How to retain new customers after Christmas?
The holiday season is now over, giving brands an opportunity to analyze their results and performances. Very often, we can notice that Christmas brings in more new customers than the rest of the year. This is due to the numerous marketing campaigns and different consumer behavior specific to that time. These newcomers are essential to start the new year on the right foot, they should not be ignored, quite the contrary. To secure the results achieved thanks to all the efforts that were put in before and during the holiday season, it’s important that brands retain and engage these new customers.
What can brands do to improve customer retention? What tools can they implement to succeed?
Keep in touch
A consumer made his first purchase from your brand over the holiday season. Whether he/she is satisfied or not with it, it’s essential for the brand to keep in touch with him/her to guarantee a good customer retention rate. Through email, text message or social media, the brand must define a clear and consistent strategy to make sure the customer continues to pay attention to the brand’s actions, interacts with it and perhaps even purchases another product.
Why not start by thanking them for their purchase, to lay the foundations for long-term communication. Thank-you emails are a way to make sure the customer was satisfied by his first interaction with your brand. Depending on their answers, you must adapt your approach. Thanking them also gives you an opportunity to create more commitment by offering them to refer a friend to the brand in exchange for a reward.
There are many options available, and it is up to the brand to choose the most relevant ones according to its goals.
Personalize exchanges and build customer loyalty
Lack of customization is the first obstacle to overcome in order to keep customers’ attention, especially on channels like social media or through a newsletter.
With modern technologies and good segmentation, it is easier for brands to adapt their messages to the needs of these new customers and to create long term engagement.
It’s important to get to know the consumers that have made their first purchase with your brand. What products or services were bought? Was it a Christmas present? What did they think of the product and of the shopping experience? What kind of behavior did they have?
The first goal is to determine whether they were satisfied or not. This information is crucial to know how the brand should interact with them afterwards. Unsatisfied clients must be dealt with because they can have a considerable impact on the brand. It’s important to listen to them, understand their dissatisfaction and take action to make sure the brand’s image and its results aren’t damaged.
Satisfied customers are just as important. They can repeat a purchase, become loyal customers, and why not become brand ambassadors. Provided, of course, that the brand can anticipate their needs and expectations for maximum satisfaction. You can offer products that complement the ones already bought, especially during the first sales following Christmas, when clients pay close attention to good deals.
In whichever case, customization is a key element in customer retention and a powerful tool to maximize results.
A tailored loyalty program
In addition to staying in touch, it’s interesting to offer satisfied customers the opportunity to be rewarded for actions linked to the brand’s final goal. The actions will differ if the brand wants to gain visibility and brand awareness online, or if it wishes to generate additional repeat purchases.
For the former, the brand will focus its communication on sharing. It will encourage new clients to share their experience, give their opinion on purchased products, offer advice, or recommend the brand to their contacts. It’s important considering that 88% of consumers read online reviews and comments before buying.
For the later, the brand will have to work on incentives to encourage new customers to repeat a purchase: an exceptional event, new limited-time products, special operations, thank-you gifts, or promotions…
Gift cards, a customer retention tool
Among the different tools, e-gift cards are particularly interesting for customer retention. Digital gift cards can be used in many ways to encourage interactions.
They can be used to reward customers. For example, if the brand wishes to improve its visibility on digital platforms, it can ask new customers to give their opinion on their shopping experience. In return, they receive an e-gift card with a set amount that can be used in the brand’s stores and e-commerce platform.
The e-gift card can also be used as a thank-you gift after the first purchase. The brand can decide to offer digital gift cards with a predefined amount as a welcome gift. In this case, the gift card is used a direct incentive to encourage customers to make a new purchase.
Another perk of this tool is that it is better welcomed by consumers than a simple coupon or promotional code. Gift cards are the ideal reward to welcome new customers because of the high value associated to the idea of gift.
Moreover, digital gift cards will be a new source of data to improve customer knowledge. What have they bought? When did they come? Did they go on the brand’s website or in its physical POS?
An attentive after-sales service
For unsatisfied customers, the after-sales service is on the front line. Once a discontentment is shared, the after-sales service representatives must take the time to listen and understand the customer to respond as best as they can to their request. It must be seen as the brand’s second chance to make a better impression, and their last chance to retain the customer and build commitment. The dialogue must be fully oriented on the customer’s questions and on his purchase information to deliver the best answer possible. It’s proven that a customer, despite a past bad experience, can decide to stay if the after-sales service is relevant and quick to respond.
All the information collected thanks to the after-sales service must be used to improve the brand’s overall strategy, and that way optimize its long-term customer retention rate.
Brands are well advised to retain their new customers. This means setting up incentive operations, but also making sure that their relationship with each customer is relevant and personalized on the long-term. Many other things must also be considered, such as the quality and price of the products, which remain a key criterion when it comes to repeat purchases. And customer experience is also an increasingly important factor that can make a difference.