Experian Introduces Holiday Hot Sheet; Joins Growing Group of Vendors Reporting Consumers' Holiday Habits

Marketing solutions vendor Experian is helping marketers keep up with holiday shoppers by launching its Holiday Hot Sheet—a service that delivers a weekly recap of consumer behavior to marketers' email inboxes. This is the first year that Experian has formalized its holiday trend tracking, and made it readily accessible to not only its existing customers, but noncustomers as well.

The Holiday Hot Sheet provides information on what consumers are searching for online and how marketers are engaging with them, zeroing in on key patterns that emerge across the retail space. This week's Hot Sheet states that emails with personalized or dynamic subject lines have more than double the revenue per mail of other holiday mailings, yet 94 percent of companies report that they have personalization challenges. That means that 94 percent of companies could be missing out on major conversion opportunities, Bill Tancer, head of global research at Experian Marketing Services, says.

"Personalization remains a challenge because it's still tough to tie data together. Email is at the core of most companies' personalization efforts because it has the most measurable response, but to do it effectively, they have to tie it back to [their] CRM system, and that's still a challenge for some," Tancer says. "But personalization is up 22 percent, so we are seeing an increase. Companies are getting better at tying channels together," he adds.

Free shipping is another trend that Experian's Hot Sheet will follow in the coming weeks. This year, only 25 percent of marketers said they're going to include free shipping, and there has been a 22 percent decline in this perk being mentioned in marketing email subject lines, according to Tancer. "It's unexpected, because transactions are typically much higher when free shipping is offered," he says. Tancer suspects that the decline is a result of some of the shipping delays that companies faced last year due to inclement weather as well as the unpreparedness of shipping companies, such as UPS and FedEx. "Companies are just being a little more cautious about shipping this year," he says, adding that the pattern may change as the shopping season progresses.

Experian has also been keeping an eye on what consumers are searching for online. "To deliver great solutions to our own customers, we 

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