Holidays around the world are a retailer’s dream. Whether it’s a large-scale holiday like Christmas or a commercial holiday like Cyber Monday or Black Friday, stores often see a huge increase in new customers, overall sales, and of course profits during these times. Depending on your industry, you could even be relying on December to make or break your entire year – or kickstart your success.
However, many online stores struggle with retaining a percentage of these one-time buyers during seasonal shopping times. Perhaps you offered an exceptional deal that got you on a “top gifts” list, or had an exclusive product become the new Tickle Me Elmo that attracted tons of new customers.
While it’s great that you have so many new customers ordering, their value to your business is minimal in the long run if they only buy once. After all, returning customers are worth about 3 times as much as a single buyer. To make the most of your seasonal sales, you need to convert those seasonal shoppers into year-round customers.
To keep these buyers coming back for more, be sure to implement the following strategies.
Provide Exceptional Service
First and foremost, if you want any chance of retaining a customer throughout the year, you need to provide a great experience the first time around. Many customers trust recommendations or warnings from friends or even random reviewers online, so a negative experience can limit potential sales while a positive experience can exponentially add value. If help isn’t readily available, shipping is slow, or quality isn’t great, the odds of a repeat customer or recommendation are minimal.
Ensuring help is always available is one effective way to provide a great customer experience. Whether its fast email support, live chat, or phone agents on-call, providing personalized help is a great way to leave a mark. It also helps reduce cart abandonment due to questions or issues that occur on your site – problems that would have resulted in a missed sale rather than a quick chat with a representative.
You should also make the buying experience itself fast & easy – otherwise you risk customers leaving the first time around. With plugins like Handsome Checkout, you can cut down the steps it takes to checkout, customize your checkout pages, and increase conversions so that if you can get customers on your site, you can make the sale.
Communication is Key
Building a solid business-customer relationship is important to help increase the odds of a customer returning to your store. Engaging with a buyer creates a more personal relationship where you transition from just a company to a resource (or even a friend) for deals, information, and help. This most commonly occurs through social media with direct messaging, email, review systems, and live chats that allow for quick & easy communication that can make or break an experience.
Email marketing is another great way to connect, stay in touch, and maybe even retain customers. Once they make a purchase, you can use their email to send a “thank you” message that thanks them for buying, provides information about their purchase, or even offers them a special returning customer deal. This makes the transaction feel more personal, humanizes your business, and helps ensure a positive experience overall.
By staying in touch through email or social media, you’re keeping your brand awareness high in those who are most likely to buy from you – existing customers. Your goal is to be the first name that they think of when they think of your niche, and the best way to achieve that is by staying in touch and always in their mind (or on their screen!).
Make Them Offers They Can’t Refuse
If someone bought from your eCommerce store, chances are that they have some kind of interest in your niche (or know someone who does). If you’re selling something that is consumable, needs replacement, or is bought in multiples, it never hurts to offer a returning customer discount or promotion. Make an exclusive offer or provide a discount to encourage them to buy again.
Everyone loves a good discount – especially if it’s exclusive or limited. Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a powerful marketing tool that aims to create spur of the moment purchases with special offers that are too good to pass up. 24-hour sales, one-use promotional codes, and other unique offers can be your best friend when it comes to getting seasonal shoppers back into your store. Send these out on social media, through email marketing, or place them on your store for the best results.
For example, subscriptions can be an effective way to keep customers coming back. By offering memberships or subscriptions during the Holiday season, you increase the chances of them coming back within 1, 3, 6, or 12 months of signing up. Add in an extra free month onto your WooCommerce seasonal pricing subscription when they order the yearly plan and rake in that extra profit year-round.
Making the Most Out of Seasonal Customers
While an influx in orders and customers during holidays or promotions is great, it’s not a sustainable model for a successful business. Capitalizing on your seasonal sales by retaining even a small portion of these one-time buyers helps keep your business growing throughout the year & improves the return on investment of any seasonal marketing. Returning customers cost less to recruit, spend more on average, and act as their own marketing tool, making them perhaps the most important metric to focus on once the Holiday hype is over.