12 min read

Turn Seasonal Buyers into Lifelong Customers

Jake Rheude

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For many, the holiday season is a wonderful high, with sales going through the roof thanks to seasonal buyers. However, like Christmas Day when you’re full of turkey and all the presents have been opened, the aftermath can be uncomfortable and somber. Keep the good times going by working to turn those seasonal buyers into lifelong happy customers.

While it’s essential to get the most out of these seasonal highs, you shouldn’t neglect to look forward to the slower seasons. Intelligent 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 and on-site experience to eCommerce fulfillment and a robust return policy can make the difference.

We originally created this post on Halloween, 2017. The content has been updated with the latest data and best practices as of November 10, 2021.

can you turn seasonal buyers into long-term customers?

Why would a seasonal buyer shop again?

Firstly, it’s essential to understand that those who purchase during a seasonal event are different from your year-round customers. Some of them may have bought from you previously (excellent!), but most of them won’t have been to your website before. They might not even remember your site’s name if the shopper got caught up finding the perfect gift. 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. If the recipient likes your product, the shopper likely knows someone else who will too.

They loved your products

Finally, if your store impresses a seasonal shopper so much, they may recommend you to their friends. This personal recommendation is valuable as 92% of people trust the recommendations of their family and 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 off the tree. Instead, all it takes is some savvy marketing and communications to keep the conversation (and purchases) following.

Here are our top six methods for converting seasonal buyers into repeat customers.

say 'thank you' to seasonal buyers

1. Email marketing for seasonal buyers

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?

Start by introducing your brand and telling your company’s story from the very first email you send.

You don’t have to send the email 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 highlight your story and tell them what your company is all about. A substantial error that companies make is sending promotional emails to customers right from the offset. That’s a sure-fire way to kill off any spark your customers may have had for you.

ecommerce seasonal buyer making a purchase

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. This keeps your brand top of mind and makes your audience more receptive to future emails. 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 solely focused on shoes. Instead, offer advice on how to create a jaw-dropping outfit that’s 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 relate to, thus helping them get to know and relate to your brand.

Curated content

Don’t have time to create your own content or get a 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 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

Send emails detailing your company if your brand has a message and identity that your customers find relatable. Share your story and mission, helping customers engage with your brand and get on board with your future visions.

plane flying a discount banner

2. Remarketing to seasonal buyers

It’s important not to continually blast your customers with ads so that they feel as though you’re stalking them wherever they go on the Internet, but it is crucial 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 remarkable thing is, these ads are specifically targeted to each user, displaying content they’ve looked at or know.

For example, Facebook retargeting can engage with shoppers who’ve bought from you once or previously browsed your site. Having ads that appear in their Facebook feed will keep them engaged with your brand. The aim is to inspire them to return to your site. Ideas for ads include:

  • New products: If there’s a product you think your seasonal buyers 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 a specific 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. You’re developing your relationship with your customers and building brand awareness.

sales and discounts with "thank you" notes

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. Instead, you need to surprise seasonal buyers with something that completely exceeds their expectations so that they remember the shopping experience they’ve had with you for many months to come.

Many 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” to seasonal buyers

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 that you’re happy they have become a customer and how you hope they’ll enjoy their purchase. Automation may be easier, but if you’ve got under 100 new customers from your latest sale, taking the time to send a personalized message will help you stick out among other impulse purchases.

Coupons and discounts beyond seasonal shopping

Offering discounts is a sure-fire way of getting people to return to your store. However, leave this for a few weeks after the first purchase. This ensures customers are more likely to part with their cash again.

Message new customers on Facebook or Twitter

You might want to take the time to find your customers on social channels, especially if they’ve bought from a social campaign. Ask seasonal buyers to tweet an image or post on Instagram after they’ve made a purchase. Their content won’t just promote your brand, but it’s also a great way of making a customer feel special.

Be proactive

Many companies will wait for a customer to come to them with an issue instead of proactively trying to offer advice. Instead, reach out ahead first so that 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.

attract seasonal buyers with related content

4. Using every opportunity

Many companies will overlook several 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 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 third-party logistics company (otherwise known as a 3PL) can make it easier and more cost-efficient to deal with shipping and return policies as you scale up your operations.

different kinds of seasonal buyers

5. Focusing on seasonal buyers 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 most 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 retention programs.

seasonal buyers showing long-term growth

6. Monitoring seasonal shopping results

Finally, no marketing effort is complete without a thorough analysis of the sales and marketing data. This review will help you determine your campaigns’ effectiveness. You’ll discover how successful your new strategies were for customer lifetime value and retention rates.

For example, was an email blast more effective than a social media post to get people to sign-up for discount codes? Did a particular geographic or demographic segment show more willingness to remain connected with your brand? Were products backed by robust returns policies more likely to yield a second purchase?

Review the tactics that are producing impressive results. Look for what strategy works and where. Use this to adjust future efforts to maximize your capabilities and returns on investment.

Wrapping up about seasonal buyers

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, deliver what you promise, go above and beyond, and create strategies that ensure your customers keep coming back to you time and time again.

That’s true every peak season, especially when we’ve had challenging years like 2020 and 2021. Click below to learn how you can prep your warehouse and fulfillment efforts to meet these seasonal buyers even during a troublesome year.

clickable guide on how to prepare for eCommerce peak season fulfillment
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