They say that time is money, and Black Friday-Cyber Monday 2017 saw a whole lot of money being spent in a very short period of time. Specifically, American shoppers spent a record $5 billion in 24 hours.
The National Retail Federation reported that more than 174 million Americans shopped over Thanksgiving weekend (from Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday.) Of those, 51 million were in-store only, 64 million purchased both in-store and online, and 58 million were exclusively online shoppers.
And they were putting down serious money. Over that five-day period, the average spending per person was $335.47, with 75% specifically going toward gifts. According to their survey, 77 million consumers cited the most popular day for in-store shopping as Black Friday, followed by Small Business Saturday with 55 million consumers. Cyber Monday and Black Friday were the two most popular days for online shopping, with 81 million and 66 million shoppers, respectively.
In other words, the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas accounts for a large percentage of annual sales for most retailers. And while it’s great to be busy and profitable, turning those holiday shoppers into loyal year-round customers can be a challenge. But here, we’ve rounded up a few ways to come out on top.
Make the Most Of Email
Email marketing is still one of the most powerful marketing tools you can use. It’s convenient, affordable, and its response rate is better than direct mail by five times and that of banner ads by 25 times. But it’s important to capture customer information from the first purchase so that you can keep in touch going forward — and how you go forward is just as important.
Your first email can simply be a thank you sent a day or two after order completion. Thank-you emails produce open rates as high as 42% with an average conversion rate of 10%. Warm them up to your brand and messaging so that you can set yourself apart from the competition. Make sure to incentivize your seasonal shoppers to visit your store again and make a purchase using an included discount coupon with an expiration date to evoke a sense of urgency.
A great example is this sleek thank-you email from Paravel, a luggage company.
Your thank-you email doesn’t need to be as image-heavy as Paravel’s — the most important factor is to communicate your message clearly and encourage customers to further engage with your brand.
Here’s a template you can adapt based on your unique needs:
Thank you so much for making a recent purchase from our store. You can shop anywhere, so knowing that you chose us means a lot to the team.
The holiday season is a hectic time, but we want to make sure that you have everything you need for everyone on your list. As one of our valued customers, we would like to offer you 20 percent off sitewide using the code THANKYOU20. But you have to act quickly, as this offer ends (date) at 11:59 p.m.
As an added bonus, we will offer free priority shipping on all orders over $75.
But that thank-you email is just the first step.
Even More Emails (Trust Me On This One)
After your initial thank-you email to warm customers up to your brand, follow up with information that’s useful to them and not just promotional for you. Include things like helpful blog posts related to your niche, entertaining content that’s highly shareable, and/or links related to your niche that shoppers would find interesting. Around 63% of consumers said they’d think more positively of a brand if it gave them content that was more valuable, interesting or relevant, so here’s your chance.
This can also be done through the use of exclusivity. If you have a big sale coming up, try to “exclusively” announce it to your seasonal shoppers first so they have early access to new promotions or seasonal deals.
You can also offer discounts to customers who have shopped with you during the retail holiday season. They’ll feel valued and the point is to re-engage the shopper and keep your brand top of mind.
According to Marketwired, repeat customers have a 60-70% chance of making another purchase on a future visit, and new customers have a 54% chance of buying after a second visit. And if there’s one thing that will bring shoppers back into your store, it’s the chance that they’ll get something for free or at a discounted rate. A small discount can go a long way to ensure that a one-time customer becomes loyal for life.
FURTHER READING: Need some help with your discount strategy? Learn how to move more merchandise with discounts and markdowns.
Add a brochure, coupon, or a small free gift in your virtual shopping cart or physical shopping bag to generate sales after the holidays. Sending a discount code for their next purchase is a great way to nudge customers to come back.
If you’re not into offering a percentage discount, instead incentivize them with store credits like Kohl’s does with Kohl’s Cash.
Connect With Social Media
A great way to re-engage seasonal shoppers outside of email and your website is to take advantage of social media. Around 95 percent of online adults aged 18-34 are most likely follow a brand via social networking, and 71 percent of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others.
