By Graeme Grant, VP Predictive Intelligence, former president and COO, CQuotient

Though overall sales during Thanksgiving weekend fell 11% this year, comScore reported that online desktop sales in the U.S. rose 32% to $766 million on Thanksgiving and 26% to $1.2 billion on Black Friday. And Cyber Monday emerged as the busiest sales day of the season thus far, topping the $2 billion mark for the first time. According to our own data, we saw traffic increase 12.7% on Cyber Monday, and the number of orders edged up 13.6%. Additionally, shoppers placed over 5 times the number of orders during Cyber Week compared to the week before, and this year’s increase in the number of orders was slightly higher than what we saw last year.

The thing retailers need to understand about these Cyber Week shoppers – whether it’s those who opt to skip Thanksgiving dinner in favor of “door buster” sales or the ones who spend hours at work seeking the best Cyber Monday deals – is that they are not necessarily brand loyalists. In fact, many are likely shopping with you during Cyber Week solely because they are part of today’s deal-driven culture and you have something they want: a bargain!

But that doesn’t mean you can’t convert deal-seeking shoppers into loyal customers. The ability to tailor communications to individual consumers via data-driven marketing strategies is retailers’ silver lining.

You may be wondering how much data you can possibly have on someone who only shops with you a few times a year, and only during major discounting events. You’re not alone: according to Ascend2’s “Data-Driven Marketing Research Summary Report,” data completeness is a major concern for marketers. In fact, 54% of professionals surveyed state lack of data quality or completeness is their biggest challenge, and 84% say data quality and completeness is very important for segmentation and targeting. This is where lead-edge analytics can help.

So how can you turn deal-seekers into repeat shoppers? Here are my top 3 suggestions.

Layer the data you have with advanced predictive intelligence. By doing this, retail marketers can use even the smallest amount of data they have on a customer to create a clearer view of that customer’s tastes, wants and needs. This enables retailers to target all customers with personalized communications, including offers and products, to bring them back to the site or store outside of the holidays. As the adage says, they are not a customer until they shop with you a second time.

Infuse the customer data collected during peak sales seasons into your ongoing marketing strategies. While holiday shoppers may seek out bargain prices, loyalty comes from being in that consumer’s general consideration set. If you are relevant to them and offer value that resonates, these same bargain hunters can become loyal, regular customers. Leveraging the data you have can help convert one-time, price-driven shoppers into loyal fans. For example, consider sending a post-holiday email highlighting clearance items that are the perfect complement to what they purchased in December. Or share new spring arrivals that have the same style elements the shopper demonstrated in their holiday behavior. Worth noting, the Ascend2 study previously mentioned found that more accurate campaign targeting is a top data-driven objective for next year (41%).

Start ASAP! You may be swamped with holiday execution right now, but before you know it, your focus will shift to driving sales in Q1. You need to prepare for that time now by ensuring that, at the very least, you keep track of all your holiday customer data across all channels. And, ideally, you want to start putting predictive intelligence solutions in place now so you can leverage them in the New Year.

You can also read this on the Demandware Commerce Innovations blog here.