For many, the holiday season is a wonderful high, with sales going through the roof. However, rather like Christmas Day when you’re full of turkey and all the presents have been opened, the aftermath can be uncomfortable and somber.
While it’s important to get the most out of these seasonal highs, you shouldn’t neglect to look forward toward the slower seasons. Smart marketers will create ongoing success for their companies by planning for the slow cycles that follow these record-breaking months. They do this by focusing their efforts on turning these impulse, one-off buyers into loyal, lifelong customers. Everything from an initial email, to on-site experience, to ecommerce fulfillment, to having a robust return policy can truly make the difference.
Why Would Someone Buy Again?
Firstly, it’s important to understand that those who purchase during a seasonal event are probably different to your year-round customers. Some of them may have bought from you previously (great!) but the majority of them won’t have been to your website before. In fact, they might not even remember your site’s name as they were so caught up in making this gift-focused transaction.
These impulse shoppers tend to fall into one of the following categories when considering a purchase from your site again:
They’re going to buy something for themselves. Often, someone will buy a gift that they also find interesting/useful, thus returning to your store to purchase this. Or, they may see something else you offer that they want to purchase. Furthermore, when they buy a gift for someone else they’ll hopefully be impressed with your service, returning to you to make a personal purchase.
They’re going to buy another gift. In most cases, we’ll only buy one or two gifts per person per year. Therefore, if someone liked a gift they bought for their friend, they may return to purchase the same (or a similar) item for one of their relatives. It’s highly likely someone else they know will like another product from the same store.
They’re going to recommend you. Finally, if your store impresses a seasonal shopper so much, they may recommend you to their friends. This personal recommendation is highly valuable as 92% of people trust the recommendations of their family and/or friends.
As you can see, your relationship with impulse buyers doesn’t have to stop when the Black Friday rush is over or the Christmas decorations are being taken off the tree. Instead, all it takes is some savvy marketing and communications to keep the conversation (and purchases) following.
Here are our top 6 tips for converting seasonal shoppers into repeat customers:
1. Email Marketing
Staying in touch with your customers via email can be incredibly straightforward. But how do you nurture this newfound relationship through a series of emails?
By introducing your brand and telling your company’s story from the very first email you send to them.
This email doesn’t have to be sent straight away, but you should try to send a welcome email to any new customer within a few days of their purchase, allowing the dust to settle first. In the email you could welcome them to your company, thanking them for shopping with you. But you might also want to go one step further, too, demonstrating why you stand out from the crowd.
Including this type of information in your first email begins the nurturing process, warming your new customers up to your overall message and brand. It allows you to showcase your story and tell them what your company is all about. A huge error companies make is firing promotional emails at customers right from the offset – this is, however, a sure-fire way to kill off any spark your customers may have had for you.
According to a recent report, if you send nurturing emails, these are to get a response than promotional emails. Therefore, by making every effort to nurture your customers, you’re keeping them engaged, and this places your brand at the forefront of their mind and makes them more receptive to your correspondence in the future.
Here are some example emails you could send after your initial welcome message:
Educational Emails: You’ve already created some helpful blog posts, so why not utilize these in your emails? Create content that educates and informs people about your niche. For example, if you sell shoes, don’t just write emails that are solely focused on shoes, instead offering advice on how to create a jaw-dropping outfit that’s bang on trend.
Entertaining Emails: Not every business will be able to use educational content, which is why you may need to unleash some creativity. Choose content that’ll entertain your customers and keep them coming back for more. For example, if you sell bird food, create some cute videos of birds in the garden or produce memes that your customers will want to share with their family and friends.
Customer Experiences: One of the most valuable sources of content and entertainment is your customers themselves. So, get them to share their own experiences and favorite products that your new customers will be able to relate to, thus helping these customers get to know and relate to your brand.
Curated Content: Don’t have time to create your own content or still getting your blog up and running? Then why not share content from across the Internet? With so many how-to guides, informative articles, in-depth videos, and so on available, you don’t have to create your own content all of the time. Instead, share your favorite snippets of content that you’ve read, almost offering your customers an easy-to-digest newsletter that’s focused on your targeted niche.
Brand Emails: If your brand has a message and identity that your customers can easily relate to, do send some emails that go into detail about you and your company. Share your story and mission, helping customers to engage with your brand and get on board with your future visions.
It’s important not to continually blast your customers with ads so they feel as though you’re stalking them wherever they go on the Internet, but it is important to keep your brand in their focus. Using dynamic remarketing ads will allow you to retain a good level of visibility without it being too much for your customer. And the great thing is, these ads are specifically targeted to each user, displaying content they’ve looked at or are familiar with.
For example, Facebook retargeting is a great way of engaging with shoppers who’ve bought from you once or have perhaps browsed your site for something in the past. Having ads that appear on their Facebook page will keep them engaged with your brand, inspiring them to return to your site.