If you’re on Facebook — and you should be on Facebook — an effective strategy is to use a custom audience pixel. Retargeting ads to those seasonal customers can be an inexpensive yet effective way of engaging customers that visited your site or made purchases from you in-store.
You can also use your social media channels to advertise new products, announce exclusive sales, offer discounts for engaging, or simply show that you want their opinion about your product.
And if you’re talented with video, take heart in knowing that Facebook Live videos are viewed 300% more than videos that aren’t live — and Facebook has more than 8 billion daily video views. Use this to your advantage by sharing product demonstrations, how-to videos, or other user-generated content they can’t find anywhere else.
Offer Exceptional Customer Service
There are no two ways around it — customer service is king when it comes to getting one-time customers to return. Being a retailer during the holiday season gives you a couple of options. You can either be stressed out like everyone else, or offer such a hassle-free, enjoyable shopping experience that customers will actually remember after the holidays. You can be different and stand out, and that’s done simply by being pleasant, present, and proactive.
Everyone is stressed during the holiday season, so make sure both your physical store and website are convenient to use and easy to navigate. Anticipate the needs of your shoppers and go above and beyond to make sure they have an experience they won’t soon forget.
If you have the resources, hire additional staff to ensure that the customers can check out with lightning fast speed and accuracy. Remember that it’s only temporary, but the impression can last forever.
FURTHER READING: You don’t need to be a luxury retailer to offer an exceptional customer experience. Here are five examples of retailers offering elevated customer service.
Everyone likes to feel special, and 75% of consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that recognizes them by name, recommends options based on past purchases, or knows their purchase history. Make conversation with your shoppers and find out what brought them into your store, what their needs are, and who they’re shopping for. Then contact those seasonal shoppers a few days after their purchase with a thank you email or note letting them know you appreciate their business.
While handwritten notes are often effective, it’s understandable that you might not have time for that. Luckily, there’s an app for that. One of Kit’s most popular skills is writing thank-you emails. Kit will follow up with you via Messenger and ask to send quick thank you emails to your first- and second-time buyers.
FURTHER READING: Personalizing the experience for shoppers is key to keeping them coming back for more. Read up on four high-tech tools you can use to personalize the shopping experience and explore more ways to tailor shopping for your customers.
Offer a Customer Loyalty Program
Loyalty programs are an effective way to increase purchase frequency. Customers can earn valuable rewards, which motivates them to make more purchases with you. In fact, 54% of people said that they would consider increasing the amount of business they do with a company for loyalty rewards, and almost 50% said the most critical time for a company to gain their loyalty was with that first purchase.
That means that those seasonal shoppers are prime targets for a customer loyalty program. Start off by giving them welcome points when they sign up, so when they see how easy it is to earn rewards, they’ll want to come back to your store to do it again. They get more value when they shop, and you get their repeat business.
FURTHER READING: Learn how to get started with your own retail loyalty program.
Retarget Your Efforts
So, you marketed your products and services to customers and they made a holiday purchase. But not reaching out again to remarket your products and services is a missed opportunity. Retargeting — targeting your previous seasonal shoppers to get them back to your store to buy again — has been shown to increase conversion rates by up to 400%.
People are busy and might forget how positive their experience was with you if you don’t remind them. Jogging their memory doesn’t have to be pushy — and it can be profitable. If you sell face wash, remind the customer to restock a couple of months after that initial purchase. If you sell candles, send out a reminder about a month or so later that it’s time to restock or try a new scent.
Retailers can also upsell based on customers’ past purchases. For example, a customer might like some body wash to go with the face wash they purchased last month. They’ll appreciate you remembering their past order and making it convenient for them to shop again throughout the year — not just during the holidays.
FURTHER READING: Learn how to master the art of the upsell in retail.
How To Retain Those Customers
When dealing with waves of seasonal shoppers, your goal is to retain them as long-term shoppers. You can achieve this goal with open communication from that first interaction and then exceeding their expectations. Provide a personalized customer experience, offer real-time support, and remind them that your products are available throughout the year.