With holiday shopping season around the corner, retailers are prepping their email distribution lists.

Retailers prepping email marketing lists for the holidays

With the 2013 holiday season primed to begin, retailers are already readying their email contact lists to maximize success. In fact, according to a recent article from Retail Customer Experience, store owners and ecommerce sites are preparing to kick off the shopping season before kids are even going door-to-door to collect candy. So, how are brands planning to stand out in the holiday melee?

Timing is everything               
A recent survey from Experian noted that nearly half (49 percent) of retailers plan on launching their first online holiday campaign before Halloween, yet most won't begin in earnest until two weeks out from Thanksgiving, MarketWatch cited.

The majority of retailers plan to funnel their marketing budgets into online channels, with 55 percent saying they will be leveraging their email marketing lists to reach shoppers. Some of the promotional tactics they plan on using within these messages include free shipping, e-coupons and deal-of-the-day offers.

Customizing the consumer experience               
One of the biggest trends retailers are expected to leverage is consumer customization, i.e. sending out specific deals, discounts and news based on customer purchase and browsing histories. According to the news source, while shoppers have now come to expect deep discounts – punishing those who don't offer them – businesses are looking for additional ways to catch their attention.

For example, some firms will be sending out business emails with tailored gift recommendations for existing customers. This can also work for how they offer discounts. If a shopper regularly purchases cooking supplies throughout the year, this may be a prime time to send him or her an email with a special coupon for these goods, and this can have a lasting effect, Retail Customer Experience noted. 

"Marketers who come up with creative ways to connect with customers this holiday season will not only increase sales in Q4, they'll also improve brand loyalty and continue to enjoy the payoff in 2014," stated the news provider.

To get started, it's important for retailers to take a hard look at their email marketing lists. Have they been updated recently? How active are recipients? Is it time to get help from professionals in the business? The answers to all of these questions could make or break a brand this holiday season, as pressure to see high returns increases.

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