Top 5 Ways to Maximize the Holiday Season

This is a topic that is near and dear to everyone working in the retail and direct-to-consumer industries. So much of our annual results depend on what happens this time of the year! So, we all put a lot of focus and energy into trying to optimize our results. The good news is that holiday marketing strategies can provide a foundation for future marketing efforts, too!

Based on bLoyal’s experience working with clients across retail and direct-to-consumer industries, we wanted to share the 5 simple steps to help you maximize your consumer experience and revenue this holiday season!

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#1 Omnichannel signups…with a twist

If you have a physical store, you will probably be thinking about how to quickly gather customer information at your register.   Although the traditional sign-up process is not dead, retailers should be thinking about how to encourage customer self-registration.

Mobile registration via QR code, website, application, and or SMS, is the most scalable, private, accurate, and effective way to get customers to join your program.

  • Scalable…because instead of just having just a few POS lanes to signup customers, you leverage everyone’s mobile phones as a sign-up “lane”
  • Private…especially for the consumer. Because instead of sharing private information in public, a consumer can provide demographic and contact information via the privacy of their own mobile devices.
  • Accurate…because it will be me capturing my own information online. I know, I have a weird last name, and in most cases, it is hard for others to key it in correctly. However, if I am doing it myself, I can guarantee it will be correct. We are all human, and we’ve found that up to 5% of the information gathered by a cashier can be inaccurate.
  • Effective…because your sign-ups can engage your customer automation journey.  Welcome, a new sign-up with an email or SMS and an awarded coupon to help convert a visitor into a buying customer.  Not only does your conversion probability increase, but it also further helps validate customer data as the awarded coupon will be sent to the customer’s inbox, raising the probability that the customer will provide a valid email during the signup process.

Now, if the customer has not pre-registered, you also want to make signing up at the POS as efficient as possible. You can achieve the best results by:

  • Minimize the information that you capture at the register. Get only a first name and an email or mobile number. This will make the process faster and less prone to errors.
  • Evangelize the benefits of your loyalty program so that they understand the value of becoming a member.
  • Follow up in real-time via email or text and invite the to complete their profile online in exchange for some one-time reward.

#2 Real-Time promotions and loyalty accruals that will increase revenues

Yep, we are all living in a real-time world, and consumers expect immediate gratification. Thus, it is paramount to have a single customer database that can recognize customer signups across your interaction channels.  We’ve found that automating customer journeys to include the following real-time promotions is one way to maximize customer lifetime value.

  • Using real-time promotions that apply to “this purchase” to entice the customer to buy a little more. You can use volume discounts, BOGOs or BXGYs, cross-sale promotions, or total purchase discounts to increase incremental purchases.
  • Using loyalty benefits that apply to “the next purchase” to keep the customer coming back. By creating a stored value through points, cash back, frequent buyer balances, or awarded coupons, you can entice the customer to continue buying with you vs buying from your competition.
  • Awarded coupons that trigger personalized, limited-time rewards is a great way to improve redemptions and repeat purchases.

#3 Targeted engagement with customers that influences their purchase behavior

Now, that we’ve optimized your sign-up and promotional strategy,  we need to discuss communication. Customer journeys and paths to purchase are unique. You may buy on the first visit, while I may wait and buy later. My birthday is next month, and I may get a special something that will drive me back to come sooner. You get my drift.

You need a solution that allows you to identify and understand milestones in a customer journey and then enables you to automate your communication and reward strategy to ensure you are delivering the right message at the right time depending on customer activity. Below are examples of key customer journeys and milestones to help influence your own strategy.

Onboarding milestones:  Creating multi-channel signup journeys are one easy way to encourage repeat purchases.

Mobile signup: Send the customer a welcome email and/or text message including a first purchase coupon to convert them from a visitor to a buying customer.

  • POS signup: This can trigger an invitation for the customer to complete their profile online and “unlock” a thank you coupon for their next purchase
  • Second purchase: Engage the customer to thank them for their first purchase and give them a nudge to complete a second purchase

Loyalty milestones: These are recurring milestones the customer may go through as a repeat, loyal customer.

Points or cash back earned

  • Coupons awarded
  • Membership Anniversaries
  • Birthdays
  • Upgrades (or downgrades) of their loyalty tier

Churn milestones: Unfortunately, most customers will eventually churn. However, automating and optimizing your customer journeys can extend their life and increase their LTV.   Automatically communicating a special offer or reward after one month, two months, etc since their last purchase is one method to reduce customer churn.

#4 Personalized My Account pages and POS receipts

As the customer leaves your store, high LTV requires continued communication and brand engagement, not only as we mentioned in #3 above, but also on-demand at their own time. As discussed throughout this blog, you should use any opportunity to evangelize discounts and rewards Two great tools you have are:

  • POS Receipts: Although we are all trying to print less, there are still many customers that ask for a receipt. Make the most of it by adding a receipt message letting them know about any benefits they have that they could use in their next purchase such as points and cash back balance as well as any awarded coupons.
  • Personalize My Account pages: By driving customers to check their dashboard online you can let them know, at their own time, about any points, cash back, and referral balances and how soon they can claim their next reward. You can also let them know about any unused awarded coupons that they would be able to redeem if they come back to purchase from you.

#5 Customer referrals or tell-a-friend

The ultimate trophy within a customer journey is when they convert into becoming an ambassador of your brand, your products, and the services they receive from you. The most effective lead generation comes from a referral by a trusted source such as family or friends.   A successful referral requires simplicity and automation. This needs to be really easy to do a referral online through your dashboard and provide a unique benefit to everyone involved to encourage customer acquisition and appreciation on behalf of your ambassadors.  You can make this a win-win by converting a referral into a customer by offering a unique benefit on their first purchase via an awarded coupon.

  • Recognize your best ambassadors by rewarding them with some benefits after a certain number of successful referrals (i.e. a referral that has actually converted into a first-time customer)
  • Finally, for you, a very cost-effective way to grow your customer base is by extending your reach through the personal networks of your existing customers.

Although these are 5 key strategies to maximize the holiday season, they go well beyond this time of the year. You can apply these same key principles all year long to maximize customer lifetime value and achieve great results.

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