The winter holiday shopping season is the most profitable time of year for retailers, and it all starts after Thanksgiving when the clock strikes midnight.
We're talking about Black Friday!
Traditionally, Black Friday directly follows Thanksgiving, beginning the next day. But over the years, the competition has become so intense that retailers have instituted their Black Friday deals sooner and sooner. Some have even launched their Black Friday campaigns in early November!
If you want to maximize sales across your loyal customer base, as well as acquire new customers this season, here are 5 creative loyalty ideas you can use right now to drum up excitement about the special deals that will be available at your store on the big day.
REWARDS POINTS BALANCE REMINDERS
Your most valuable customers will always be the shoppers who have already proven their loyalty to your brand. These loyal customers have not only signed up for your loyalty rewards program, but they also actively participate in your promotional campaigns by taking advantage of special deals and earning-and-burning rewards points as often as they can.
Since your current customers have the greatest spending potential at your store, the last thing you want to do is lose their wallet share on Black Friday.
In order to retain their business on the big day, design a simple SMS text message campaign that will personally remind your loyalty members of their current points balance. Include a clickable link to a relevant product on your website that will be available at a discount on Black Friday. But here's the real CTA: invite them to buy now at the discounted price and pick up the item curbside on Black Friday or any day thereafter. Your loyalty members will love the VIP treatment and the built-in convenience of this loyalty idea.
THANK YOU MESSAGES WITH GIFT CARDS
Not all of your current shoppers are members of your customer loyalty rewards program, but that doesn't mean you can't effectively encourage them to patronize your store on Black Friday. You'll first need to compile a list of customer email addresses. Whether a shopper has purchased your products online or in-store through your Point-of-Sale system, you can obtain all of your customers' email addresses via your CRM software data.
Design a personalized Thank You campaign for your shoppers once you've segmented their email addresses into small, like-minded customer groups, and include a special gift card offer.
The trick here is to make sure the gift card can only be used on Black Friday. In order for this loyalty idea to really work, we recommend that the message of the campaign primarily focuses on thanking the customer, and also invites them to enroll in your loyalty program. Make the benefits of enrolling clear by displaying relevant Black Friday only product sales. Then finally, offer them a special gift card, which they can claim and use independent of their decision to sign up for your rewards program.
NEW LOYALTY SCHEMES FOR THE SEASON
Don't assume that the loyalty rewards incentives you've used all year long will be able to retain the interest of your loyal customers throughout the holidays. As we mentioned in the intro of this blog post, Black Friday kicks off the entire winter holiday season, which means that the season deserves its own, new, loyalty schemes.
Take the time now to design a Black Friday promotional campaign for your loyalty members that includes incentives to unlock deeper discounts that can be used throughout Christmas and New Year's.
For example, give your loyalty members the exclusive opportunity to unlock a specific BOGO deal that's relevant to your upcoming Christmas sale. Make it clear to them that they only have a limited window of time to unlock the Buy One Get One free deal, which they can redeem once the Christmas sale opens. If they miss out now, however, the BOGO will disappear and will not be made available again during Christmas. The urgency of this kind of new loyalty scheme will spark excitement and boost sales, just be sure to promote the idea in your store and on your website.
SPECIAL CAMPAIGNS FOR BARGAIN HUNTERS
In addition to our ideas, we're sure you're planning on using some great loyalty ideas of your own this Black Friday. We have your best interests in mind and we also have your back, which is why we strongly recommend that you develop a special campaign to hook Black Friday bargain hunters so that they don't ditch you after the deals are done.
Now, the cold hard truth is that there will always be a segment of shoppers who simply won't return to your store after they've taken advantage of a particular holiday sale. These shoppers go whichever way the wind blows and there's nothing you can really do about it.
But outside of those "discount hounds" are regular bargain hunters. Bargain hunters are not so difficult to hook. Just follow this strategy to create a special campaign to convert bargain hunters into loyalty members. Offer a percentage off at the register for non-loyalty shoppers who sign up for your loyalty program on the spot. The trick here is to make the discount percentage low enough that your bottom line won't suffer if the same customer tries to game the system by using a bunch of different email addresses to sign up. Hey, these things happen. You also don't want your current loyalty members to feel jealous, so keeping a low percentage off is ideal. Think of it as a little perk, and push the biggest benefits, which are the year-round savings they'll have exclusive access to once they're enrolled.
BRANDED SWAG & MYSTERY DISCOUNTS ON THE BIG DAY
All of your month-long promotional campaigns have led up to this moment—the actual Black Friday date of November 26th. You better have some tricks up your sleeve on the big day! We suggest that you present a special Black Friday promotion on the day of the sale that you have not advertised at all, so that the deal comes as a total surprise to your shoppers.
This is where branded swag and mystery discounts can be very effective. Let's take a look.
Branded swag includes any merchandise that has your branded logo. The most common forms of swag are tote bags, baseball caps, tee-shirts, and cell phone cases. Depending on your swag inventory and budget, we recommend you offer a free swag item as a "thank you" to any customer who spends above a specific threshold. For example, any customer who spends at least $40 at the register receives a free cell phone case, and any customer who spends at least $65 at the register receives a free tote bag.
If you can't swing producing branded swag in time for Black Friday, you can instead offer on-the-spot discounts that appropriately correlate to the amount of money a customer spends. The best part about surprising customers on the big day is that you will leave a positive impression and shoppers will be more inclined to sign up for your loyalty program when your cashiers invite them to enroll.
Your Black Friday marketing strategy should focus on long term customer growth, and we don't strictly mean having a profitable holiday sales season directly after Thanksgiving.
Ideally, the customers you attract thanks to your Black Friday deals should stick around all year, year after year. But unfortunately, that's rarely the case. In fact, 64% of retailers have reported that the shoppers they typically acquire during Black Friday do not continue to shop after New Year's. In other words, these fickle shoppers have a low customer lifetime value.
But don't give up on them just yet! Even before Black Friday gets underway, we recommend that you start developing your follow up campaigns, which you can use throughout the holiday season and beyond to keep your newly acquired shoppers engaged.
Your customer loyalty rewards program can play a big part in your efforts to follow up.
Don't have a loyalty program in place at your business? Sign up for Loyal~n~Save and discover how easy it is to build unique, branded promotional campaigns that add value and personality to every discount you market. Contact our loyalty strategists to learn more or get started.
This article was written by Loyal-n-Save, an omni-channel customer loyalty solution for retailers looking to increase customer retention and new customer acquisition.