The holiday season is one of the most important times of year for retail businesses, as customers will be shopping around for gifts for friends and family, as well as exploring new store locations that are outside of their usual routine. According to Braze.com, first-time users account for up to 86% of retail traffic during the holiday seasons, and 92% of that traffic first interacts with a brand online before making a purchase; on top of that, these new shoppers will also be “58% more likely to purchase from a brand, compared to known users” (i.e.shoppers that a company already has information about).
For retailers, the holidays can also provide a valuable opportunity to make more than just a one-time sale; they can be a chance to secure a long-term customer that could make repeated purchases in the future. Customer satisfaction is the key to securing customer loyalty and increasing retention, and for this reason, we’ve created a list of five strategies to help you build customer loyalty during the holiday season.
It’s never a bad time to try acquiring new customers; however, according to stats from Hubspot, competing for customer attention can be difficult around the holidays due to overcrowding in the market. For this reason, retailers should attempt to begin targeting and nurturing new leads early in order to secure sales for the holiday season.
More specifically, businesses should begin trying to build their sign-up lists and increasing their marketing efforts at least two to three months early, before the holiday season. As reported by Braze.com, “Users acquired in October and November have the highest retention among holiday season users,” which means that businesses should begin promoting enticing sign-up offers and ramping up marketing well in advance in order to ensure that their buyer’s journey coincides with upcoming holiday sales.
PRIORITIZE THE CUSTOMER’S EXPERIENCE
For retailers attempting to gain customer loyalty, it’s important to remember that the customer’s experience is at the heart of any good loyalty program, and while discounts and competitive prices are a great way to create returning customers, they won’t necessarily make your customers loyal to either your brand or business. Loyalty, instead, is what keeps customers returning even when the conditions of the market have shifted and new elements and players have suddenly entered into the game.
Brands witnessed the effects of real customer loyalty last December when the world was undergoing a global pandemic, as businesses whose strategy was simply to outsell the competition went under, while brands that managed to secure real customer loyalty found business even during the resulting economic recession.
With the importance of building real customer loyalty in mind, businesses can find ways to create loyalty by focusing their efforts on trying to make the customer’s experience as meaningful as possible. Creating an immersive experience in your store is only one way to do this; other ways can include personalized email messages, interactive displays, chances to participate in events, such as polls, word walls, raffles, and charity fundraisers; the kids might also welcome a visit from Santa Clause to your store. Businesses can get creative when it comes to selecting ways to solidify customer loyalty; in most cases, however, simply offering a loyalty rewards program that creates value can be enough to engage customers and increase general satisfaction.
REWARD CUSTOMERS FOR MORE THAN JUST PURCHASES
Customers like to feel appreciated for their loyalty; after all, reciprocity is key to maintaining any healthy relationship, and one way to let customers know you care is to reward them with incentives for more than just shopping. By incentivizing customers with spontaneous gifts, such as rewards points, gift cards, and other items, businesses can keep customers engaged and interested for longer periods of time, by making them think that more free stuff will be made available if they maintain the relationship.
Plus, in addition to increasing customer retention, random gifts can also be used to improve email open rates, boost engagement, and generate more referrals through word-of-mouth marketing. Sometimes, even something as simple as a holiday greeting or thoughtful email congratulating a customer on an event, such as an anniversary or birthday, can be enough to make customers feel appreciated. All of this just goes to show that it can pay to be nice sometimes-- especially around the holidays-- and the best way to create loyalty and retain customers is through giving.
HOLIDAY REFERRAL SHARING
The holidays are all about giving, which makes them a perfect time for spreading the love, as well as loyalty rewards referrals. Referrals are a useful way for businesses to increase brand awareness and generate interest around upcoming sales opportunities and events.
According to Finextra.com, “People who are referred by a friend are 4x more likely to buy from a business, and one offline word of mouth impression drives sales at least 5x more than a paid impression.” What this means is that when happy customers can be turned into brand ambassadors, businesses are sure to see increases in sales.
One way that businesses can incentivize customers to engage in referral sharing is by offering them rewards every time they make a referral to someone else (readers who use Loyal~n~Save are likely already familiar with this idea of collecting points from adding new members to your team, as well as earning rewards every time that a team member makes a referral). Customers can also be incentivized to share when they are surprised with exclusive deals and offers, available only to loyalty program members; doing this can easily impress customers enough to make them want to share the news about their good fortune with others if not try to convince them outright to join to receive the same deals.
ALLY WITH A CHARITABLE CAUSE
The holidays are a time for giving, and people love to support charitable causes that can offer up help to those in need. For this reason, companies could do well by showing a little compassion around the holidays and pairing with a charitable organization, such as the Salvation Army or ASPCA.
In today’s highly competitive market, companies need to stay relevant in order to prevent losing sales, which means being able to match their competition by offering similar products and services at competitive prices. Unfortunately, one consequence of “keeping up with the Joneses” is that supply is now outweighing demand for the consumer, which means that companies need to continue to stay relevant by becoming relatable and highlighting both their social and company values through “brand identity.”
Customers can shop with anyone, but who they choose to support and stay loyal to will depend largely on what they believe a company is doing for the rest of the world. Adopting a charitable cause is one way to gain the respect of your customers and get them to shop with you because they want to not just because they have to in order to get great deals.
Looking to Improve Loyalty this Season?
With Loyal~n~Save, you can make it easier for customers to spread the love, with team-sharing and collaborative point-building features. Loyal~n~Save is a premium loyalty rewards program designed to increase customer retention and improve engagement. With it, businesses can create a personalized, gamified experience for customers that’ll allow them to build points and earn rewards just for shopping.
Loyal~n~Save also comes with a host of convenient features designed specifically to help business owners gain retention, including tools for campaign planning, easy sharing, and user-based pattern recognition, which can help you to create a more personalized experience for your customers. Loyal~n~Save also gives users the option to build teams, send gifts, and earn points easily just from having other active shoppers on their team. So, give your customers the gift of loyalty rewards this holiday season and help them to be able to add and send points to the ones they love.
If you’re curious about Loyal~n~Save and would like to know more, then contact one of our loyalty specialists @ https://loyalnsave.com/ or call our toll-free number @ 845-796-9944. You can also follow us on any of our social media @ https://www.facebook.com/LoyalNSave/ or @ https://www.linkedin.com/company/loyal-n-save/, or you can subscribe to our weekly blog to get more useful tips and tricks about how to increase customer retention.
Thank you for taking the time to read our blog today. We hope to hear from you in the future!
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.