How to Turn One-Time Seasonal Shoppers into Lifelong Customers

How to Turn One-Time Seasonal Shoppers into Lifelong Customers

By Jovanarikalo/Stocksy

Black Friday Cyber Monday shoppers are unique in that many will buy your products without knowing anything about your brand. This means they might forget about your business entirely if you don’t keep them interested.

Turning Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) shoppers into repeat customers can significantly affect your retention metrics and, in turn, the profitability of each customer. Over time, customers will cost less to acquire, buy more on average, and develop an authentic connection with your business, which can lead to word of mouth sales.

With BFCM fast approaching, creating a plan to turn these first-time customers into lifetime fans should be a top priority. Let’s walk through a few effective ways to get that done.

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Table of Contents

Nurture your new relationship through email

Email is a great way to stay in touch with your customers. But how do you develop a relationship with a new seasonal customer through email? By sharing your brand story from the very first email you send them.

You don’t need to send the first email immediately. Consider creating a welcome email for all BFCM customers, sent when the dust settles a few days after your sales end. According to Omnisend, the average open rate for welcome emails is 42%. With interest like that, you’ll want to make your welcome email count.

Here’s an example of an effective welcome email from coffee seller Trade:

Trade coffee

Image credit: Really Good Emails

A considered welcome email kicks off the nurturing process with new customers, acclimating them to your brand and messaging. If you blast new customers with promotions right off the bat, it will be challenging to develop a worthwhile and lasting relationship with them.

Instead, nurture new customers over time with a welcome sequence to keep them more engaged. This will keep you top-of-mind and make customers more receptive to future promotions.

1. Educational content

Link to helpful blog posts in your emails, or create original content for your emails that helps customers solve related problems or get more value out of your products. This is especially valuable for products that fit into a routine or require customers to take action. For example, if you sell yoga mats, teaching customers about a new pose or sharing a useful workout routine helps them get more value from the product. And if they get better at yoga, they may return for additional products.

2. Entertaining content

Educational content won’t suit every business or niche. Alternatively, you can keep customers engaged by sending them entertaining content instead. This is a common and effective approach for products that provide (or that are associated with) enjoyment in addition to utility. For example, if you sell dog food, share a cute video of your dogs playing or create memes dog lovers would enjoy.

3. Customer stories

Your customers have interesting stories about their personal experiences with your products that your new BFCM customers can relate to. Tell their stories to humanize your brand and make it more relatable. If your product requires a bigger investment (in money, or in trust), stories and testimonials are also essential for showing you deliver on promises made.

4. Content curation

You don’t necessarily need to create original content to prevent customers from slipping away. If your short on time to create, act as a reliable curator instead: Share interesting and useful resources from around the internet in an email digest. User-generated content is another valuable source of content you can share.

5. Brand culture

If you have an interesting brand and messaging that people identify with, it’s okay to make some of your emails all about you and your business. As with your first welcome email, your nurturing emails can share your brand’s story and your company’s mission. If you want to connect with customers on deeper issues (e.g. sustainable sourcing, no animal testing), it’s beneficial to share these messages with one-time customers as soon as you can.

Here are some additional examples of emails you can send out, after your welcome email, to keep Black Friday Cyber Monday customers engaged.

Consistently exceed customer expectations

If this isn’t your first time experiencing BFCM, as a business owner or customer, you’ve already seen how some businesses treat BFCM customers as "just seasonal sales." In turn, those customers treat businesses as "just a BFCM discount to take advantage of." These soulless transactions rarely lead to lasting customer loyalty.

Standing out during Black Friday Cyber Monday starts with recognizing what every other online store does—copying their exact approach will ensure you blend in. So, what are some things you can do that other stores don’t do? How can you surprise your customers and exceed their expectations? Many of your best opportunities come from providing outstanding customer support.

Here are some ideas you can use to exceed customer expectations after BFCM.

1. Send a thank-you email or note

Contact customers a few days after the Black Friday Cyber Monday craze with a personalized and meaningful message. If this was your first BFCM sale, let them know how grateful you are to have them as a customer.

Handwritten notes offer the best chance of standing out, but email is still a solid option. Only 20 customers on BFCM? Send 20 handwritten notes. 100 customers? Take an afternoon to email each customer individually. The few minutes spent writing each email creates the potential upside of a repeat purchase, a post on social media, or a referral—an opportunity new stores shouldn’t pass up.

2. Leverage discounts, coupons and gift cards

A straightforward way to get people back to your store is to offer them a discount, coupon or free gift card. You’re better of sending these after you can confirm (or reasonably assume) a customer has received their order.

3. Be proactive

Most businesses wait for customers to have an issue or question before offering assistance. Stand out by being proactive. Ask customers if they need help assembling the product, how their experience has been or if they have any other questions or concerns.

You can do this with an automated email. The right time to send this email depends on your product. Your customers need to have enough time to experience the product they ordered, but if too much time passes you run the risk of not being proactive enough. An alternative approach is to send a follow-up email immediately, providing the multiple ways customers can reach you if they need to. Then send an additional email after some time has passed.