Ideas for ads include:
Announcing a New Product: If there’s a product you think your seasonal shoppers will like, shout out about this in the ad.
Sale: If you’re running a sale following the holidays or you’ve got a deal you think they’ll want to take advantage of, tell them about it in your ads.
Discount: If you’re struggling to get their attention again, why not offer them a coupon or some form of discount? This could be free delivery on their next order or a certain amount off their purchase if they spend X amount. Use engaging content like “We’ve missed you!” or “Have you visited us recently?” to grab their attention.
Creative: Alternatively, to create an amazingly attention-grabbing ad try personalizing it for them, focusing on the product they bought by asking them to review it or thanking them for being a customer.
Remember, the goal of these ads isn’t necessarily about getting a repeat sale straight away but to develop your relationship with your customers and build brand awareness.
3. Exceeding Expectations
In an increasingly competitive online world, you need to do your best to stand out from the crowd. Simply delivering things on time and providing high-quality products may not be enough. Rather, you need to surprise customers with something that completely exceeds their expectations so they remember the shopping experience they’ve had with you for many months to come.
A lot of businesses will treat seasonal customers as “one-off sales,” which, in turn, means these customers treat these websites as places they can take advantage of to get a good deal.
Therefore, if you can do something memorable, you’re more likely to create an ongoing, meaningful relationship with your customers.
Here are some ideas:
Saying Thank You: After the hype of your seasonal shopping extravaganza has calmed down, get in touch with your customers with a unique and personalized message. Tell them how pleased you are they’ve become a customer and how you hope they’ll enjoy their purchase. For real effectiveness, handwritten notes that say this are ideal, but in today’s increasingly connected world, an email will suffice. Automation may be easier, but if you’ve got 100 new customers from your latest sale, taking the time to send a personalized message will really help you stick out among other impulse purchases.
Coupons and Discounts: It goes without saying that offering discounts etc. are a sure-fire way of getting people to return to your store. However, leave this for a few weeks after their purchase so they’re more likely to be ready to part with their cash again.
Message New Customers on Facebook or Twitter: There aren’t many brands who engage with their customers on social media once they’ve made a purchase. Sometimes, this is because it isn’t always possible. However, if your company’s small enough, you might want to take the time to find your customers on these social channels. Ask customers to tweet an image or use a hashtag after they’ve made a purchase. This won’t just promote your brand through their social channel but it’s a great way of making a customer feel special, too.
Be Proactive: A lot of companies will wait for a customer to come to them with an issue instead of proactively trying to offer advice so they don’t need to ask for help in the future. Ask them if they’ve got any questions, whether they need help using their product, and how they’ve found their product so far.
4. Using Every Opportunity
Many companies will forget about a number of opportunities they have to interact with customers. For example, one of the most sought-after products during the holiday season is gift cards, but savvy shops will make sure they’re offering the gift giver a deal too. This might be free delivery or $10 off their next order if they buy a $30 gift card for their loved one.
Another great way to maximize your store’s revenue is to use email confirmations or receipts. For example, if you sold something during the holiday season you could follow up this purchase with a complimentary product in January. This doesn’t mean giving things away but creating as many opportunities as possible for new sales.
Even returns present you with an opportunity to generate new sales, whether you offer similar products, alternative sizes, or something in a different color. That’s why you’ll perhaps want to take a look at your shipping and return policies, making sure it’s easy for new customers to return items they don’t want. This doesn’t just get rid of any risk the customer may feel when purchasing something but it also presents you with this valuable opportunity for engaging with customers about what they want and need. Equally, if you can minimize shipping costs and offer speedy deliveries, this will encourage people to repeat their purchases with you. Partnering with a 3PL can both make it easier and more cost efficient to deal with shipping and return policies as you scale up your operations.
5. Focusing on Customers Who Are Most Likely to Return
If you can, enlist the help of some predictive analytic tools that will help you identify those on-off buyers who are more likely to become lifelong customers. This allows you to focus the majority of your marketing efforts on prospects that are most worth your time.
For example, one study found that data-driven insights are critical for 67% of companies’ retention programs.
6. Monitoring the Results
Finally, no marketing effort is complete without thorough analysis of the sales and marketing data that demonstrates how effective your campaigns have been. This will show you how successful your new strategies were in relation to customer lifetime and retention value.
For example, was an email blast more effective than a social media post in terms of getting people to sign-up for discount codes? Did a particular geographic or demographic segment show more willingness to remain connected with your brand?
At the same time, it’s important to look at any tactics that are producing great results so you know how to adjust things in the future to maximize on this potential.
Overall, it’s important to realize that while one-time offers, sales, or discounts can generate fantastic immediate sales, it takes a much more thought-out, integrated approach to turn impulse buyers into lifelong customers. To make sure you do this, always deliver what you promise, go above and beyond, and create strategies that ensure your customers keep coming back to you time and time again.