The holiday shopping season is in full swing and some have predicted it will be a record-breaking season for holiday sales. For example, IBM’s Quarterly Retail Forecast predicted that online sales will grow 15 percent over the five-day stretch including Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday.
But the holiday season offers more than just one opportunity to drive sales. Local businesses can use the holiday shopping season to build a loyal customer base to boost their success the following year.
Here are six tricks for turning holiday shoppers into loyal customers:
1. Wow them with a great first experience
It may sound trite, but one of the most important parts in retaining new customers is creating a great initial impression.
Be sure your team is prepped to offer outstanding customer service throughout the holiday season so your company can lure each new holiday shopper to remain a client well into 2015.
2. Collect email addresses.
One of the first steps in striving for repeat business is to be certain you can stay in contact with new customers.
Try to capture the email address of each new shopper. Develop a list on paper or even ask for a business card so members of your team can later input new client information into a database. Or create a process for staffers to transfer such information into a customer-relationship management system at the close of every sale.
3. Grant a next-visit coupon.
When interacting with new customers, be armed with a compelling offer to entice some repeat business. Extending a coupon, an offer or a promotion to holiday shoppers is a great way to encourage them to become loyal customers. Offer a printed version in the store and follow up with a digital version via email so your company will stay top of mind.
4. Follow up with a service questionnaire.
How happy is each new customer been with his or her shopping experience? This is great information for your business to figure out to gauge the success of the holiday marketing program. Plus making such an inquiry is a great reason to get back in front of new customers.
Your feedback process could be as simple as sending an email with a link to a questionnaire. Or use a system specially designed to deliver customer feedback.
5. Harness the power of "drip marketing."
Use lead nurturing to stay in front of customers so they will remember the business the next time they have a need. Keep emails informative, helpful and friendly so consumers don't opt to unsubscribe from receiving your messages.
For example, create a series of tips, articles and how-to points related to your product or industry to inform customers. Newsletters are a great vehicle for helping a business be remembered. From time to time, include offers, promotions and invitations to customer-appreciation events. But don’t make the lead nurturing too promotional.
6. Create a customer-rewards program.
Want to take things to the next level? Create a customer-rewards program to drive repeat business. Use a punch-card system, build a referral-rewards plan or leverage a technology provider to fashion a digital loyalty program.
A customer-rewards program can drive repeat business. Plus, you'll be able to convey your appreciation of loyal customers.
How will you leverage the holiday marketing momentum to build your business next year? Share your thoughts in the comments.