You’ll also want to be proactive in prepping your support team for the influx of questions and requests. Document responses to common questions and distribute them accordingly. This not only empowers your staff, but also keeps messaging consistent.

4. Provide lightning-fast service

The holiday season creates more customer support requests than any other time of year. Instead of letting it slow you down, work to halve your response time during BFCM:

  • Hire temporary support help, focusing on quickly getting staff up to speed on your brand voice and important policies.
  • Enable live chat or route priority emails so you can respond to the most important requests quickly. Many help desks let you flag or prioritize an email based on text in the subject line or body copy.
  • Write and highlight FAQs so customers have options for answering basic factual questions (e.g., “What is your return policy?”). Make sure all of your help content is up-to-date.
  • Establish processes and workflows for your support team to follow. This will help streamline things, as well as deliver a consistent experience to all customers.
  • Anticipate the issues. Look at historical support requests during other busy times. What were the common issues or requests? How can you nip those in the bud this time around?
  • Outsource your customer service. There are many companies that specialize in providing support for ecommerce brands on their behalf. You may be able to enlist some temporary help.

Remember, many of your efforts here will be temporary. Something that might over-extend your business if provided year-round can be the perfect “extra mile” gesture during the noisy holiday shopping season.

Shopify store HOUND uses the Pure Chat app on their site so that they can provide support and answers on the spot.

Hound

ModCloth takes the live chat experience a step further, sending an email post-chat. They also humanize the brand with a photograph of the customer support rep, including information about her hobbies and where she’s from.

Modcloth

5. Reply to new customers on social media

Not many brands engage with their customers on social media after their purchase. It’s not always possible, but if you’re small and have time to find your customers on social media, it's worth it.

Ask customers to use a hashtag or tweet you with an image of their purchase. This will give you an opportunity to engage with your customers and make them feel special.

Promote your customer loyalty program

According to a report by Forrester, customers who belong to loyalty programs spend $42.33 more in three-month span than those who don’t.

Loyalty programs encourage active customers to get even more value, and can prevent new customers from slipping away. But you’ll need to find a creative way to encourage seasonal shoppers to join your program, especially considering they may not plan to purchase from you in the future.

Consider encouraging enrollment by offering a discount, product upgrade, or free complimentary gift in exchange for the customer starting their membership. To specifically appeal to the seasonal shopper, offer a free gift for themselves if they’re shopping for someone else as incentive.

Plus, the benefits of a loyalty program don’t end with customer retention. An effective program can turn into a customer acquisition tool down the line, activating word-of-mouth marketing. Nearly three-quarters of consumers who enjoy a brand’s loyalty program recommend it to others, according to the 2016 Bond Loyalty Report.

Re-engage customers with retargeting

After placing a Facebook pixel on your store, try retargeting customers that reached checkout. This keeps you engaged with one-time shoppers, and allows you to continue to build a relationship outside of your website and email list.

You don’t need a colossal budget to get started, either. Because this custom audience will likely be small, a daily budget of just $5–$10 can do the job. If you see early success, you can begin to scale your advertising efforts.

Here are a few Facebook ad ideas you can use to market to your custom audience of BFCM shoppers.

1. New product announcement

If you’ve added a new product to your store that Black Friday Cyber Monday shoppers would likely be interested in learning about, create an ad letting them know.

2. New sale

If you’re running another sale or deal, let customers who took advantage of previous deals learn about this new opportunity.

Solo stove

3. Winback discount or sale

If you’re having a hard time getting a seasonal customer’s attention, consider offering a coupon. For example, messaging along the lines of “We haven’t seen you in a while,” or “Have you seen our latest collection?” paired with a coupon offer can work quite well.

4. Earn their attention

Create a unique ad to grab your customers' attention. It could be personal, such as, “Hey, how did you like our product? Let us know in the comments.” Or something simple like, “Thanks for being a [Business Name] customer.” They’re not typical ads, and the goal isn’t always to generate the immediate repeat sale. Some of your campaigns can be about brand awareness and developing a relationship with previous customers.

If the thought of running Facebook and Instagram ads is making your head spin, or you simply need to get some time back to dedicate on other tasks you cannot automate, Kit can lend a helping hand.

The job isn’t done once a sale is made

The guiding principle of retention is that a customer’s first purchase is the beginning of a brand new relationship, not the end of the race. You can continue to provide value and in return, encourage repeat purchases.

If you run into the good problem of having to manage an influx of sales this BFCM, remember the job isn’t done once an order is fulfilled. Viewing each new purchase as an opportunity to provide value for the long-term will influence the experience you provide new customers and, hopefully, positively impact your bottom line.

Which tactics have you used to turn seasonal shoppers into lifelong brand loyalists? What’s been most effective in your experience?


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About the Author

Corey Ferreira is a passionate entrepreneur, coconut water lover, and content creator at Shopify.

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