There's no other way to say it—we love spending money over the holidays.
U.S. online purchases over the 2020 holidays grew 32.2%. And for the first time, we spent over $1 billion in eCommerce stores 😮
While these numbers are great for online vendors, the challenge is keeping this momentum going after the holiday season and turning one-off customers into lifetime advocates for your brand.
Thankfully, your brand can nurture leads so they stick around long after the holidays are over. All it takes is a bit of planning.
Here are our top six tips for doing just that👇
6 Lead nurturing strategies to keep customers shopping beyond the holiday season
1. Hit them while they're hot with new offers
When people buy gifts around the holidays, it's not just an impulse splurge—these purchases have been planned. Sometimes months in advance.
Statistics show that Americans spend more money with every new holiday season. And it's not just limited to Christmas—42% of shoppers said they are likely to use an e-coupon during the week after Christmas to take advantage of any sales.
Online vendors might include additional promotions and offers to capitalize on these spending sprees with limited time offers, Boxing Day sales, and New Year's Eve sales.
It's also a perfect way to capture those customers who were given cash as a Christmas gift. A survey by Mint found that more than half of Americans would rather get cash over a gift at Christmas, so when Boxing Day hits, there could be millions of people looking for something to spend their money on.
And for vendors who can't afford another sale—it's time to get creative.
After Christmas, you have multiple holidays to include in your marketing campaigns, including Boxing Day, New Year's Eve, and (at a stretch) Valentine's Day. If you aren't up to slashing prices for the holidays, market your products around these events and plant a seed in your customer's heads about how much value it could add to their lives if they take the plunge and add to cart 🛒
2. Use sales data to upsell and cross-sell products after the holidays
Think about how much data you’re collecting from customers when they buy something from your store.
You know their name, email address, and even what products they like.
To keep these customers happy and engaged, try marketing products to them that are similar to the ones they bought from you over Christmas. Sales data gathered from new customers is a gold mine for online stores that want to cross-sell and upsell products after Christmas and into the New Year.
endlane's deep data integrations help digital retailers leverage over 100 different data points, from products they like to pages they've visited and purchases they've made, and use that data to create hyper-personalized email campaigns that show your customers what they want to see.
Here's how it works.
Once your online store is linked to Sendlane, the tool's email editor allows you to build targeted emails that are tied to the customer's past purchases. An artisanal coffee roaster, for example, may target returning customers with email campaigns highlighting seasonal flavors of coffee beans (like cinnamon or peppermint) during the holidays based on last year’s purchases.
And thanks to Sendlane's segmentation features, you can send emails to certain customers on your list, like those who purchased items leading up to the holidays or people who have bought coffee beans in between Christmas and New Year's Eve last year.
3. Start a loyalty program to reward your new customers
Loyalty programs are one of the best ways to tie new customers to your brand early by making them feel part of your community.
There are lots of different ways to start a loyalty program, from offering point-based rewards to free gifts when a customer buys something from your store. But the first step is thinking about how you can link a customer's holiday purchase into a reason for them to sign up to your program.
PetSmart's loyalty program segments customers and targets rewards based on what customers have previously purchased for their pets.
The rule here is to pick a program that fits with your customer's buying behavior and offer a good enough reward that they'll sign up.
A great example of a loyalty program that truly rewards customers is Nordstrom's program, The Nordy Club.
The loyalty program can be used across all three of the brand's stores (Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, and HauteLook), and it credits customers with one point for every dollar they spend. The points can then be cashed for store credit.
But the best part about The Nordy Club is that it gives customers who are in the program a little bit of luxury. Club members are given exclusive insider access to events like style workshops, first-to-shop select brand shipments, and curbside pick-ups.
Talk about a holiday bonus!
Pro-tip: Using a tool like Sendlane, vendors can automate when they invite customers to join their loyalty program. If you want to send out a Loyalty Program email to a customer once they've made three purchases from your store, just create a trigger like "3 orders placed." Once the trigger parameters are met, Sendlane will automatically email the customer and invite them to join the program. Oh... and the success of the loyalty program's email campaign is tracked, so you can see how many people are opening and clicking on the messages you're sending!
4. Fill your social media feeds with products that give them FOMO
Another way to keep customers interested in your brand after the holidays is to build a presence on their social media feeds.
Vendors can use these channels to showcase your regular product line, customer stories, and upcoming promotions so new customers can learn more about your brand beyond your holiday products.
Ikea is a brand that absolutely crushes the FOMO post-holiday strategy. The company floods customers' social media feeds with images of products that are still loosely tied to Christmas, but make it clear that they're ready for post-holiday chills with the rest of us.
These posts are targeted at people who are unwinding but still may have some leftover Christmas cash to splash. The brand also does a great job of tying in holidays like New Year's Eve into their social media marketing campaigns, enticing customers to grab some last-minute items if they're hosting a party at their place.
It's a great example of how to show your customers that your brand is about more than just Christmas.
5. Have a customer-friendly returns and exchange policy
Even if your marketing is great and you make lots of sales, one thing is inevitable in eCommerce: customers sometimes change their minds.
The National Retail Federation estimates that around $309 billion worth of products were returned or refunded in 2019. And the statistics are even more eye-popping over the holiday season—not only are typical return rates twice as high compared to the rest of the year, but customer satisfaction with the returns process is also lower.
If you have new customers who aren't 100% satisfied, this is your chance to show them that you care about their business, and you want them to be happy with the experience they have with your store.
Shopify recommends making your policy easy to find on your website and placing it on:
- Your website footer
- FAQ page
- Product page
- Website chat
This shows your customers that you're not hiding your policy, and you're committed to making sure they're satisfied with their purchase.
Check out how painless Patagonia's gift returning process is.
Not only can customers self-process their gift return, but they don't even need their order number to do it. This is perfect for customers who have received an unwanted Christmas gift from a friend, but they don't want to have an awkward conversation about how to return it.
And as the customer returning the item will be issued a merchandise credit instead of cash, Patagonia is still guaranteed the revenue from the sale.
It's a win-win policy: it's customer-friendly and ensures the store doesn't lose out.
6. Automate everything so every new customer feels special
Think about your marketing strategy and how you can automate the bulk of it before the holiday season starts.
Start with getting the basics right.
When customers buy from you over the holidays, their main priority is getting the gifts they ordered on time. This means everything from your online checkout to shipment tracking needs to be perfect to build trust with your new customer.
Once they're happy with their purchase, then it's time to ramp up your marketing efforts and try and turn them into a lifetime customer. Ideally, you should plan (in advance) what marketing campaigns you want to launch once the holidays are over.
But did you know that you can build a system that takes care of the heavy lifting involved in holiday marketing?
With the right marketing tools, your store can automatically retarget people who abandoned their cart or send out emails to customers with product offers based on the items they bought from you for Christmas.
Turn one-off shoppers into brand champions this year
The best part about this type of marketing automation is that it can be planned, built and ready to go before the holidays start. Using a tool like Sendlane, online vendors like you can design unique journeys that send out personalized communications to people on your list and nurture them into their next purchase.
While you're busy making bank over the holidays, Sendlane will be doing work behind the scenes—bringing in new customers, building trust, and turning them into lifetime fans of your brand.