How Businesses Can Prepare With Big Data For Holiday Shopping Season
Now more than ever, people use the internet to take care of their holiday shopping. Gone are the days when trips to the mall or department stores ate up shoppers’ time during the busy holiday season. Why make the trip, fight the crowd, and deal with the frustration of shopping in person when you can simply log onto your computer or mobile device, tap a few buttons, and receive your purchased items on your doorstep within a day or two?
Every year, the period between Black Friday and New Year’s means big money for most retailers. Some businesses make up to 75% of their sales in the fourth quarter. With so much relying on holiday sales, retailers need every advantage they can get to make the most out of the season. That’s where holiday data comes in.
According to Insider Intelligence, US retail sales grew by 16.1% during the 2021 holiday season. The company forecasts that 2022 holiday sales will see another 15.5% increase. As a retailer, you simply can’t afford to miss out on the opportunity to increase your sales by taking advantage of readily available data. Using that data, you can plan for the holiday season like never before, generate more revenue, and start off the new year on the right foot. In this article, we’ll detail how big data can help your business prepare for the holiday shopping season.
Use the table of contents to jump to the section that interests you most.
Why Holiday Season Sales Data Is an Essential Tool
With almost every major holiday comes a certain amount of increased interest in shopping. People want to find the best Black Friday sale, the most competitive Christmas sale, and sales surrounding many other holidays celebrated in the United States.
Although some US shoppers wait until the last minute to buy holiday gifts, many have begun shopping earlier. In 2021, 45% of respondents to a survey conducted by McKinsey & Company reported that they had already begun Christmas shopping by early October. Only 11% of respondents said they would wait until December to start shopping.
Due to ongoing supply chain challenges, US consumers now tend to prioritize not only value and convenience but also product availability. This means shoppers are willing to shop elsewhere if their usual retailers can’t provide their desired products. They also may not stick to a single shopping channel, purchasing gifts online, in brick-and-mortar stores, and in other spaces.
Big data is an essential tool to introduce your company to these omni-channel shoppers. Holiday sales data can include transaction information culled from eCommerce websites, GPS-enabled mobile devices, and point of sale devices, among other sources.
You can use big data to scrape and analyze social media posts, reactions, and product reviews. By comparing that data to transactional data, customer lists, and loyalty club memberships, you can dig deep into online promotional campaigns to determine where and why they’re likely to succeed.
Supply chain challenges also mean shipping windows are shrinking. Experts anticipate a 30% slowdown for first-class mail during the 2022 holiday season. It’s important to act early to get ahead of the shopping rush — and the competition.
What Shopping Data Can Teach You
Many large and small companies use holiday shopping data to target customers more effectively, increase sales, and maintain a competitive edge. Holiday data about the wants, needs and shopping behaviors of potential customers can be used in various ways, including the following.
Anticipate customer behavior
Analyzing big data relating to customer holiday spending can provide valuable insight into the needs and behavior of your customers. The ability to analyze and compare store (or web) traffic patterns, customer demographics, purchasing behavior, conversions, and other data will give you a wider view of your customer base in a way that will allow you to anticipate shopper behavior. You may also be able to stay ahead of customer demand, minimizing out-of-stock items.
Set pricing in real-time
The speed with which you can obtain and analyze big data gives you the power to analyze eCommerce and retail transactions in real-time. This allows you to adjust prices and promotions on the fly, attracting customers and staying ahead of the competition.
Personalize marketing campaigns and offers
By analyzing customer shopping data, you can dive deep into customers’ individual likes, needs, and behaviors, allowing you to customize marketing offers and coupons individually by leveraging big data.
Focus on holidays that matter to your customers
Some holidays are more important to some groups of people than others. Dial into your customers’ interests and priorities when creating marketing campaigns, particularly around holidays.
While Black Friday and Christmas are apt to remain two of the biggest retail holidays regardless of your industry, many retailers will find that there are other points during the year when they can increase sales numbers. By doing so, retailers can become less reliant on fourth-quarter sales. This means:
- A bigger fourth-quarter marketing budget
- Less of a “feast or famine” retail schedule
- Improved brand security year-round
- More of a cushion to lean on when unexpected things happen in your industry
Shopping metadata can show you when your target audience is spending money, which can help you plan your marketing schedule for the upcoming year.
For example, if your brand is environmentally conscious and eco-friendly, you may want to lean heavily into Earth Day if you find it essential to your customers. The same logic could apply to a flower shop around Mother’s Day, a candy retailer before Valentine’s Day, or a hardware store near Father’s Day. Let your data analysis drive your promotions.
While you may have discovered some of these shopping trends on your own over the years, holiday shopping data can help you determine:
- How much are consumers spending on other holidays?
- The types of items consumers are buying at different points in the year.
- Whether there are holidays throughout the year that you hadn’t considered significant for your brand but could potentially be marketing yourself toward.
Combined, this metadata allows you to stretch your holiday shopping sales throughout the year, increasing your company’s overall revenue.
Shape holiday retail strategies with shopping data
Holiday retail marketing goes beyond the items you’re selling or the prices you’re setting. To make — or exceed — your quota, you have to get customers in the door. And to do that, you need to understand which marketing techniques draw your target consumers’ eyes and entice them to participate.
