Riding the Wave: 5 Ways to Retain Holiday Customers in the New Year

Walking with Shopping Bags

Holiday shoppers can be a bit like fairweather friends. They show up occasionally, get what they need, and then you don’t see them again for a long time. Sure, the boost in profits is great in December, but wouldn’t you love to get them coming back year-round? According to a Constant Contact study, 52% of small business owners say customers that visit during the holiday season become return customers in the long run. And it’s cheaper to keep a customer than find a new one. But how can you do it?

Here are some proven strategies to turn your new holiday shoppers into year-round customers.

Make a Great First Impression

It doesn’t matter how busy your store is, your focus should be on providing an exceptional customer experience. Make sure you have enough staff to answer questions on the sales floor and keep checkout lines short. Keep your shelves stocked; if you don’t have an item, let the customer know when it will come in or offer to place a special rush order. And be sure to provide a fair return policy if a customer is not satisfied with a purchase. If you exceed customers’ expectations, they’re more likely to come back.

Offer a Coupon to Returning Customers

When customers check out, offer them a coupon for their next visit to your store. It could be something general, such as 10% off their next in-store purchase. Or you can customize the deal based on the product. Say a customer buys a guitar from your music store—offer them 15% off guitar sheet music the next time they come in. Either way, you’re persuading a customer to come back to your store in order to use the special deal, giving you a second opportunity to delight them.

Give Them a Gift

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We’re not recommending you buy them a car, but you could give away small gifts to your customers. Perhaps a free chocolate or small gift card with every purchase. Or team up with a nearby business: promise a free coffee at a local coffee shop with every purchase over $10. Maybe you give a free travel-size hairspray for each customer who gets a haircut at your salon. After all, it’s the season of giving!

Create a Tempting Loyalty Program

Loyalty programs encourage customers to come back to your store again and again, but they have to be done well. Customers have to feel like they’re receiving a reward that’s worth their time. Make a loyalty program part of your marketing plan: provide fun incentives for different customer actions like making a purchase, posting an online review, or mentioning your business on social media (which you can monitor online). Try a tiered approach like Sephora’s—the more involved customers are, the better the rewards they get.

Get Their Contact Information

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The best way to remind customers you exist is to keep in touch with them. When they pay, ask for their email address so you can notify them of upcoming specials. In the rush of holiday shopping, they may forget all the stores they visited. An email reminder in January (maybe combined with a special offer) is a fantastic way to encourage them to come back in. Connectivity’s Customer Insights product can help you tailor deals to your customers, based on their demographics. It can also keep track of everyone who has called your business if you’re unable to get this information during the point of sale.

You can also encourage customers to follow you on Facebook or Twitter, which gives you yet another way to engage with this audience.

Seasonal shoppers offer you an exciting opportunity to create lifelong customers. If you focus on building relationships, encouraging repeat visits, and reminding people about your business, you’ll have no problem turning seasonal shoppers into year-round customers.

For more inspiration, check out our blog post with 10 (free!) tips to keep customers coming back to your store time and time again.

Jaimmie Gan is an Account Manager at Connectivity.

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