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Preparing for the Holiday Retail Season: The Amazon Threat and the Facebook Trap

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Will it be “Ho, Ho, Ho” or “Oh, no, no” for retailers the 2016 holiday retail season?

While holiday retail season is as important as ever – accounting for over 30% of annual revenue for some retailers – it’s getting ever harder to master, given the combination of budget constraints, tired infrastructures, changing consumer expectations, and nimble, unpredictable new competitors. The challenges for traditional in-store retail are many, and they are growing in intensity. Primary among these are dedicated e-commerce sites (especially Amazon), social platforms (especially Facebook), the pressing need to integrate physical stores with digital services, and the relentless flood of data that can drown an organization.

The first three of these challenges are like Grinches set on spoiling the holidays for retailers. But the fourth, says Tim Walters, is potentially the solution for a happy holiday outcome. Retailers are wealthy in the knowledge and insight harbored in the customer data that flows through their myriad marketing, sales, service, and other internal systems.  When aggregated, understood, and acted upon smartly, this data can deliver something that is beyond the ability of the challengers – a truly comprehensive customer understanding that provides not just personalized offers or content but assistance, understanding, and relevance.

In this paper, Tim analyzes each of the holiday retail challenges to understand its most seductive and attractive features, which can potentially be imitated and improved by retailers. He then considers how the strategic use of data can support highly relevant relationships with consumers and ensure a happy holiday season for all.

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