According to a study from this year, 52% of consumers in 2020 expected offers to always be personalized. In 2022, that number has jumped to 56%. This applies from sales and marketing to upselling and after-sales support.

So, it’s no wonder that, with competition steadily increasing, personalization has become a high priority for most businesses. Creating personally curated experiences is at the top of all marketers’ lists, especially since 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that recognize, remember, and provide relevant offers and recommendations.

And according to Sitecore’s 2022 U.S. Holiday Report, just 1 in 4 plan to shop in-store. All combined, you have solid reasons to believe this year’s best email marketing strategy is to offer personalized experiences.

What to expect this holiday season

Given the huge volume of emails subscribers receive during the holidays, as well as the shifting consumer landscape, the fight for attention in your recipients’ inboxes will be harsh.

Here are some key findings from our Holiday Report:

  • 30% of consumers will treat themselves to an expensive or luxury item during the holidays
  • 56% say the online experience is more convenient
  • 76% shop online to get early access to deals and discounts

Effective holiday personalization techniques

While personalization might sound like a challenge for some, in fact, it’s just a matter of a few right actions.

Based on my experience in the email marketing industry, here are the 3 top holiday personalization strategies that will help you increase revenue this holiday season.

Strategy 1: Address your recipients by name

As an email marketing expert and enthusiast, I have seen thousands of email marketing campaigns. So, you would guess that nothing surprises me anymore. Wrong! As familiar as I may be with the classic techniques, a well-personalized newsletter gets me every time. And I am not talking about anything fancy here. Seeing my name in the content sometimes is enough to make me go through the whole email.

It might seem obvious, but many brands seem to forget about this simple yet effective technique. But, if you think about it, no one likes to be called “hey you”. So, it only makes sense that any personalized journey should start with your recipient’s first name.

You can use their name not only inside your newsletter but also in the subject line, a trick that can increase open rates by 26%.

With Sitecore Send you can personalize campaign content easily by using Personalization Tags, fully customizable subscriber custom fields that allow you to use all kinds of useful customer data you’ve collected inside your campaigns, such as location, age, or birthday.

Strategy 2: Offer personalized product recommendations

Even when marketers do their best to develop an extremely attractive email marketing campaign, there are users out there that rarely give in to compulsive shopping. To win these users and turn them into buyers, there’s only one way to go: personalized product recommendations.

Personalized product recommendations can vastly increase your online business profits, as they are a proven way to increase customer engagement, improve click-through rates, and ultimately generate more online revenue.

In fact, we’re talking about an invaluable email marketing strategy, judging by Amazon’s recommendation engine which accounts for 35% of the company’s revenue. And when you know that this year, 41% of consumers will make more impulse purchases during the holidays, then product recommendations are a one-way street.

With Sitecore Send, we use advanced AI techniques to generate personalized product recommendations by analyzing your e-commerce data and come up with products that will make your customers exclaim “Perfect!”

Harness the power of intelligent marketing automation by choosing from a variety of categories and customizing your newsletters accordingly – based on popularity, orders, revenue generation, or user behavior.

Let’s take a closer look at the product category options:

Items purchased: The default option recommending the top products based on the number of times ordered. Sitecore Send will consider the product that has scored the highest sales on your site and your selected audience will receive the hottest picks for the given period.

Revenue: Recommends the top products that generate more revenue for your business, either because of their high prices, or thanks to their higher profit margins. With Send’s targeted recommendation type, you can now address these products to specific segments and thus increase your conversion potential further.

Views: Recommends the top products based on the number of product views. This type is auto-synced with your e-shop logs and renders your already popular products viral.

Al: Provides a personalized product recommendation option for each user, based on the preferences of each of your subscribers, and their past purchases.

With Christmas just around the corner, and with shoppers engaging with recommended products leading to a 70% higher conversion rate, it's time to leave random presents to Santa and surprise your audience with some email campaigns that will give them exactly what they want in their Christmas stockings.

Strategy 3: Win them back with a cart abandonment campaign

Cart abandonment is a common issue during the holiday season. Shoppers fill up their carts with different items and then disappear, leaving them behind. Though it’s a classic e-commerce year-round problem, it’s remarkably high during the holiday season.

December is the month with the highest online cart abandonment rate because customers spend a significant amount of time looking for Christmas gift ideas.

And it is not an issue that you should take lightly. It’s reported that e-commerce stores lose $18 billion in sales revenue each year because of cart abandonment.

One of the most effective ways to bring those abandoned cart rates down is email marketing automation. Email automation can not only retrieve those lost sales but also save you precious time and resources. Because once you create an automation workflow, you can sit back and relax while it runs automatically.

An abandoned cart automation with the help of Sitecore Send will surely work to your benefit. And the best part is that you can set one up in just a few minutes, by using the Abandoned Cart Recipe.

Just connect your Send account to your e-commerce website to allow our platform to identify your customers when they visit your site and filter out people who have completed the purchase. Then, those who have incomplete purchases will receive the email campaign you have prepared for this occasion in the campaign editor.

Sophie Krokida is a Product Marketing Manager at Sitecore. Connect with her on LinkedIn.