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Post-Holiday Retention Strategies for Sustainable Loyalty

By Sam Panzer, Director of Industry Strategy at Talon.One

While the Christmas shopping season presents a lucrative opportunity for retailers to boost sales, the real challenge lies in converting these seasonal shoppers into loyal, long-term customers.

Whether they’re a first-time shopper, a repeat customer, or a recipient, brands can use the opportunity to maximise results beyond the six-week Christmas shopping window and build the foundation for long-term loyalty. Below, we offer tried-and-tested retention strategies for retailers, with practical examples from the likes of Aesop and Dyson.

Be disciplined about your discounts

Offering discounts and rewards lies at the heart of many brands’ retention strategies.  However, retailers often find themselves extending broad and steep discounts, which can take a significant toll on profit margins.

Rather than opting for site-wide or category-wide discounts, a more effective approach involves tailoring promotions to specific customer segments. Research from Boston Consulting Group, for example, shows that redirecting 25% of mass promotion spending to personalised offers would increase ROI by 200%. Ultimately, it’s about getting your organization to think more critically about discounts as a cost to the business.

Precision in promotional strategies also ensures that discounts are directed towards customers who need the incentive to make a purchase, preventing unnecessary concessions to those who would buy regardless. It also safeguards against offering discounts to less favorable customers, such as those with exceptionally high return rates, who may ultimately cost your business more than they contribute.

Promote your loyalty programme in post-Christmas campaigns

Loyalty programmes are an excellent way to move customers from the acquisition to retention phase, with McKinsey data showing 64% of loyalty program members are more likely to purchase more frequently from a brand. By offering rewards that offer real value to shoppers, you can build emotional loyalty and turn them into repeat customers.

Post-Christmas messaging is a fantastic awareness and acquisition opportunity for your loyalty programme, particularly for first-time buyers. By highlighting your programme in your reactivation campaigns, you have the chance to clearly communicate its benefits so your customers understand the value they’re missing out on.

Your programme could also integrate options like accelerated point collection or early access to sales or new collections – effective strategies that boost customer lifetime value while reducing the need for extensive discounting.

Don’t overcomplicate your personalisation strategy

In his book The Person in Personalisation, ecommerce advisor David Mannheim states that “every year promises to be the year of personalisation, but no year is”. Case in point: for this year’s Prime Day, my offers revolved around women’s swimming shoes and car seats. As a childless, carless man in a landlocked city, these offers missed the mark on every count.

 If you’re a retailer that’s still struggling to get personalisation right – like many retailers are – start simple. You can begin by cleaning up the basics: no more random product recommendations, and no more recommending items people have just bought.

A simple way to integrate personalised recommendations that are relevant and useful to shoppers are to highlight items related to the one they’ve just purchased. After buying a Dyson hoover, I appreciated their post-purchase recommendations for accessories, attachments, and other cleaning items. You might also want to think of ways to introduce customers to new categories – for example, transitioning a skincare customer to body care products with targeted nudges within that category. Even more powerful is engaging repeat customers at opportune moments, like when they might have run out of essentials such as shower gel, cat food or make-up.

The key is using data intelligently to tailor recommendations. This approach becomes even more relevant if your brand is looking to move away from heavy discount reliance and explore more nuanced customer engagement methods.

Get creative with ways to target present recipients

When it comes to post-Christmas retention strategies, the focus is often misdirected towards shoppers who buy on behalf of others. To address this challenge, look for creative ways to address those receiving the present instead. Aesop’s solution involved adding a QR code to gift sets, allowing recipients to access content related to the products. This meant Aesop could provide personalised product usage recommendations, bringing recipients closer to the brand.

This approach not only enhances the customer’s engagement but also opens up opportunities for them to explore the brand’s offerings and register for more information. It’s not just about the initial purchase, or present; it’s about using personalization to establish a lasting connection with the right customers.

Looking for more insights on nurturing customer loyalty? Our latest webinar, together with MoEngage, covers 5 real-life examples of successful customer retention campaigns after the holiday season. Register here to discover the strategies CRM experts from the likes of Aesop, fourfive and KatKin employed and gain insights on how to implement them to foster sustainable loyalty with your customers.

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