Data scraping can show you:
- The types of images consumers spend the most time looking at
- The adjectives that are most compelling to your customers
- The social goods that your customers want you to support
All of this information can help you devise a strategic holiday marketing strategy. You can plan:
- A great theme to use for your social media marketing, online marketing, and in-person marketing strategies
- Exciting content to create that will draw new customers to engage with your brand
- Compelling words to use when devising email headlines and social media content
- Shopping trends, including when your consumers tend to be online
Web Scraping for Holiday Retail Data
Gathering big data is almost impossible for humans, as we simply cannot click, scan, and compile information quickly enough to make the endeavor feasible. A web scraper, however, is built for precisely this purpose.
Web scraping is large-scale data collection from websites, social media channels, and other sources. A web scraper is a tool that scans a website, page, or social media profile to collect relevant data based on your input. The scraper then compiles all of the gathered data, where the information is organized and structured in an easy-to-read format that makes it easy to analyze.
Scraping Robot is a pre-built web scraping tool that’s not only fast but also cost-effective with a low flat rate per scrape. This allows you to get the most out of your marketing budget. Scraping Robot removes the headache of collecting big data for the holiday shopping season. We manage servers, scalability, CAPTCHA solving, and more, which allows your company to focus on analyzing collected metadata and using that holiday retail data to make the right marketing decisions for your business.
Scraping Robot makes using your scraper’s holiday shopping data accessible by providing structured JSON output of a parsed website’s metadata. The data is parsed for you, and usage and stats results help you learn everything you can about your target audience’s behavior. Then, you can feed that information directly into your website or database. You won’t need to worry about IP blocks, CAPTCHAs, or managing proxies. Scraping Robot handles these details on your behalf. In addition, they have a reliable support system and 24/7 customer assistance!
How Rayobyte Proxies Help You Obtain Holiday Shopping Data
Although web scraping is a legitimate practice, some websites ban automated data extraction. Website administrators fear that scraping may flood their servers and cause site issues or outages, so some sites block any potential scraping activity outright. Some of these blocks may be based on the scraper’s IP address or geolocation.
Luckily, there’s a way to circumvent these blocks — proxies.
Proxy servers function as a gateway or intermediary between the web scraper and the website it’s trying to scrape. Using a proxy provides the web scraper with anonymity and private IP authentication, allowing you to get around anti-scraping blocks. Proxies can also make your web scraper appear to be located anywhere in the world, allowing access to location-specific content. There are several types of proxies you can use to avoid blocks.
Data center proxies
Data center proxies, as you might expect, are stored in data centers. As a result, these proxies are readily available, fast, and cost-effective. The only issue with data center proxies is that their data center IP addresses make them more easily identifiable. Because this can be a red flag, some websites flat-out ban all data center proxies or even entire subnets if they detect bot-like activity from a single data center IP address. This is why Rayobyte has a variety of C-class subnets and A- and B-classes.
ISP proxies are the perfect combination — they carry the trustworthiness of residential proxies and the speed of data center proxies. These proxies are housed in data centers, but they’re issued by real consumer internet providers.
With Rayobyte’s premium ISP proxies, you can access fast, stable connections that are as difficult for websites to detect as residential IP addresses. In addition, Rayobyte has no limit on threads or bandwidth, so you’ll save significantly. Rayobyte currently offers ISP proxies from the US, the UK, and Germany.
Residential proxies are the actual IP addresses of real individuals and are associated with ISPs. This gives your web scraper the appearance of real human internet activity rather than a bot. Using residential proxies affords you access to a vast network of millions of devices worldwide. Because most people access the internet using residential IP addresses, these proxies are the most trustworthy, meaning websites don’t block them without reason.
Rayobyte’s residential proxies with geotargeting functionality allow your web scraper to appear to be located anywhere in the world. Our large pool of high-quality residential proxies allows you to scrape a website located anywhere without detection. We don’t limit the number of connections you send at a time, and each gets a unique IP address. Our proxies also help you bypass CAPTCHAs, and other anti-scraping tools websites may use.
Ethically sourcing residential proxies is of the utmost importance to us. Read more about how Rayobyte sets the industry standard for ethical residential proxy sourcing.
The holiday shopping season is huge for consumers. But for retailers, the big data holiday shopping season is just as important. By investing in collecting holiday season sales data, you give your business the edge it needs to stay competitive all season long. By leveraging big data, your company can seize a huge opportunity to draw new customers, drive the loyalty of existing customers, and better understand holiday shoppers’ shopping behavior and needs and the trends they either follow or set.
Analyzing holiday shopping data will let your company develop an early edge over your competition by making adjustments to meet the needs of your customers. You’ll likely find that analyzing this data surrounding the gifts your customers’ purchase is a gift in itself! Contact Rayobyte today to get started!
The information contained within this article, including information posted by official staff, guest-submitted material, message board postings, or other third-party material is presented solely for the purposes of education and furtherance of the knowledge of the reader. All trademarks used in this publication are hereby acknowledged as the property of their respective owners.
Start a risk-free, money-back guarantee trial today and see the Rayobyte
difference for yourself!