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How to target UK Customers this Christmas .

The author

Epiphany Search

There's no doubt about it, holiday season is the most important time of the year for retailers. Making the most of this busy spending period is an absolute must, and fully understanding a customer's journey, both on and offline, is key.

Success revolves around placing your business in front of the right people, at the right time. To do this, retailers need to understand who their customers are, gather the most useful data, and then sift through the masses to find the audiences that really matter.

In the UK, there's a diverse consumer base. With so many personalities to consider, it can be hard for retailers to know where to start. To make things easier, we've discovered four different personas - using YouGov profiling data and Epiphany's insight.

Each persona represents a different type shopper retailers can expect to come across this Christmas. From this, we've also explored exactly how businesses can tailor their marketing efforts to target them.

(N.B. The personas below are not representative of all UK shopping behaviour - we've simply chosen four as examples.)

Persona 1: The Festive Fanatic

If you're obsessed with Christmas, love all things Santa and enjoy planning gifts long before summer is even over, then you might be a Festive Fanatic. This kind of consumer starts planning early in the year (perhaps even in January) and they're generally finished before December rolls around - with the exception of smaller gifts and stocking fillers. 

Gift lists are a must for the Festive Fanatic, and they crave peer approval from friends and loved ones.

Key persona stats:

  • Enjoys purchasing gifts in-store
  • High spend
  • Picks gifts up during the entire year, with most bought before December

Like the Festive Fanatic, retailers need to start early if they want to capture this particular consumer. Begin engagement at the start of the new year and connect via micro-conversions like email sign-ups. If your brand is constantly on a consumer's radar, it'll have a higher chance of making its way into a gift list.

It's never too early for Christmas content either, and don't forget to make content shareable to help the consumer share ideas with friends and family. Don't be surprised if online conversions are slow at first however, it's to be expected. Gift lists take quite a long time to create after all!

As for sales, the Festive Fanatic isn't the type of consumer you'll find queuing outside a store on Black Friday but this doesn't mean they're unreachable with discounts. Implement sequential advertising using search, display and paid social: opt for generic ad messaging at first, the re-engage with focused, product-led ads based on their previous interest.

When the Black Friday period does arrive, put an end to a Festive Fanatic's endless scrolling by offering discounts on specific products.  

In the final few weeks before Christmas, update shopping feed ads frequently with an emphasis on price comparison. For retailers who use aggregate sites, don't forget to keep those listings accurate as well!

With days to go, buzz should be created around those 'nice-to-have' products through promo-led cross selling. By doing this, you can become the retailer of choice for last-minute gifts.

Persona 2: Savvy Claus

Christmas shopping in December? Even the thought makes a Savvy Claus shudder. Preparation is key for this kind of consumer, so much so they probably decorate their Christmas tree the second Bonfire Night is over!

For the first six months of the year, a Savvy Claus will plan, plan, plan. As for the other six, the focus is firmly on buying and wrapping presents.

This Christmas persona isn't afraid of online shopping either. In fact, they prefer it - they're comfortable with mobile devices and tend to be active on social media.

Key persona stats:

  • Buy gifts throughout the year
  • Low to medium spend
  • Mainly purchase online

Nothing is left to chance when it comes to purchasing the perfect gift for a Savvy Claus. They're always on the lookout for the right gift for a special someone, and this is why retailers must have an 'always on' approach.

Gift lists are in full swing by summer, compiled using both search and social. To target the consumer at this time of year, keep a low level of Christmas keyword PPC bidding live. Using clicks, audience lists can then be built and used to re-engage with the right audience in the months leading up to the holidays!

As mentioned, a Savvy Claus loves planning and this kind of customer should always be engaged with on their terms. By this, we mean utilising their preferred platforms. If, for example, your Savvy Claus is a huge fan of Pinterest, make a wide array of Pinterest target options available. By using the data you have wisely, you'll be able to engage and reach people who are already interacting with Christmas-themed content.

As for on-site activity, keep your Christmas content up to date to support organic presence. Add your readers to audience lists created earlier on in the year, and use them to inform contextual display ads. This way, you can catch consumers who plan Christmas long in advance without intruding on the consumers that don't.

During the pre-Christmas shopping holidays, remarket product-focused display ads. After Cyber Monday, stop promoting. By this time our Savvy Claus will have everything their need for a fantastic Christmas, and they'll be occupied with making their wrapping as wonderful as possible.

Persona 3: The S(E)lfish Shopper

While Festive Fanatics and Savvy Claus' are obsessed with Christmas, a S(E)lfish Shopper isn't quite as fussed. They pick gifts up impulsively, with a 'that'll do' mentality. As for price, this kind of consumer doesn't plan on spending a fortune but it's safe to say they won't go out of their way to find the best deals either.

S(E)lfish Shoppers are big fans of Black Friday, purchasing a huge chunk of their gifts during the sales period. Always looking for a simple, hassle-free experience, they tend to use mobile devices rather than laptops or desktops too.

Key persona stats:

  • Tend to be young males
  • Intends on low spend, but ends up spending medium-high
  • Purchase mid-late December or after Christmas

S(E)lfish Shoppers are usually young, and only have a small list of people to buy presents for. When they do pick up a gift, it tends to be impulsive and, usually, over the Black Friday weekend.

Retailers shouldn't actively plan to reach this customer - they're not quite as valuable as the rest. However, they are fairly easy to convert, especially when using paid social to promote a sale. If you can offer a brilliant mobile experience, you're likely to convert them - commuters might suffer from patchy signal though!

Once Cyber Monday is over, the ego-orientated shopper can often be retargeted across various social channels, such as Instagram. Create carousels of your best-selling products and show off the crème-de-la-crème in a user friendly way. S(E)lfish Shoppers will be able to get their hands on a fantastic present, without hardly any effort. Cap the frequency of your targeting however, this consumer isn't known for staying loyal to a brand.

Persona 4: Saint Nick of Time

There's no doubt about it, every year someone will always leave their Christmas shopping until the very last minute. Even when they've been told, months in advance, exactly what to pick up the job never gets done until those final few days leading up to the 25th.

Next-day delivery and late-night shopping are the only thing saving this kind of consumer.

Key persona stats:

  • Generally male, aged 40 to 54
  • Mainly purchase gifts offline
  • Tend to start their Christmas shopping the week before Christmas, or as late as Christmas Eve

Retailers, forget all about discounts or brand identity. What this customer needs is a gift, and right now. To grab the Saint Nick of Time's attention, create campaigns focused on last-minute intent. Reassuring the customer that there's still time left, and Christmas isn't ruined, is key.

Show them products they've previously searched for and, if you can, offer next-day delivery or click and collect at stores with late-night opening hours. Bid on Christmas gift keywords, and make sure your brand is seen by doing this right up until Christmas Eve.

Has your delivery date already passed? It's not all over, the Saint Nick of Time can still pick up a gift in-store. Make sure organic map listings are accurate and update opening times - this makes shopping so much easier for the customer, and they'll be thankful when they're running around at such a late hour.

By the time the Saint Nick of Time even starts thinking about shopping, the Christmas period is pretty much over. Even so, there's still plenty of cross-sell opportunities available - it's always worth typing any conversions you do receive back to marketing activity to better attribute the value of last-minute consumers.