Around the later months of the year, retailers experience an influx of new customers online and in store due to holiday shopping. These customers are scouring the web and malls looking for the best deal on the best gift. They are even willing to enter territory, or stores, they have never entered before. This presents retailers with new customers and new visits to websites. All these new customers produce a great opportunity for growth for retailers if they can convert them into year-long customers.
However, holiday shoppers have proven to be unpredictable customers. They often have high bounce rates from stores and websites, which can be due to outside factors, such as time constraints and stress. They also tend to be easily influenced and indecisive, which can either be a great thing for retailers or can also contribute to high bounce rates. Black Friday is a time when massive numbers of new customers arise, but these are their own breed of customer. These people are willing to wait in the line of a store they have committed to for hours, usually in the cold to grab the best deals. They are intense but dedicated, which could be a good foundation for a potentially loyal customer. It is beneficial for retailers to deal with the inconsistency of holiday shoppers because they create a huge potential for consumer growth. If a company snags just a fraction of their new holiday customers that could mean growing their customer base by thousands of new loyal customers. So how do retailers get holiday shoppers to stay?
Here are 6 ways to turn short term holiday (online and in store) shoppers into loyal customers:
1. Go above and beyond.
It doesn’t take much to make an impression on a customer, just small gestures can make a customer feel appreciated and wanting to return. Make customers feel like they matter even though it’s a crazy time of year. Give them something memorable such as a gift for shopping or a customized thank you. These small gestures take little effort and make all the difference.
2. Create memorable & shareable content
Video has become the best way to get information to consumers. Retailers and brands often create holiday themed videos to trigger customers to think about the season. This sets in the “hurry up and shop” panic that drives the holiday shopping season. These videos can create a fun and sometimes interactive experience that can be shared easily through social media. The videos do not have to be long at all, in fact, shorter videos are more easily shared by mobile. Below is a video from a Kate Spade’s holiday mini-series called, “#missadventure featuring Anna Kendrick. It is a short, fun video featuring a familiar face while showing off the brand’s seasonal pieces. Brick and mortar retailers should really focus on mobile content to connect with customers on the go, ideally right before customers visit their store.
3. Take advantage of gift cards
Gift cards are the number one thing holiday shoppers are looking for, so make them available on the home page of a website or at the front of a store. They are more than likely being purchased as a gift, so retailers could also provide a gift incentive for the purchaser. For example, if it is a gift card to a restaurant, the gift giver could get a coupon for a free appetizer for themselves. It’s a little something special that is memorable, and they are more than likely going to purchase other food and drinks when they use the coupon.
4. Use analytics data
If analytics data is showing that a page has a high bounce rate, investigate! There may be navigation conflicts or customers may be ditching their full carts. Find out why these things are happening and fix them fast. Look at online and in-store user flows as well to see where customers are going and why. It is also wise to monitor and be involved in customer interactions on social media and in-store. Promptly respond to customer comments and concerns.
5. Implement a low-effort customer rewards or loyalty program
A lot of retailers have rewards cards, but they take up wallet room and customers are over them. Stores have developed apps to use in place of cards, but apps take up space and customers don’t want to download an app for every store they shop at. Apple has already created a digital wallet app that can store compatible store rewards “cards”, but not everyone is on board. Another option would be to take advantage of QR codes or barcodes that can be scanned at the register from the phone, possibly from a picture that’s saved in the phone’s photos. One photo takes up a minuscule amount of space on a phone and can be put in a folder with all the customers rewards “cards”. Create rewards that shoppers will want to rack up and receive year-round as well.
6. Take advantage of returns
After the holidays, it is customer service’s job to really investigate the reasoning behind returns. Around the holidays, returns are more than likely unwanted gifts, but there is more to learn about why they were unwanted. Maybe it was a duplicate, or the consumer doesn’t like something about the product. This is a learning experience that needs to be taken advantage of. Even if it is the day after a holiday and the store is insanely busy, it’s a crucial moment to create a positive return experience so that the customer wants to come back to shop.