6 Post-Holiday Strategies for Customer Retention
Santa may have hightailed it back to the North Pole, but savvy retailers know the holiday shopping season extends long after the fruitcake is tossed.
Post-holiday is the time to focus your efforts on engagement and retention. Customers have purchased from you, given or received gifts from you, and are presumably thrilled with the experience. Keep them coming back for more with these tips for driving customer retention online and with your email marketing program.
1. Accessorize. Get dynamic with your follow-up communications post-purchase. Create a campaign that encourages shoppers to “accessorize their gifts” by showcasing a variety of items associated with the product they purchased or received. This can be done at varying degrees of relevance, depending on the type of data you have access to, such as specific products or category-level information. Also consider including content that adds value, such as tips for cleaning or servicing their new item.
2. Service with a smile. Keep your customer service message prominently displayed on your website and in your post-holiday campaigns by creating a service-focused footer. Include a clear call to action with information about how to return an item, options for in-store exchanges, complete warranty information, FAQs and how to use a gift card. Be sure to also include alternate forums where customers can contact you — Facebook, Twitter, a toll-free number or live chat. Make it easy for consumers to engage with you using the channel they're most comfortable with.
3. Promote gift card redemption. The National Retail Federation estimated that nearly $25 billion worth of gift cards were going to be purchased in the 2010 holiday season. Because retailers can’t include gift card values in revenue numbers until they're redeemed, driving consumers to use their gift cards sooner rather than later is an important initiative.
Consider creating a special section of your website geared toward gift card redemption. Merchandise the most popular items in common gift card amount increments of $25, $50 and $100. Feature new spring items or promote a year-end clearance sale as a way to get the most value out of the gift card.
If your data allows, and you’re ready to get sophisticated with your email marketing, look for subscribers who received an e-gift card and create a highly relevant email featuring products based on past purchases and a gift card redemption message. That's sure to get them shopping.
4. Launch a ratings and review tool. The majority of consumers who base purchases on product reviews report that consumer reviews far outweigh the opinions of product experts. The benefits of a ratings and review program are twofold: One, you get valuable user-generated content on your website and, two, you show your most engaged subscribers that you value their opinion. You could even reward loyal reviewers for sharing their opinions.
5. Grant exclusive access to sales. Get the word out early about your "After Christmas Sale" with a special communication sent to your high-value customers. Be sure to drive home the exclusive "sneak peek" aspect, giving customers the opportunity to shop the best deals first. This technique also creates a sense of urgency, knowing that the sale will soon be opened up to the masses.
6. Show your appreciation. Show your customers they're more to you than a dollar sign. Send a sincere thank-you note, or take a moment to highlight a feel-good moment from the past year, such as a donation made by the company or a heart-felt story from a customer.
Following up your winning holiday promotions with engaging, highly relevant post-holiday communications is a surefire way to nurture positive brand experiences and extend that warm, fuzzy holiday feeling into the new year.
Related story: Dealing With This Season's Burned Out Subscribers