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10 Ways to Turn Holiday Shoppers into Year-Round Customers

The key to a successful holiday season is turning new customers into customers for life. Here are ten ways to go about doing just that.

The Challenge of Turning New Customers Into Loyal Customers

The month between Thanksgiving and Christmas accounts for as much as 40 percent of annual sales for some retailers. While all businesses are heavily invested in bringing in new shoppers for the season, turning those holiday shoppers into loyal year-round customers—while not neglecting existing customers – is a real challenge.

An Optimove survey of holiday shoppers in 2022 has revealed the following dynamics in holiday shopping:

  • The growth in holiday uplift is primarily derived from first time shoppers. Moreover, 52% of respondents said they will shop at new stores/brands during the holiday season.
  • Even though 48% of shoppers said they will generally only shop at stores/sites that they have shopped at in the past, 61% of shoppers said that they will be motivated by an offer or discount to shop somewhere they haven’t before.
  • Additionally, 82% of respondents said that price is more important than service when deciding where to shop.
  • Email is the preferred channel for a third of customers (and most likely to catch their attention). Be wary that a third of respondents also said they get too many offers and will end up unsubscribing from retailers who give irrelevant offers.

Acquiring New Customers While Focusing on Existing Customers

Acquisition efforts do bring in new shoppers during the holidays, but you want to focus on ways to make these shoppers stay. Remember, although customers are drawn in by exclusive offers, you want to make sure they have an incentive to return. We see that price is one of the main factors when bringing in new shoppers, so the holiday season is the perfect time for companies to increase their customer base.

These shopping tendencies point to two main strategies which marketers should implement leading up to the holidays: focus on loyal customers as an important asset for holiday uplift and use the season as a jumping board for converting first timers into year-round shoppers.

Ten Practical Tips to Turn Your Holiday Shoppers into Loyal Brand Customers

New Customers

  1. Collect data. This is a great opportunity to pick up any customer information that can help you keep in touch year-round. Ask for a birth date, product preferences or offer a wish list so you can follow up with suggestions when the time is right.
  2. Offer incentives. Add a brochure, coupon codes or other goodies in your shopping cart to generate sales after the holidays. When the holiday rush is over, remind your shoppers that these offers still stand.
  3. Include branding. Add branded merchandise for free, preferably something your customers will wear, see or use often. Don’t underestimate the power of a constant visual reminder of your brand to drive further customer engagement.
  4. Exceed customer expectations. An overall good shopping experience is a great driver of loyalty. If you have a guaranteed delivery date, try to beat it. If you offer free returns, make them seamless. Think how you can delight and surprise your customers in ways that will remain memorable and shareable with friends through social media or word of mouth.
  5. Engender loyalty. Nurture your new customers through a loyalty program. Allowing them to earn points now will give them a good reason to come back in a slower Q1. Present your loyalty scheme prominently, and make sure that joining it is easier than a walk in the park.

Existing Customers

  1. Use historical data. The data you have about your existing customers is your trump card for the holiday season. Personalize the shopping experience with targeted promotions and offers that will make life easier for your customers.
  2. Give your existing customers the VIP treatment. Leading up to the holidays, make sure that your existing customers receive a heads-up on your holiday plans: if you’re planning free-shipping, gift-wrapping or free-returns, don’t keep it to yourself. .
  3. Increase conversions. Create a pre-holiday sale for loyal customers, and make sure your customers know it’s exclusive. Early limited access to your holiday goodies is a great bonus for loyal shoppers that is sure to attract attention.
  4. Be emotional. Emotions drive loyalty, especially around the holidays when emotions run high. Bring up seniority and loyalty in your communications: a “Thank you for being a great customer this year” along with a holiday bonus will ensure another year of great business.
  5. Be attentive. Make it easier to get support. Put all your support options in one easily accessible page and make sure that you’re ready to handle an influx in questions and complaints. Give your support team the tools to turn complaints into opportunities.

The key to a successful holiday season is looking at your customers through the Customer Lifetime Value lens. If you regard the upcoming season, not as an easy chance for quick wins, but as a season for sowing the seeds of your future loyal customers, you’ll be sure to win both during the holiday craze and in the year to follow.

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Pini Yakuel

Pini co-founded Optimove in 2012 and has led the company, as its CEO, since its inception. With two decades of experience in analytics-driven customer marketing, business consulting and sales, he is the driving force behind Optimove. His passion for innovative and empowering technologies is what keeps Optimove ahead of the curve. He holds an MSc in Industrial Engineering and Management from Tel Aviv University.