The holiday season is upon us, and now is the time for dreaming up some clever ways to keep customers engaged over the holidays. It may be a time of distractions (with Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and other festivities), but it’s also a time of spending.
How much spending?
Current estimates put the average American’s holiday-related spending at $1387 in 2020, with approximately 15 hours spent shopping for gifts.
In addition, 60% of consumers plan to purchase all their gifts online this year. We can expect a sharp increase in the 20.1% of holiday season shopping that took place online in 2019.
By thinking up ways to keep customers engaged over the holidays, and then putting these ideas into action, you can ensure that your brand remains front-of-mind when people loosen the purse strings for the holiday season.
The Ultimate Guide to Customer Loyalty Programs
Learn how to create a successful loyalty program that retains customers and boosts sales.
1. Surprise and delight customers with spontaneous perks and unexpected rewards
The holidays are a time of giving, so why not treat your loyal customers to something for absolutely free? A no-strings-attached reward surprises and delights customers, which in turn strengthens their emotional connection to your brand.
Perhaps it’s a bonus free sample included in the delivery of any online purchase, or surprising customers with free shipping when they reach the checkout in your online store.
Not only do these techniques boost brand loyalty, but they can help to make the customers’ lives easier, which is especially important over the holiday season – things are hectic enough as it is!
Rewards like VIP skip-the-queue perks can streamline the shopping experience for your top tier loyal customers, while a blog on how to get the most value from one of your products demonstrates empathy for your customers.
This kind of thing does not go unnoticed, and it will keep your highest spending customers engaged!
2. Create a fun social media campaign to create a bit of hype
Depending on what products or services your business provides, it’s always a good idea to create a social media campaign around a hashtag that is specific to the campaign, and encourage customers to share images, videos or other content involving your product/service on their social media channels.
For instance, an equestrian supplies store might encourage customers to post their best horse riding picture on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with a hashtag that will attract new social media users to your business’s social pages. Each day’s winner receives bonus loyalty points towards their next reward.
Aside from increasing engagement among your existing customers, this also has the potential to attract new customers. When considering ways to keep customers engaged over the holidays, this approach is a win-win.
Make sure you have someone monitoring the hashtag and commenting on people’s posts – a little recognition goes a long way!
3. Create as much content around “gift idea suggestions” as possible
Not everyone has all their gift ideas sorted for the holiday season – some of us need help, right up to the day before! Make sure your brand is providing customers with helpful gift idea suggestions via blogs, videos, images, email marketing and other channels at your disposal.
It goes without saying that these gift idea suggestions will mostly include your own products, but be sure to include a few gift ideas from other businesses too. This helps give your content some authority and trustworthiness, rather than simply coming across as promotional material.
4. Ramp up the cross-selling and upselling strategies
People have a tendency to impulsively upsize and upgrade around the holidays – capitalize on this with some irresistible cross-selling and upselling promotions. Remember, these offers don’t necessarily need to occur at the point of sale; they can occur at any point afterwards too.
For instance, you can reach out to customers who purchased a bed linen set a week ago, with a personalized email that offers them 50% off any throw, cushion, pillows or other bedroom furnishing accessories before the end of the month.
A digital loyalty app provides businesses with the ability to communicate with their most loyal customers anytime, anywhere. You can entice customers with upselling and cross-selling offers directly to their mobile device, via text, email or push notification.
5. Ride the “stocking stuffer” wave, with customizable gift certificates
This year has already seen a huge rise in the purchase of gift certificates, as it supports local businesses while they are closed due to COVID-19, and it also provides recipients with something nice to look forward to after restrictions are lifted.
By making it simple and straightforward for customers to purchase gift vouchers from your business online, you provide a convenient gift solution to their holiday shopping needs.
It also doesn’t hurt to make them customizable, with a “leave your personal message here” field available for customers to include a note to the recipient along with the voucher.
Now all that’s left to do is promote, promote, promote! Broadcast your gift vouchers on all social media channels, e-newsletters and other avenues.
6. Offer your customers a convenient way to give back to the community
The holidays are a time when people give more thought to worthy causes; such as food and shelter for those less fortunate, and similar projects. What can your business do to make the holidays easier for those who need it?
Once you have answered this question, weave this initiative through your loyalty program and general shopping experience so that customers have an easy way to contribute to a worthy cause, simply by shopping with your brand.
7. Be more open with your personalization strategies
By telling customers why their previous purchases have led you to recommend this particular product to them, you build trust and demonstrate that your business cares about their unique and specific needs this holiday season.
8. Send your customers a Happy Holidays message from your team
And finally, one of the most effective ways to keep customers engaged over the holidays is to simply wish them Happy Holidays. It might not sound like much, but it can leave a very long-lasting impression on your customers.
For starters, it humanizes your business to show the faces of the team that makes up your brand. It also conveys a clear message that you value your customers, and appreciate their ongoing loyalty.
When developing ways to engage customers over the holidays, focus on your loyalty program, email subscriber list and the customer experience itself
This year, people are very much looking forward to a fresh start in 2021. Rather than avoid addressing the “elephant in the room”, embrace the theme of putting 2020 in the rearview mirror.
From social media and email, to your loyalty program and even your products/services themselves; use your brand messaging to help people get closure on this difficult year. In short – make your brand a source of comfort.
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