Retain customers after the holiday season is often a big challenge for businesses. The holidays are a busy time of business, sales peak, web traffic increases, and many opportunities for engagement arise within the customer experience.
According to the predictions of eMarketer 2023 Holiday Shopping, US holiday ecommerce sales will return to double-digit growth this year, at 11.3% year-over-year, as growth rates across all retail channels return to a state of normalcy pre-pandemic.
Despite this good forecast for the holiday season, most companies see marketing and sales numbers, after the peak, returning to normal. Customer demand slows and outstanding performance falls in mid-January.
That has been the trend in recent years. Sales increase in November before the holiday season, peak in December, and decline significantly at the beginning of each new year.
Is it possible to mitigate the slowdown in postseason sales? The short answer is yes. There are actually many things you can do to replicate holiday sales all year round. Even beyond the discount and promotion strategy.
In this article, we will explain how to retain customers and thus avoid a drop in sales beyond the Christmas season, so that the start of the new year is much better for your business.
Go for it!
7 strategies to retain customers after the Christmas holidays
1. Launch a new campaign in January.
Attracting customers during the end of the year can be a challenge, especially since all the other businesses are also competing for your attention. This makes January a good time to launch new marketing campaigns to differentiate yourself from competitors who might take a break after the holiday season.
Here are some effective post-holiday campaign ideas:
- New Year's Resolutions: Many people make their "New Year's resolutions" at the beginning of January. If your company can help customers achieve these goals, it's a great way to build strong and valuable relationships between them and your company.
- First quarter offer: January is a good time to create new offers and promotions. Group what you have left in the store and maintain the sales momentum. This is a valuable strategy for businesses that sell seasonal products, such as clothing stores.
- Content Marketing: You can create new content that helps customers make purchasing decisions and discover better ways to use your products.
- Retargeting campaigns: Retargeting campaigns engage customers after they leave your website. Once a customer views a product or web page, an ad related to that content is shown after they leave your website. That way, they'll remember your brand even when they're not looking at the content.
This is especially valuable if you notice that customers browsed during the holiday season but didn't make a purchase. Add them to a remarketing list and show them a banner ad to remind them you're still around.
2. Follow up after the holiday season with email marketing.
Email addresses are like gold to marketers because they can leverage them to follow up with customers after purchases. You can send them information about their orders, unique offers, targeting emails, and valuable content related to your brand.
The most powerful ways to leverage emails include:
- Promote new offers, packages and special gifts to a specific segment of your target audience to increase engagement.
- Share relevant content from your company blog and establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry.
- Interact with your audience by surveying them and asking them questions about their experience with the brand.
- Send email newsletters containing updates on new products and information that your audience will find valuable.
3. Create and implement a customer loyalty program.
Customer loyalty programs are effective because they reward your customers for their purchases. Which makes them more likely to make repeat purchases so they can eventually cash in on their rewards. Loyalty programs are important for brands in a crowded market, where it can be difficult to stand out solely with your product or service.
Here are some basics for creating a successful loyalty program:
- Send gifts to your most valuable clients: These gifts don't have to be expensive, but they are much more effective when they are well thought out and personalized.
- Adopt a points-based system: Your rewards system should be comprehensive and fair, and it should be easy for customers to discover how it works and how it benefits them. If you have customers who have accumulated a significant amount of points during the holiday shopping season, they may be eager to come back and collect their points.
- Upsell and cross-sell: You can offer additional products that complement an initial purchase or provide personalized recommendations that can convince customers to try a different product. This can also help reorient consumers who made a purchase during the Christmas season.
- Reward loyalty with recognition: If you don't send gifts, you should at least send “congratulations” or “thank you” cards that recognize customer loyalty. Even a quick comment on social media can go a long way in getting a customer to support your brand.
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4. Implement omnichannel customer service options.
Omnichannel customer service is a valuable strategy for retaining customers after the holiday season and, in general, because customers want to be able to communicate on their preferred channels, whether that's email, a direct message on social media, or visiting the store. on-line.
An omnichannel support strategy ensures that you have service agents on multiple channels, ready to serve customers wherever they are. Customers are more likely to stay when the business is responsive and timely.
5. Prioritize customer experience.
Shopping is an experience and customers will always remember your brand if you make that experience unique and enjoyable.
Improving customer experience requires more than offering better prices, gifts and special offers. Emotional factors play a crucial role in the purchasing process, such as how pleasant the store is, how to support your visitors and even how to display products in the store, in catalogs and online.
Here are some factors you should prioritize when creating a great customer experience:
- Visually delight new customers: Whether in your store or on your website, you need to make the brand visually appealing.
- Facilitates product discovery: Improving product discovery will increase average order value and make your customers feel like you understand what they want.
- Personalize the shopping experience: Customers crave experiences that are unique to their needs and interests. You can personalize your customers' experience by collecting feedback from them and creating content and campaigns based on the feedback.
- Facilitates returns: Many returns are made in January, so it's smart to remind customers that they can trust the company if they are not satisfied with the product. This can reduce buyer's remorse as customers know they can easily initiate a return or exchange if they are not satisfied.
6. Share appreciation for your customers.
The holidays are a time to give thanks and express appreciation and gratitude. As a brand, company or organization, a great way to retain customers is to let them know that you appreciate them and the support they provide.
You'll be showing that you are more than just a name on a receipt; that you appreciate that they choose to do business with you and not a competitor. Customers who feel genuinely recognized and appreciated by their favorite brands are more likely to remain loyal and repeat purchases.
7. Personalize the customer journey.
One of the best ways to attract customers is to personalize their experience with your company. Doing so creates a customer journey tailored to their needs and designed specifically with them in mind. This makes it difficult for competitors with a one-size-fits-all approach to win over your most loyal customers because you've created a personalized experience based on their preferences.
Don't forget, the devil is usually in the details. Therefore, below you will find some elements to take care of when you think about the ideal customer journey for your business.
- Entertaining experience: whether it is the content, physical store or online, a pleasant experience makes your brand much easier to remember.
- Handwritten notes: A handwritten letter is much more genuine than sending an email or linking a customer to a “thank you” page. Therefore, try to have senior management or C-level employees write personalized thank you letters to their clients when appropriate.
- Custom gifts: They may be a little more expensive, but depending on the lifetime value of your customer, it may make sense. The higher the customer lifetime value, the more money they will generate for your business over time. Buying them a nice gift now will end up paying for itself if you continue to retain them as a customer.
- Unique unboxing experience: People record unboxing videos because it's one of the most exciting parts of the shopping experience. If you can make your packaging an enjoyable part of the customer journey, you'll make your brand much more memorable. And this is something very emotional, which connects and stimulates brand loyalty. And of course, it stimulates recurring sales in the future.
Now is your turn!
As you may have noticed, there is a lot that can be done to retain customers once the most important shopping season of the year ends. The key to all of this is also thinking about how you can continue building relationships with customers beyond this season.
Beyond customer retention based on low prices and promotions, it is necessary to deepen the purchasing experience to present real and additional value to the customer. This is possible through a loyalty program, personalized products or services or a customer service approach that produces Wow!.
In most cases, this does not have to do with more costs, but rather with delivering more than what is usually delivered by the competition. It's about giving that extra mile that makes your brand stand out from afar, much more than the others.
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Digital Marketing Manager at Orienteed.